- The Washington Times - Wednesday, February 25, 2009

The number of lobbyists locked in battle over climate change legislation has quadrupled in the last five years, a government watchdog said Wednesday.

More than 770 businesses and interest groups hired about 2,340 lobbyists to represent their causes last year, including the clean coal lobbying group which spent $10 million on its campaign, according to a report issued by The Center for Public Integrity.

“This new report shows clearly how much money is pouring into Washington on the issue of climate change,” said Center Executive Director Bill Buzenberg in a press release. “What’s also clear is how difficult it will be for the Obama Administration to get meaningful climate change legislation through Congress in the face of such an enormous lobbying push by so many special interests.”

Regulating greenhouse gas emissions and developing renewable energy sources became a top priority in Washington following Democrats’ big wins in the 2008 elections.

President Barack Obama included tens of billions of dollars in loan guarantees, tax credits and funding for renewable energy projects and clean cola technology development in his $787 billion stimulus plan. And Mr. Obama is banking on collecting $300 billion from a carbon reduction program starting in 2012.

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