Big Oil Huddles With Obama's First Friend and Refining Rules Stall

"At 9:30 a.m. on a warm day in March, eight men and two women stepped off Pennsylvania Avenue and into the northwest gate of the White House. They were top-level refining executives from the world's largest oil companies, Chevron Corp., Marathon Petroleum Corp. and BP PLC, escorted by Jack Gerard, the brash president of the American Petroleum Institute, the oil industry's top lobby."

"Ushered into the West Wing, they met Valerie Jarrett, a longtime confidante of President Obama and White House power player whose second-floor office was once occupied by George W. Bush consigliere Karl Rove.

In the weeks before the meeting, EPA was advancing toward the White House new restrictions on the amount of sulfur in gasoline. Oil refiners wanted the rules stopped, and they had an argument that could scare any president facing re-election -- the rules would increase gasoline prices.

Prices at the pump were rising toward $4 a gallon, a level that had inspired a Republican rebellion in Congress that threatened Obama's election in the summer of 2008.

Since that meeting with Jarrett, best known as Obama's "first friend," the sulfur rules have stalled in bureaucratic limbo while environmentalists have stewed."

Jeremy P. Jacobs and Mike Soraghan report for EnergyWire October 2, 2012.

Source: EnergyWire, 10/03/2012