April 7, 2011 / 7:43 PM / 9 years ago

House passes bill to stop EPA climate program

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The 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 vote in the Republican-controlled chamber was largely symbolic 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.

The White House has said President Barack Obama would veto any legislation that would permanently stop the EPA’s climate regulation.

Analysts said the debate could heat up again when the EPA proposes rules that would limit emissions from power plants in July and on oil refineries by December.

“The odds are still pretty good that the EPA rules will at least gets delayed before the end of the year,” Whitney Stanco, an energy policy analyst at MF Global said.

Lawmakers could try to add measures to future legislation that would delay the rules for a number of years.

Republicans and some Democrats say the EPA rules will add costs to big polluters like oil refineries and power plants that will make it hard for them to recover from the economic downturn.

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 energy.

Reporting by Timothy Gardner; Editing by Deborah Charles

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