* Vote largely symbolic after Senate shunned similar bill
* Moves to stop EPA could come up again later this year
(Adds details on vote, budget clash)
By Timothy Gardner
WASHINGTON, April 7 The U.S. House of
Representatives passed legislation on Thursday that would stop
the Environmental Protection Agency from regulating emissions
of gases blamed for warming the planet, a day after the Senate
rejected similar legislation.
The bill passed by a vote of 255 to 172 in the
Republican-controlled chamber. The victory was largely
symbolic, however, since the Senate voted down four amendments
on Wednesday that would stop or delay implementation of the EPA
rules, which began rolling out in January. [ID:nN06270263]
The White House has also said President Barack Obama would
veto any legislation that would permanently stop the EPA's
But Republicans, who say the rules will add costs to big
polluters like oil refineries and power plants that could be
passed to consumers as they try to recover from the economic
downturn, called the vote a victory for families.
"Our thoughtful, bipartisan solution reins in an EPA gone
wild whose bureaucrats are oblivious to the nation's economic
woes and soaring unemployment," Upton said.
The budget clash in Congress that could shut down the
government unless a deal is reached by midnight Friday hinges
on ideological battles over the EPA regulation of the gases and
Analysts said the debate could also heat up again later
this year when the EPA proposes more rules that would limit
emissions from power plants in July and on oil refineries by
"The odds are still pretty good that the EPA rules will at
least gets delayed before the end of the year," said Whitney
Stanco, an energy policy analyst at MF Global.
Lawmakers could try to add measures to future legislation
that would delay the rules for a number of years.
The EPA has said its rules on polluters will create jobs,
protect health, and reduce dependence on foreign oil by
pressuring companies to move faster to cleaner forms of
The agency expects to finalize the new rules on power
plants and refiners next year.
(Reporting by Timothy Gardner; Editing by Deborah Charles)