Republican News

WASHINGTON, D.C.– Chairman Frank H. Murkowski and four other Members of the Committee today signed a letter to President Bill Clinton asking that, in the waning days of the Administration, regulators take no actions that would harm natural gas supplies. “We are writing to respectfully urge that you review all remaining executive actions of the Administration to ensure that these actions do not exacerbate the current problem of skyrocketing natural gas prices.” In their letter, Murkowski, Sens. Don Nickles, R-Oklahoma, Larry Craig, R-Idaho, Craig Thomas, R-Wyoming, and Conrad Burns, R- Montana, referred to the fact that, during the Clinton Administration, the use of natural gas as a clean fuel alternative has been a cornerstone of energy policy. “Demand for natural gas has increased much faster than North American supply has been able to respond. That imbalance now is reflected in record high natural gas prices for residential and commercial consumers, and may lead to extreme hardship for many Americans in the coming months.” Overwhelming demand for natural gas has led the Energy Department’s Energy Information Administration to predict consumers will pay at least 50 percent more for natural gas this winter than last winter. While not anticipating quick answers to this dilemma, the Senators asked the Administration seriously to consider the possible impacts of new regulatory actions on the safe production, transportation and distribution of natural gas to consumers. “An example is the potential effect of a pending decision concerning more than 40 million acres of roadless areas of the National Forest System. This may have severe implications for the future production of natural gas needed to heat homes, run factories and provide energy to run our new economy.” The Senators asked, “We respectfully request that your roadless policy clearly allow for the exploration, development and transportation of clean burning natural gas.” The Senators wrote, “The next congress and Administration must craft policies that encourage the production of more natural gas supplies to meet the surging demand that has been predicted by the Department of Energy.” ###