Industry Interests Lobby Against Energy Bill

Democrats want to adopt an energy bill that would lower pollution, but automakers, electric utilities, and the coal industry are lobbying against them.

Automakers, electric utilities and the coal industry are lobbying against efforts in Congress to write a new environmentally-friendly energy bill.

The three powerful lobbying groups have focused their efforts blocking new fuel economy requirements and measures that would boost renewable energy. The big industry efforts may be working, too: disputes over those issues might stall energy legislation in both houses.

Two of the country's biggest coal-burning electricity producers, Southern Company and the Tennessee Valley Authority, wrote letters to senators arguing that the cost of electricity would shoot upwards if Congress put in place a requirement for them to produce 15% of their power from renewable sources. Bill supporters say that claim is false.

Automobile and coal interests are also pushing for legislation friendly to their industries. Rep. John Dingell, D-Mich., says the House draft bill will, at least for now, not include a provision to boost fuel economy or incentives for developing liquefied coal for auto fuel.

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