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Page added on April 24, 2010

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3 oil giants to support climate legislation

Enviroment

U.S. senators unveiling energy and climate change legislation Monday are expected to be joined by three major oil companies — a significant show of support from an industry whose endorsement could be key to winning Republican backing for the proposal.

Leaders of Shell Oil Co., BP and ConocoPhillips are expected to support the measure, following months of negotiations on such issues as offshore drilling, the treatment of natural gas and the handling of greenhouse gas emissions from the transportation sector.

The lineup isn’t entirely surprising. Shell was one of the founding members of the U.S. Climate Action Partnership, a coalition of businesses and environmental groups that laid out its own proposal early last year. BP and ConocoPhillips left USCAP in February, largely so they could focus on lobbying the Senate negotiators to change the House-passed approach to putting a price on carbon dioxide emissions from transportation.

The House-passed climate change bill would have forced refiners to buy emissions allowances on a new carbon market to pay for the greenhouse gases released when customers burned their fuels to power cars, trucks and planes. But in the Senate, negotiators have considered alternatives, including a retail-level carbon fee on fuels that some critics call a new kind of “gas tax.”

Other oil companies have been more critical of lawmakers’ plans to pass legislation limiting greenhouse gas emissions. Exxon Mobil CEO Rex Tillerson backs a widespread “carbon tax” as a more transparent alternative to cap-and-trade plans for limiting emissions.

Houston Chronicle



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