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AGA Contacts:
Jennifer O’Shea, 202-824-7023
Jake Rubin, 202-824-7027

 AGA Statement regarding the crucial role of clean, domestic and efficient natural gas in our energy future   


Washington, D.C. — Dave McCurdy, president and CEO of the American Gas Association, (AGA) today released the following statement regarding a study on shale development led by Professor Robert Howarth of Cornell University:

“It is unfortunate that Dr. Howarth’s recent report on methane emissions is inaccurate, highly misleading and will only confuse those who are genuinely concerned about the role that natural gas can play in meeting our nation’s energy needs and environmental goals.   Lost among the inaccuracies and hyperbole are the real facts about natural gas.

By any measure, natural gas is the cleanest fossil fuel. When it comes to making smart choices to put America on the road to a cleaner, more energy efficient future, therefore, we cannot afford to let our thoughtful policy decisions be side-tracked by studies that bear no resemblance to reality.

The bottom line is that America has a tremendous amount to gain from increased domestic production of natural gas from shale. And, as stewards of the communities in which we live and work, the member companies of AGA and of the producing community are committed to the highest level of environmental stewardship with respect to producing shale gas.  That is why we must keep the facts regarding natural gas front and center in discussing our energy future.

Let’s start with the fact that, according to the Department of Energy (DOE), natural gas emits 45 percent less carbon dioxide than coal and 27 percent less carbon dioxide than oil, making it the best fossil fuel source available to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.  Further, when used directly in homes and businesses, 92 percent of the natural gas produced at the wellhead is delivered to customers as useable energy.

In addition, natural gas produces less sulfur dioxide, less nitrogen oxide and less particulate matter than coal or oil.  And the Environmental Protection Agency states that natural gas has the smallest carbon footprint of any form of fossil fuel-based power generation.

What is more, the direct use of natural gas in America’s homes and businesses is extremely efficient.  It is a fact that although the number of residential households using natural gas increased from 38 million in 1970 to about 65 million today — an increase of more than 70 percent — both aggregate residential consumption and greenhouse gas emissions over that time have remained essentially flat.

Those are facts, and I encourage all of our policymakers throughout the country to thoroughly review them.   Doing so will convince them that Dr. Howarth’s report is replete with inaccuracies, misleading statements and erroneous conclusions.”

For a detailed response to the claims by Dr. Howarth and his team, please visit or

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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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