Bloomberg: Half a Billion Dollars Gets You a Gentler Climate Plan

Bloomberg: Half a Billion Dollars Gets You a Gentler Climate Plan

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.@nationalgridus's president Dean Seavers on the #CleanPowerPlan via @bpolitics
Wednesday, August 12, 2015 - 12:50pm

CONTENT: Article

There could be half a billion reasons for the concessions President Barack Obama’s clean-power plan made to a defiant energy industry.

Electric utilities, oil companies and their allies spent $502 million on lobbying in the year since the Environmental Protection Agency proposed new regulations on carbon emissions from power plants, according to disclosures reviewed by Bloomberg. That’s 22 times more than renewable energy companies and environmentalists spent.

Industry groups swiftly condemned the plan and vowed to fight it in courts and statehouses. Yet they had won changes to final rules announced Aug. 3, such as later deadlines for compliance, less emphasis on cutting energy consumption and gentler cuts to coal-fired power.

“Sliding the date, that alone seems like a fairly significant give,” said Kevin Book, managing director of Clearview Energy Partners LLC, a consultant in Washington. “One thing the EPA does pretty consistently is start strict and loosen.”

The biggest spenders against the plan were the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the National Association of Manufacturers and Caterpillar Inc. On top of that, Exelon Corp. and Chevron Corp. spent more than $5 million on lobbying in the past year. So did National Grid Plc and Calpine Corp., power companies that support the plan, according to the disclosures.

‘Market-Based Solutions’

“This new rule supports market-based solutions while giving the states options to flex them to address their specific characteristics,” National Grid U.S. President Dean Seavers said in a statement.

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