* House bill to stop EPA greenhouse fight may pass this wk
* Similar Senate bill faces uncertain future
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The White House formally
warned lawmakers Tuesday that President Barack Obama
would veto a bill expected to pass in the House of
Representatives this week that would kill the Environmental
Protection Agency's efforts to regulate greenhouse gases.
The Energy Tax Prevention Act, sponsored by House Energy
and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton, could pass in the
Republican-controlled House as early as Wednesday. It would
stop the EPA from regulating emissions blamed for warming the
"If the President is presented with this legislation, which
would ... harm Americans' health by taking away our ability to
decrease carbon pollution and undercut fuel efficiency
standards ... while decreasing our dependence on oil, his
senior advisors would recommend that he veto the bill," the
Office of Management and Budget (OMB) said in a statement.
Administration officials had warned Obama would veto a bill
stopping the EPA if it passed both chambers, but this was the
first time the White House said so officially.
If the bill became law, it could be difficult for Obama to
make progress on his pledge to global leaders to cut U.S.
emissions by about 17 percent, under 2005 levels, by 2020.
Oklahoma Senator James Inhofe, a climate skeptic who has
called global warming a "hoax," has introduced a similar bill
in the Senate.
His bill, which could come up for a vote next week or
earlier, may gain some votes from Senate Democrats in heavily
energy-dependent states who face difficult elections next year.
But backers have stopped short of saying it has the 60 votes
needed to pass the 100-member chamber.
After Congress failed last year to pass an energy bill that
would have reduced the emissions, the EPA began taking steps to
regulate them early this year.
A 2007 Supreme Court decision granted the EPA the power to
regulate the emissions under the Clean Air Act. The EPA is
slated to propose rules limiting carbon dioxide emissions from
oil refineries and power plants later this year.
The OMB statement said the House bill would weaken federal
Clean Air Act standards, allowing more pollution into the air,
and could lead to heart attacks and premature deaths.
In addition, the bill would block the EPA's efforts to
boost fuel efficiency in automobiles built from 2017 to 2025.
The administration said fuel savings from the stricter
standards would reduce fuel consumption, providing "significant
savings to American consumers at the pump." U.S. retail
gasoline prices averaged $3.66 a gallon on Tuesday.
Upton, on the other hand, has said the EPA rules would lead
to higher gasoline prices. But the projections were based on
studies on previous energy legislation, not the EPA rules.
(Reporting by Timothy Gardner; editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)
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