Oil-Patch Dems Say Warming Bill Must not Harm Supply

Nearly 20 House Democrats from largely oil-and-gas producing states penned a letter to their leadership yesterday in an attempt to make sure climate change legislation does not lower energy supplies or increase prices.

Rep. Gene Green (D-Texas), who coordinated the effort, told E&E Daily the lawmakers "want a seat at the table" when climate policy is crafted.

Green and 18 other Democrats sent a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) noting oil and gas will continue to provide a large share of the nation's energy supply. The letter cautions against an "unrealistic or inequitable" approach to oil and natural gas.

"If our climate change policy leads to gasoline or natural gas supply disruptions and price spikes, consumers and voters will question that policy," wrote the House members from Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Colorado, Utah, Arkansas, Georgia and Hawaii.

The letter says legislation capping greenhouse gases must consider an increase in short-term natural gas demand. Natural gas emits fewer greenhouse gases per unit of energy burned than coal, it points out, stressing the role of oil and gas in transportation fuels, heating and cooling, manufacturing and other needs.

The letter links high natural gas prices in recent years to job losses in the manufacturing sector. "I want to make sure that whatever we do, we address global warming and still realize we need to run our vehicles and cool and heat our homes," Green said in the interview.

Pelosi has made tackling global warming a high-profile issue in the House. She plans to bring legislation to the floor this summer that addresses alternative energy, efficiency and climate change, though it will not include a mandatory greenhouse gas control program.

Required controls are on a slower track. The Energy and Commerce Committee plans to complete legislation on economy-wide GHG controls this fall.

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