Members of the natural gas industry have sent a letter to both New Mexico senators asking that natural gas be added to any clean energy mandate that passes Congress, according to The Hill.
In January, then-President of the New Mexico Oil and Gas Association Bob Gallagher told New Mexico Business Weekly, that while things looked better for the oil industry in New Mexico, “the situation is still pretty glum for natural gas production.”
The letter is addressed to Sen. Jeff Bingaman, D-N.M., the chair of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources committee. Sen. Tom Udall, D-N.M. and four other Senators were also sent the letter.
“We agree that natural gas will be essential to meeting the nation’s greenhouse gas reduction goals, and therefore, should a CES be adopted, it should be crafted so that utilities have the option of using natural gas to comply with the generation portfolio requirements,” the letter from four natural gas industry executives states.
The letter was sent from the Natural Gas Supply Association, the Interstate Natural Gas Association of America, the Independent Petroleum Association of America, and the American Gas Association.
The letter was also sent to Senators John Kerry, D-Mass., Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., and Richard Lugar, R-Ind., and Joseph Lieberman, I-Conn.
Senators are attempting to craft a compromise clean energy bill to pass the Senate; a clean energy bill passed the House in June.
According to the Pew Center on Global Climate Change, the House version of clean energy legislation, the American Clean Energy and Security (ACES) Act reserved a large amount of allowances, or emission permits for natural gas. Those with an allowance in the ACES Act would be allowed to “legally emit one ton of carbon dioxide (or its equivalent for other greenhouse gases) into the atmosphere.”
Pew wrote, “About 23 percent of allowances are given to local electricity and natural gas distribution companies, primarily in the early years of the program, with the stipulation that the value is passed on to consumers to offset higher energy prices.”
According to the New Mexico Oil Conservation Division of the New Mexico Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources department, production of natural gas has dropped since a peak in 2000. Oil production in the state has dropped since a peak in 1970.
In his career, Bingaman has received the fifth most money in campaign donations from the oil and gas industry since 1989 according to the Center for Responsive Politics’ Web site Open Secrets. For Udall, the oil and gas industry is his 19th highest contributor. There is no breakdown between the oil industry and the gas industry.