The Industrial Energy Consumers of America (IECA) has called on Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne to focus his attention on expanding natural gas development in both onshore and offshore lands.

“Our message to you is that the high price of natural gas and gas-fired electricity is dismantling critical manufacturing sectors and there is no time to lose in increasing the production of natural gas to get the price down. It is [in] this area that we look to you and the Congress for help,” IECA President Paul N. Cicio said in a recent letter to the new secretary.

“We can assure you that while many factors are used to decide whether or not a manufacturing facility continues to operate in the United States, for energy-intensive industries, the price and volatility of natural gas and natural gas-fired electricity have, and continues to have, a major impact. Unfortunately, we do not see an end to the natural gas crisis.”

The group, which has been quite vocal in its criticism of high gas prices, sent the letter following a one-on-one meeting with Kempthorne last month.

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