Oil Majors, Heavy Equipment firm quit US climate action group

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The oil majors

and

, and the heavy-equipment maker

, are withdrawing from an influential US lobbying group that was instrumental in building support for the Obama administration's proposed "cap and trade" bill aimed at curbing carbon emissions.

The companies would not renew their membership in the

(USCAP), a three-year-old business-environmental coalition,

"As an active member of USCAP, we owe a great deal of credit to our colleagues, both companies and non-government organisations alike," the chairman of ConocoPhillips, Jim Mulva, said in a

. "USCAP's diverse membership and high-level commitment have made it a true pioneer in the climate change debate, and we have highly valued our involvement."

Nevertheless, the bill that was narrowly passed last year by the US House of Representatives and amendments proposed by the Senate "have disadvantaged the transportation sector and its consumers, left domestic refineries unfairly penalised versus international competition, and ignored the critical role that natural gas can play in reducing [greenhouse gas] emissions. We believe greater attention and resources need to be dedicated to reversing these missed opportunities, and our actions today are part of that effort," he added.

"Addressing these issues will save thousands of American jobs, as well as create new ones."

ConocoPhillips, which is one of the largest US gas producers and oil refiners, said it "maintains a strong commitment to a federal legislative solution for mandatory reduction of [greenhouse gas] emissions and encourages Congress and the administration to work together to that end".

BP said it also supported legislation to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions, but believed it could accomplish more by working outside USCAP, while Caterpiller said it planned to focus on commercialising green technologies, according to the Wall Street Journal.

The companies' decisions to quit USCAP came as Texas

the US federal government's authority to regulate emissions. Among other things, Texas officials said they wanted to safeguard jobs.

USCAP said it intended to continue its work.

The group's

include other large companies in energy intensive industries such as oil, petrochemicals, mining and metals refining, as well as energy services providers, pipeline companies and car makers.

Pic: A toy Caterpillar wheel loader by Bruder Toys America. Jin Lee/Bloomberg
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