ACC Statement: Release of Chairman Barton's Energy Bill

On Feb. 27, Greg Lebedev, President and CEO of the American Chemistry Council, sent a letter to Congress urging prompt action in response to an unprecedented run-up in natural gas prices.

ARLINGTON, Va., March 5, 2003 -- On February 27, 2003, Greg Lebedev, President and CEO of the American Chemistry Council, sent a letter to all Members of Congress urging prompt action in response to an unprecedented run-up in natural gas prices.

The next day, Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX), Chairman of the Energy and Air Quality Subcommittee released a comprehensive energy bill. Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Billy Tauzin (R-LA) outlined an aggressive timetable for House action on the bill.

Today, Chairman Barton held a hearing on his draft bill, and in response, ACC issued the following statement.

"We are very pleased that Representatives Tauzin and Barton are taking decisive action in the face of runaway natural gas prices. The House is putting energy legislation on a fast track, which is the right response to the crisis facing natural gas markets.

"The House bill contains some innovative approaches to encourage conservation and efficiency, promote the development of new technologies for gas production, and provide for the continued viability of the U.S. nuclear power industry and coal-fired power generation. It is a solid foundation on which to build an enduring national energy policy.

"The ACC would strongly encourage the Committee, however, to consider additional solutions to ease the short- and mid-term natural gas supply crisis that is currently crippling American manufacturing.

"While construction of a pipeline to bring gas from Alaska is critical for meeting our nation's rapidly growing future demand for natural gas, it may be too little, too late for the U.S. business of chemistry. Congress must pass energy legislation that takes concrete steps to both increase domestic production of natural gas and curb demand growth, including:

* Directing the sale of new gas leases in the Rocky Mountain region,
promising areas off the Pacific and Atlantic coasts, and in the Eastern
Gulf of Mexico.

* Encouraging greater efficiency in the use of natural gas in the
production of electricity, and expanding the use of combined heat and
power (CHP) generation systems.

* Congress also should avoid adopting new laws that artificially drive up
natural gas demand.

"The American Chemistry Council looks forward to working with Chairman Barton and other members of the Committee to make natural gas, and other energy supplies, more abundant and more affordable for all Americans."
About the American Chemistry Council

The American Chemistry Council (ACC) represents the leading companies engaged in the business of chemistry. ACC members apply the science of chemistry to make innovative products and services that make people's lives better, healthier and safer.

ACC is committed to improved environmental, health and safety performance through Responsible Carea, common sense advocacy designed to address major public policy issues, and health and environmental research and product testing. The business of chemistry is a $463 billion enterprise and a key element of the nation's economy.

It is the nation's largest exporter, accounting for ten cents out of every dollar in U.S. exports. Chemistry companies invest more in research and development than any other business sector. Safety and security have always been primary concerns of ACC members, and they have intensified their efforts, working closely with government agencies to improve security and to defend against any threat to the nation's critical infrastructure.

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