Tuesday, July 21, 2009

NatGas Vehicle Research Bill Passes House

A bill to reauthorize a Department of Energy program for natural gas vehicle research, development, demonstration and deployment won overwhelming approval Tuesday in the U.S. House of Representatives. While it looks like a pork barrel bill to support Oklahoma natgas businesses, it has wide potentially positive ramifications for the whole natural gas industry.

The bill, which was introduced by Rep. John Sullivan (OK-R) won the House by a tally of 393-35 and now heads to the Senate. It is a companion bill to the NAT GAS Act, which is sponsored by Rep. Dan Boren (OK-D), among many others, but is a key part of T. Boone Pickens's Pickens Plan. The NAT GAS Act has a long way to go before it's approved.

Gas trade groups are breathlessly hailing the news of the research bill passing the House, but I think it is an over-dramatic response to the realization that these same groups have a long way to go to push for new sources of demand for natural gas. I'm all for it, but natgas advocacy groups haven't had a seat at the grownups table in a long time, if ever.

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