August 28, 2008
WASHINGTON – According to a letter issued by the Interstate Natural Gas Association of America (INGAA), H.R. 6720 (The Natural Gas Strategy Act), if enacted, would stifle investment in natural gas infrastructure at a critical time for the expansion of the nation’s energy transportation network.
INGAA released the following statement by its president, Donald F. Santa, Jr., in opposition to the legislation, as introduced in late July by Rep. Timothy H. Bishop of New York:
“Rep. Bishop and his colleagues in Congress are correct when they state that new natural gas infrastructure is needed in order to help meet the energy, environmental and economic challenges facing our nation. Domestically-abundant natural gas fuels our nation’s economy, and clean burning natural gas is likely to play an even larger role as the United States transitions to a less carbon intensive economy. Natural gas infrastructure development is the link that will make it possible for industries, businesses and homes to expand their use of new domestic natural gas resources.
“Unfortunately, H.R. 6720 attempts to fix a process that isn’t broken. The direction signaled by this legislation would be to turn the clock back decades to an era of excessive government regulation and energy shortages. Such a policy will not result in natural gas infrastructure getting built on a timely basis; rather, it will lead to delay, litigation, supply constraints, and higher natural gas prices.
“H.R. 6720 would establish a national commission on natural gas infrastructure, ignoring the fact that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and its predecessor have been fulfilling that role responsibly since 1942 -- exercising the Congressional mandate to review, approve and site only those natural gas infrastructure projects that meet the public convenience and necessity. FERC’s process is the product of a well-developed body of law reflected in federal statute, regulatory rulemaking and judicial precedent. Today’s market-based approach works, because private capital investment flows to where infrastructure investment is needed most to connect supply with hungry markets.
“The United States has the safest, most-robust natural gas delivery system in the world. The current process has created a natural gas infrastructure that is competitive, reliable, and market-responsive. It is a model for others to emulate.
“As Members of Congress look to expand the use of domestic natural gas in the coming months, INGAA urges them first to do no harm. Congress should avoid the temptation to “fix” a process that in fact has worked to the benefit of American consumers for decades. INGAA strongly opposes H.R. 6720.”
The Interstate Natural Gas Association of America (INGAA) is a non-profit trade association representing virtually all interstate natural gas transmission pipeline companies operating in the United States and interprovincial pipelines operating in Canada. INGAA’s U.S. members operate over 200,000 miles of pipeline and related facilities that account for over 90 percent of all natural gas transported and sold in interstate commerce.