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Businesses Lobby White House to Finalize Greenhouse Gas Rules

Several national business organizations are asking the White House to finalize controversial greenhouse gas regulations.The groups—which include the American Sustainable Business Council, the Main Street Alliance, Ceres, the Small Business Majority and Environmental Entrepreneurs—sent a letter to the White House’s Office of Management and Budget yesterday. They represent small businesses, some of which deal with the environment, energy or sustainability.The letterurges the OMB to allow the Environmental Protection Agency to promulgate the greenhouse gas rules. The OMB has been reviewing the draft rules for several months and they’re scheduled to be released soon. “We understand the importance of certainty and clear market signals and believe a national standard will both clarify risks and opportunities for US businesses, while also leading to technological innovation and investment in the domestic clean energy market,” the letter said. “Derailing or delaying such standards leads to increased uncertainty and undermines the potential for capital investment and economic growth, weakening the opportunity presented to US businesses by the growing $243 billion global clean energy market.”The new rules are expected to require new power plants, as well as plants undergoing major modifications to reduce the amounts of carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide they emit. They’re opposed by many Congressional Republicans, including Kentucky Congressman Ed Whitfield,who sent a letter to the OMBearlier this month asking it to delay the rule.The Supreme Court ruled in 2007 that the EPA was able to regulate greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act, if it determined the gases posed a risk to human health. The EPA reached that determination in 2009. Once the OMB approves the rule, it’s up to the EPA to finalize it. The agency has said it doesn’t expect to finalize the rule this year.