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BP, Caterpillar and ConocoPhillips leave the U.S. Climate Action Partnership

February 16, 2010 |  3:09 pm

Three major companies – BP America, Caterpillar Inc. and ConocoPhillips – said Tuesday that they will not renew their membership in the U.S. Climate Action Partnership.

The coalition of nearly 30 companies and environmental groups was launched in 2007 to lobby for legislation that would lower U.S. emissions of greenhouse gases. Remaining members include petroleum giant Royal Dutch Shell PLC and General Motors Corp.

The three companies provided “invaluable assistance, expertise and significant commitments of time and resources” in the group’s efforts, U.S. CAP said in a statement. The organization also stressed that its “membership changes periodically” and that members including AES, Alstom and Honeywell International Inc. joined within the last seven months.

Houston-based ConocoPhillips said it was leaving to “better focus its efforts on ensuring fair and equitable treatment” of the transportation sector, which it said was disadvantaged by proposed legislation. Proposals in Congress also “unfairly penalized” domestic refineries and ignored the possibilities of natural gas, the company said in a statement.

Caterpillar, based in Peoria, Ill., wanted to focus on commercializing technologies that it said would accomplish the same goals pursued by U.S. CAP, spokeswoman Kate Kenny said in an e-mail.

The company recently joined the FutureGen Industrial Alliance Inc., a public-private partnership launched to construct a coal-fired, near-zero-emissions power plant in Illinois. The project is designed to demonstrate techniques for carbon capture and sequestration.

“We are withdrawing our participation of U.S. CAP, not our efforts to enact environmentally sound, economically sustainable climate and energy policies that do not place the U.S. at a competitive disadvantage to others,” Kenny said.

BP America, a unit of BP PLC in London, also has concerns about the pending legislation, said spokesperson Ronnie Chappell.

“The climate change conversation is shifting to discussion of more detailed specific policy proposals and we think that we can be a more effective advocate for a bill if we participate as BP and not as part of a larger organization,” he said.

-- Tiffany Hsu

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