Washington, DC –The American Gas Association (AGA) today released the following statement in conjunction with the House Subcommittee on Energy and Air Quality hearing on legislative proposals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions:
“AGA is proud of the contribution that our member companies and their customers have made in the fight to reduce America’s greenhouse gas emissions. Natural gas accounts for less than 6 percent of greenhouse gas emissions, despite providing over 40 percent of all the energy consumed by residential and commercial sectors.
“Customers of natural gas utilities lead the nation in reducing energy consumption and the accompanying greenhouse gas emissions. The number of natural gas households has increased from 38 million in the 1970s to more than 64 million today, yet the output of greenhouse gas emissions has decreased. This can be attributed to the average consumption by U.S. households going down by more than 30 percent since the 1970s. Not only a significant accomplishment, but clearly a major step forward in our country’s effort to reduce greenhouse gases.
“AGA, along with its member companies and their customers, remain committed to reducing greenhouse emissions and intend to play a strong role in reaching a constructive legislative solution. However, we believe that any bill which includes residential and commercial customers of natural gas under a ‘cap and trade’ program would have a damaging effect on consumers.
“AGA recommends that residential and commercial natural gas customers should be covered through aggressive promotion and implementation of various greenhouse gas reduction programs, including state- or utility-sponsored conservation and efficiency programs, tightened building codes and standards, and appliance efficiency standards. In order to ensure that the nation’s greenhouse-gas goals are achieved, we would recommend that in the year 2020 the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency review the progress of natural gas utilities and their customers in terms of maintaining the pattern of reduced greenhouse gas emissions per household that has been demonstrated over the past four decades.
“An emissions cap on residential and commercial customers would force natural gas homes, businesses, schools, and hospitals into competition with electricity generators and industrial facilities for limited allowances, thereby significantly increasing their energy costs. It is our hope that when Congress implements climate change legislation, it will take into consideration the distressing consequences for our nation’s 64 million natural gas customers.”