On Wednesday the House Interior Appropriation's Subcommittee is expected to take into consideration an amendment sponsored by U.S. Congressman John Peterson (R-PA) that would allow energy companies to explore and drill for oil and natural gas off America's coasts, as long as those activities are at least 50 miles from the U.S. shoreline.
"The amendment is both environmentally sensitive and economically important. It would send the right signal to American consumers that Congress is responding to their concerns about energy prices while addressing the visual and environmental concerns of those who live along America's coastlines," said R. Skip Horvath, president and CEO of the Natural Gas Supply Association. "We hope that Congress will have the wisdom to adopt this domestic supply amendment."
Horvath noted that two studies of climate change legislation conducted by the Natural Gas Council found that natural gas will be an increasingly key component in meeting the nation's greenhouse gas reduction goals.
One study found that S. 280, a climate change bill introduced last year, would drive up demand for natural gas by 20 percent. An analysis of S. 3036, the more recent climate change bill, found that legislation could drive up demand for natural gas by 30 percent.
"Although the Senate's most recent climate change legislation didn't make any progress last week, we expect similar legislation to return in the next two years. When that happens, access to more natural gas will be paramount because it is the cleanest of all fossil fuels. Utilities will increasingly use it for electrical generation to meet clean air concerns," Horvath said.
The U.S. Minerals Management Service has estimated there is approximately 420 trillion cubic feet of natural gas off America's coastline.
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