Texas Gov. Rick Perry criticizes Obama energy policies

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HOUSTON (AP) — Texas Gov. Rick Perry has written to President Barack Obama criticizing his administration's energy policies, EPA regulations and failure to approve the construction of a pipeline to carry tar sands crude from Canada to Gulf Coast refineries.

The letter, which reiterates much of Perry's longstanding opposition to the Obama administration's energy policies, comes as a bipartisan energy bill is stalled in Congress by Republican Senators demanding a vote on the Keystone XL Canada-to-Texas pipeline and on the EPA's move to put greenhouse gas regulations on existing coal-fired power plants. The pipeline requires Obama's approval because it would cross an international border.

Perry is considered a possible presidential contender in 2016 and his letter, dated Friday, touts Texas' economy and what he called the state's success at having both a robust energy industry and sound environmental regulations. Critics argue that Texas' policies are more business-friendly than they are protective of the environment.

Perry told Obama in the letter that his "policies are strangling the energy industry."

"You are waging a war on coal, kicking the can down the road on the Keystone XL pipeline and creating obstacles to onshore and offshore oil and gas production," Perry wrote.

The White House defended its policies, noting that the United States is now the largest producer of natural gas in the world and producing more oil than it's importing for the first time in 20 years.

But "we have a moral obligation to leave our children and grandchildren a planet that is not damaged and polluted — that means continuing to cut carbon pollution that threatens our health and well-being," Matt Lehrich, a White House spokesman, said in an emailed statement.

The three-page letter repeats Perry's opposition to new EPA regulations on coal-fired power plants, including rules designed to limit mercury emissions and hold states accountable for pollution that affects downwind states. Last month, however, a federal appeals court upheld the agency's rules on mercury, and the Supreme Court backed the EPA on its downwind pollution regulations.

Texas has been a primary litigant in these legal challenges.

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