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Southern Co. spent $7.1M lobbying

Southern Co. spent $7.1M lobbying

WASHINGTON (AP) – Electric utility owner Southern Co. spent $7.1 million to lobby the federal government in the first half of 2007, including a high-profile battle against a requirement that would force the company to make power from renewable sources like solar and wind.The Atlanta company, a major owner of coal-fired power plants, lobbied on numerous pieces of climate change and energy legislation, according to the form posted online Aug. 14 by the Senate’s public records office.Southern Co., along with much of the electric power industry, fought legislation that would force utilities to generate a portion of their electricity26 from renewable sources.While many utilities around the country are able to meet similar state-level requirements through the installation of wind turbines, Southern argues there are not enough windy areas in the Southeast for that power source to be practical.The requirement was included in legislation that passed the House, but not the Senate, earlier this year. Lawmakers have not yet reached agreement on an energy bill as the year draws to a close.In addition to Congress, the company lobbied the Environmental Protection Agency, the Energy Department, and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.John Pemberton, formerly chief of staff to the EPA’s assistant administrator for air and radiation, was among those who lobbied on behalf of the company, the filing said.Under a federal law enacted in 1995, lobbyists are required to disclose activities that could influence members of the executive and legislative branches. They must register with Congress within 45 days of being hired or engaging in lobbying.Copyright 2007 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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