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White House Taking Crack at ‘Hybrid’ Energy, Climate Legislation

The White House is trying to gather momentum for a “last-ditch” effort to put together what it considers the most essential elements of existing energy and climate legislation, reports the New York Times.

Observers say that President Obama may seek a compromise that involves greenhouse gas reductions and at the same time assuages Senate concerns about energy security.

Obama is addressing a roundtable of American business leaders Feb. 24, where he is expected to discuss energy strategy and reportedly introduce a proposal to provide incentives for coal plants to switch to natural gas.

The Obama Administration, which is riding a delicate line as it tries to keep a number of Congressional seats up for re-election this year in the hands of Democrats, has been feeling the heat from general business and the petrochemical industry, particularly the natural gas sector.

Last week, citing a need to ensure “fair and equitable treatment of the transportation sector,” ConocoPhillips dealt a blow to corporate efforts in support of climate change legislation when it decided against renewing its membership in the U.S. Climate Action Partnership (USCAP). ConocoPhillips, one of the nation’s largest producers of natural gas and refiners of transportation fuels, said it wants to expand opportunities for near-term GHG reductions through increased use of natural gas

Since mid-February, a legal battle has been brewing over the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s endangerment finding for greenhouse gasses after several industry groups, conservative think tanks, lawmakers and three states filed 16 court challenges to EPA efforts to regulate GHGs.

The EPA issued a statement Feb. 19, however, that the “science is settled” regarding the threat of greenhouse gases, reports FoxNews.

As the Senate returns from recess, a variety of legislative options will be presented to Democrat John Kerry, Republican Lindsey Graham and independent Joe Lieberman, reports Reuters.

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