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 AGA Recognizes Importance of Waxman-Markey Legislation   


Washington, DC – The American Gas Association (AGA) noted the important step the House Energy and Commerce Committee took last night in reporting climate change legislation.

“AGA looks forward to working with Congress as it considers climate change legislation that strives to improve our environment and energy security, while also encouraging the increased use of clean, abundant, domestic natural gas,” said Rick Shelby, AGA executive vice president for public affairs. “As the cleanest fossil fuel, emitting only one carbon atom when burned, natural gas can play a major part in quickly reducing carbon emissions.”

Because natural gas customers have reduced their household consumption so dramatically by using energy wisely and weatherizing their homes, there has been virtually no growth in emissions in over three decades, despite a 70 percent increase in households using natural gas.

The bill allocates emission allowances to local natural gas utilities to cover the carbon emissions of their residential, commercial and small industrial customers. Natural gas utilities’ residential and commercial customers would not be covered by the bill’s carbon cap until 2016.

“We will continue to work with Chairman Waxman and the House and Senate committees of jurisdiction to ensure we receive the allowances necessary to protect our customers from increased energy costs,” Rick Shelby said.

AGA supports the “carbon footprint labeling” provisions in the bill, which would expand the existing Federal Trade Commission EnergyGuide labeling program for home appliances to include carbon footprint information. 

“With reduction of carbon emissions emerging as a top national priority, consumers must be armed with information that makes them an active participant in achieving success,” Rick Shelby said.

Shelby commended the committee for excluding Energy Efficiency Resource Standard (EERS) language from its cap-and-trade legislation. Of primary concern to AGA with regard to EERS was the mandate for new energy consumption reduction goals for natural gas customers that would monetarily penalize natural gas utilities should those customers fail to achieve the reduction goals.  

“AGA and its members believe that both natural gas utilities and their customers can and should contribute to improving the nation’s energy efficiency in order to meet the nation’s goals of optimizing our resources, maximizing our energy security and reducing carbon emissions. We are committed to working with the Congress as this critical national issue evolves,” said Shelby.

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The American Gas Association, founded in 1918, represents more than 200 local energy companies that deliver clean natural gas throughout the United States. There are more than 71 million residential, commercial and industrial natural gas customers in the U.S., of which 94 percent — over 68 million customers — receive their gas from AGA members. Today, natural gas meets almost one-fourth of the United States' energy needs.

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