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New House Caucus to Focus Spotlight on Natural Gas

Reps. Tim Murphy (R-PA) and Dan Boren (D-OK) are laying the groundwork for a bipartisan Congressional Natural Gas Caucus to focus greater attention on natural gas on Capitol Hill.

Murphy and Boren so far have recruited more than 20 House lawmakers to join the new caucus, which is expected to be formally launched later this month, said a spokesman knowledgeable about the caucus.

The caucus will seek to educate, promote awareness of and develop policy in Congress on the importance of natural gas in the nation's energy portfolio, the lawmakers said.

The absence of natural gas provisions in the House cap-and-trade legislation was behind the decision to form the natural gas caucus, the spokesman said (see NGI, Aug. 31). "As they [Murphy and Boren] were going through cap-and-trade, they noticed there was not much talk about natural gas."

The Natural Gas Caucus is expected to be modeled after the Steel Caucus, which holds hearings during which industry members and experts testify. Murphy is co-chair of the Steel Caucus.

"Western Pennsylvania is America's energy capital and the world was literally built by Pittsburgh energy...Our region sits on top of a 250-year supply of coal, and we are also right in the heart of the of the Marcellus Shale find, one of the largest natural gas reserves in the country," Murphy said.

"To grow our economy and reduce our dependence on foreign sources of energy, we can use natural gas to heat our homes, fuel our cars and light our offices. But natural gas is not just a flame that heats the kettle on your stove -- it is used in chemical production, manufacturing and transportation," he said.

"Oklahomans have long known the benefits of natural gas as a domestically produced, clean energy source...I am honored to join Congressman Murphy and several other colleagues to form the Natural Gas Caucus in the U.S. House," Boren said.

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