Recently the National Journal’s Energy and Environment Experts blog asked, “The Nitty-Gritty: What Will Hearings Offer?” in reference to the Kerry-Boxer bill. You can read Dave Parker’s response below and follow this link to see what others are saying.
The American Gas Association (AGA) commends Congress for keeping a spotlight on our nation’s energy issues by giving careful consideration to several different bills on the table right now, including Kerry-Boxer. By recognizing the role that clean, domestic and abundant natural gas can and will play in combating climate change, our legislators can help reach our nation’s energy goals sooner.
AGA also urges members of Congress to take a look at the successful track record of America’s natural gas utilities and their customers. During the past 40 years, while the number of natural gas customers has doubled, actual gas use and greenhouse gas emissions have remained essentially flat. This remarkable success in both reducing natural gas usage on a per-household basis and increasing appliance efficiency should be considered when crafting a national energy strategy. Instead of simply mandating arbitrary prescriptive requirements, a far more effective course of action would be to continue to support these proven and successful approaches.
We believe that natural gas could, and should, be used as a tool to improve environmental quality and energy efficiency. To that end, AGA believes that as lawmakers craft climate change and energy legislation, the following key points should be considered.
If a cap-and-trade approach is implemented, Congress should maintain or increase the four-year delay for natural gas utilities coming under that program, while increasing their allowance allocation from nine percent to 12 percent and extending their allocated allowance phase-out from 2030 to 2040. Congress should also significantly modify or delete the provision that stipulates one-third of the value of allowances allocated to natural gas utilities should go to energy efficiency programs, as this approach will not reduce emissions and will only raise costs. In addition, Congress should treat all renewable energy sources equally, whether they are used to generate electricity or supplement natural gas supplies.
An approach to reducing emissions that is focused on appliance efficiency standards, building codes, and utility-supported conservation/efficiency programs has a proven track record for residential and commercial natural gas customers. AGA asks that Congress strengthen this approach rather than impose the higher costs and greater uncertainties that would result from a cap-and-trade approach.