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House Lawmakers Call for 'Obstructionist Senators' to Pass Energy Bill

House Lawmakers Call for 'Obstructionist Senators' to Pass Energy Bill

Although natural gas and electricity deliveries went off pretty much without a hitch in the subzero Northeast region last week, key House lawmakers used the situation as a soapbox to call for the "obstructionist senators" to pass the ominbus energy bill (HR 6) when Congress returns this week.

In a letter to House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-IL), Reps. W.J. "Billy" Tauzin (R-LA) and Richard Pombo (R-CA) called it a "sad note" when "crass politics" enters the debate on "legislation which would help consumers cope with soaring heating bills and possible energy shortages."

With the return of the Senate, "we would urge you to use your office to educate obstructionist senators about the serious energy difficulties their constituents face, now and into the future," they said.

"We also ask that you consider whether additional measures beyond the energy bill might be taken by Congress to help alleviate our growing natural gas and energy crisis."

Tauzin and Pombo, who co-chaired the speaker's task force on natural gas last fall, noted that Northeast and New England customers last week were threatened with rolling electricity blackouts because of "inadequate natural gas supply capability" for gas-fired generation facilities.

The fact was, however, only one company -- in western Massachusetts -- in the ISO New England was faced with a potential disruption of service, but it reported on Friday that the threat was past and the situation was steadily improving.

Likewise, local distribution companies (LDCs) throughout the Northeast and New England were able to meet the record demand needs of their gas customers during the deep chill.

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