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White House: Obama Would Veto Bill Stopping EPA

Tuesday, 05 Apr 2011 06:08 PM

* 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 planet.

"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)

© 2017 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.

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* 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...
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