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GM spent $1.94M lobbying federal government in 2Q

Wed, 08/17/2011 - 12:13pm
The Associated Press

General Motors Co. spent 29 percent less lobbying the federal government in the second quarter this year than last, but it still spent $1.94 million to influence legislators and agencies on safety, fuel economy and pollution regulations, research funding for alternative fuels and other issues.

The Detroit company is still 26.5 percent owned by the government, which gave GM $49.5 billion in aid to save it from the auction house. The government is waiting to sell its remaining 500 million shares until the stock market recovers.

The automaker spent $2.72 million on lobbying in last year's second quarter and $3.58 million in the first quarter of this year.

GM had a dozen lobbyists dealing with Congress, the White House and federal agencies including the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration; the Environmental Protection Agency; the U.S. Trade Representative; the Energy, Defense, Transportation and Commerce departments; and other parts of the government. The lobbyists also answered questions from Congress about GM's restructuring and facilities.

GM lobbied Congress on research and development funding for cellulosic ethanol and renewable fuels, distracted driver legislation, motor vehicle defects and recalls, and consumer protections for people with recalled vehicles.

The automaker has invested in two companies that are working to develop ethanol from plant matter, wood chips and waste paper sludge, and many of its vehicles run on both gasoline and E85 ethanol. The fuel is a blend of 85 percent ethanol and 15 percent gasoline. Lawmakers have touted the development of biofuels, including ethanol from corn and cellulosic feedstock such as switch grass and wood chips, as a substitute for gasoline.

GM also lobbied the EPA on fuel economy requirements and a national fuel economy standard and on a bill that would stop the EPA administrator from regulating greenhouse gas emissions.

Last month, the Obama administration reached agreement with automakers, including GM, on standards to double fuel economy to 54.5 mpg by 2025. Detailed regulations are due next month.

GM also lobbied on corporate taxes, research funding for hydrogen-powered vehicles, international trade and protections for intellectual property.

The company disclosed its spending in a report it filed with the House Clerk's office on July 20. Lobbyists are required to disclose activities that could influence members of the executive and legislative branches of government under a federal law enacted in 1995.

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