More natural gas use for power generation and transportation in the Lone Star State is a plank in the platform of the newly formed Texas Clean Energy Coalition (TCEC), which is being led by former state Sen. Kip Averitt, TCEC chairman, with funding from the Cynthia and George Mitchell Foundation.

"We at the TCEC believe it is important for Texans from all walks of life to work together to enhance Texas' economy by positioning our state as the world leader in the new clean energy industry -- not as a replacement, but as a complement to our traditional leadership in the oil and gas energy industry," says TCEC's website, www.texascleanenergy.org.

"We see natural gas as a clean energy, just like solar or wind or any other renewable..." Averitt told NGI. "It's about as close to a renewable without being a renewable as you can get because the supply is so huge. But the main thing is it burns clean. Compared to other fossil fuels, it is really in a class by itself and is the responsible way to produce energy, especially here in Texas."

Instead of burning Wyoming coal in its power plants, Texas should burn more natural gas, Averitt said, noting that TCEC will support replacing existing coal-fired baseload power generation with gas-fueled plants.

TCEC also is behind the idea of creating a natural gas fueling infrastructure triangle to support fleet vehicles traveling among Dallas, Houston and San Antonio, Averitt said.

"Those types of initiatives we're going to support and encourage and help develop."

Besides supporting the broader use of natural gas, TCEC also wants to promote energy efficiency and renewable energy. "As the global leader of the traditional energy industry, Texas has enormous technical, financial and educational expertise in energy exploration, production and marketing. Now is the time to harness our state's expertise and our can‐do attitude to ensure that we emerge as the leading clean energy economy in the United States and the world," TCEC said.

Averitt, a Republican, served more than nine years in the Texas House of Representatives and was elected to the Texas Senate in April 2002 to represent the 22nd District. He was chair of the Senate Committee on Natural Resources but stepped down from his Senate seat last March citing health issues.

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