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Texas NatGas Support Group Aims to Counter Internet Fossil Fuel Foes

Having outgrown its North Texas name and mission, a pro-natural gas effort spawned three years ago as an outgrowth of the shale revolution, has expanded into the statewide Texans for Natural Gas, claiming an online following of 220,000 supporters.

Having developed out of the Barnett Shale surge, group spokesperson Steve Everley said he has been impressed with how quickly people from the Permian Basin and Eagle Ford plays have come onboard the grass roots effort to promote the benefits of natural gas for local economies, schools and neighborhoods.

Everley said the organization continues to provide "a voice to those who support natural gas." He told local news media earlier this month that new supporters "have not only discovered our campaign, but joined and actively participated in our advocacy efforts."

"We're active on a number of fronts, but we've been focusing on pipelines because our supporters are very engaged on that issue," Everley told NGI. "They want to see Dakota Access and Keystone XL [oil pipelines] built, and we've got more than 500 signatures on our petition in support of the Trans-Pecos Pipeline [in West Texas]."

For the past 12 to 18 months, industry executives have been encouraging professionals and others throughout the oil and gas industry to get active in combating the growing anti-fossil fuel national campaign operating under the slogan "Keep It in the Ground." From federal oil/gas lease sales to pipeline construction projects, the activists have been disruptive at a time when global market forces have also created major headwinds for the industry.

It's difficult to gauge the extent that kind of activism in Texas, Everley said.

"In December, a couple of Native American groups claimed West Texas [protest] camps would have as many as 300 protesters in a month's time, but there are only 15 people currently participating during the week, and several of those are people from North Dakota," he said.

From its original base in North Texas, the pro-industry advocacy group has produced reports verifying the economic benefits of the shale revolution, which has been substantial in a states like Texas. Texans for Natural Gas plans to continue with the same approach.

A top priority is leading the campaign and online petition supporting the Trans-Pecos Pipeline to transport more Texas gas supplies into Mexico.

"Texans from all across the state clearly want to voice their support for oil and natural gas, and we're excited to play an even bigger part in protecting and promoting the state's energy economy," Everley told the San Antonio Business Journal earlier this month. He claims representatives of the Keep It in the Ground movement have come into Texas claiming they represent grass roots citizens.

"It has never been more important to have a group like [ours] to show what Texans actually believe," he said.

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