America's Natural Gas Alliance, a recently formed energy lobbying group formed by natural gas producers, has issued a press release praising the Senate's version of a climate bill. Without actually endorsing the bill, the Alliance commended the bill's authors for "including provisions in their bill that will enable us to continue to engage in the process of developing language that will effectively promote natural gas as part of the climate solution."
The Alliance was formed in March 2009, and according to its website it represents 28 of North America's largest independent natural gas producing companies, whose members produce more than 40 percent of total U.S. natural gas supplies, about nine trillion cubic feet per year. Its members include Anadarko, Apache, Chesapeake, Devon, El Paso, Encana, Petrohawk, Pioneer, Plains, and XTO. The Alliance's position on the Kerry-Boxer energy bill is markedly different from that of the American Petroleum Institute and the Texas Alliance of Energy Producers, long-time lobbyists for the energy industry which have come out strongly against cap-and-trade legislation. Alex Mills, President of Texas Alliance of Energy Producers, is in particular an opponent of cap-and-trade, saying that it will wreak havoc on the energy industry. Chesapeake, Devon, Encana, and XTO are also members of the Texas Alliance. Politics makes strange bedfellows.
But companies relying mainly on gas production -- more than 90 percent of Chesapeake's total production is natural gas -- believe that natural gas producers can benefit from climate legislation, since natural gas is a clean-burning fuel with much lower carbon emissions per unit of energy than oil or coal. Tom Price, Senior V.P. of Chesapeake for corporate development and government relations, said that "We think Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Arkansas and the states that are primarily natural gas producers will come out very favoarable to a legislation that differentiates among the low-carbon fuels."