Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Can Natural Gas Really Deliver American Energy Independence?

Several members of Congress seem to think so.


Natural gas is flared from an oil well near Parshall, N.D. (AP Photo/James MacPherson).

A bipartisan mix of lawmakers is pushing for increased use and manufacture of natural gas in the U.S., but their paths for reaching that goal are different.

Proponents of natural gas believe that the U.S.-produced energy source can deliver jobs, lower greenhouse-gas emissions, and eventually lead to American energy independence—the day that the U.S. no longer has to rely on the Middle East or Venezuela for energy.

Although this may seem like a pipe dream to some, Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C., believes the U.S. can secure economic and national security based on natural gas.

"It's not only possible, but we're heading on the road even without Washington's help," Burr said at a National Journal Live event on Tuesday. "We've got an opportunity to really develop our natural resources."

He said there are 120,000 vehicles in the U.S. that are powered by natural gas, but there are 14.8 million vehicles worldwide that do the same. If the U.S. creates incentives, but not mandates, for the 500,000 school buses nationwide to use natural gas, Burr said, it reduces the cost of transportation for children and puts money back in the classroom.

But how the U.S. can deliver on this goal, pushing more Americans to use and produce natural gas, is still unclear. Burr said that it requires "leadership from one end of Pennsylvania Avenue to the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue," but he would not elaborate on how Congress and the White House could find a solution. For him, it's all about creating an environment for the market to succeed.

For the rest of the story: http://www.nationaljournal.com/energy/can-natural-gas-really-deliver-american-energy-independence-20130618

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