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U.S. budget woes may cripple energy

Feb. 20, 2013 at 8:38 AM

WASHINGTON, Feb. 20 (UPI) -- Pending cuts to the U.S. budget means some energy policies backed by Republicans may get eliminated, said U.S. Rep. Ed Markey, D-Mass.

U.S. President Barack Obama called on lawmakers Tuesday to pass a short-term measure to avert the $85 billion in automatic spending cuts known as sequester from going into effect March 1.

House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, said the president "offered no credible plan" that could pass through Congress. Republican leaders oppose any budget measure that would increase taxes, instead supporting spending cuts.

Markey, ranking member of the House Natural Resources Committee, said Republican objections could put U.S. energy security at risk.

"Republicans should join with Democrats and stop the devastating sequester cuts that would mean reductions in oil and gas leasing and production, and make it harder to protect the environment," Markey said in a statement.

Markey said the U.S. Department of Interior, which controls parts of the nation's energy sector, faces an 8.2 percent cut in its budget by March 1.

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