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Industry Inundates Energy Conferees With Last Minute Pleas

If you haven't sent in one last wish list to the congressional energy bill conferees, you should be aware time is running out. E-mail advisories were flying Thursday when it became apparent the energy bill steamroller was powered up and targeted for completion by next week and the last word on natural gas provisions could well be this weekend or Monday.

By far the most extensive list of directives aimed at "ensuring ample supplies of domestic natural gas" was signed by a whole slew of industry organizations and companies, leading off with the American Gas Association and ending up with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Also the AGA and the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) were targeting the media with issue briefs and press conferences.

The industry letter to the conferees said the final comprehensive energy bill should include "the strongest language possible to increase natural gas supply." Specifically:

Besides the AGA, the Chamber and the manufacturers, signatories included the American Iron & Steel Institute, the American Public Gas Association, AGL Resources, Agrium, Inc., Arkansas Gas Consumers Inc., Atmos Energy Corp., the Carpet and Rug Association, Celanese Corp., Clearwater Gas System, Colorado Oil & Gas Association, Consumers Alliance for Affordable Natural Gas, Council of Industrial Boiler Owners, Domestic Petroleum Council, Illinois Municipal Gas Authority, the Independent Petroleum Association of America, the Independent Petroleum Association of the Mountain States, Industrial Energy Consumers of America, International Association of Drilling Contractors, Laclede Gas Co., Michigan Oil & Gas Association, Minnesota Municipal Utilities Association, Municipal Gas Association of Georgia, National Fuel Gas Co., Nuclear Energy Institute, New Mexico Oil & Gas Association, NICOR, Peoples Energy Corp., Philadelphia Gas Works, Piedmont Natural Gas, Praxair, RCG Resources, Small Business and Entrepreneurship Council, Society of the Plastics Industry, Tennessee Oil and Gas Association, Texas Alliance, American Fiber Manufacturers Association, and the Fertilizer Institute.

In a separate letter, the American Public Gas Association (APGA) put in a special plea for the oil and gas OCS inventory provision in the Senate bill " that will help us make educated decisions regarding our energy future. If we are to bring prices back to an affordable level, our energy policy must not take significant domestic supplies, such as those available in the Outer Continental Shelf, off the table."

Also, APGA, which represents 600 municipal and publicly-owned gas systems, "strongly supports" a provision being considered in the conference committee giving the states the option to opt out of the offshore moratoria, allowing production of their offshore resources and the receipt of additional revenues.

"American consumers have waited too long for relief from high natural gas prices and it is critical that this bill do all it can towards ensuring that natural gas prices are brought back to an affordable level," said APGA. "This bill will determine U.S. energy policy for years to come."

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