Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Track the NAT GAS Act

It might be a futile activity, but you can track the progress of the NAT GAS Act, as reintroduced for the 2011-12 Congressional session by following these links for House Resolution 1380 and Senate bill 1863.  As you may remember, the NAT GAS act is a bipartisan bill pushed by T. Boone Pickens to provide incentives to convert trucks to natural gas and help build natural gas fueling infrastructure.

While the idea has much support, it also has some very powerful enemies.  Chief among them are the infamous Koch brothers, who control Koch Industries.  When they aren't pumping hundreds of millions of dollars into political campaigns, they are using their money and influence to fight the NAT GAS Act, mainly through lobbying efforts and donations from the Koch Industries Political Action Committee targeted at removing bill co-sponsors.  

While often pitched as a battle between billionaires over free market principles, I think the Koch brothers' real motivation is to maintain cheap gas prices for its Koch Industries' industrial businesses like chemical and fertilizer businesses and not to disturb the flow of oil tanked to its refining businesses.

However you define the kerfuffle, looking at the big picture, it is unlikely that Congress will take any action on the NAT GAS Act other than shuffling it between committees to kill it for another session.

1 comment:

Bill Mendenhall said...

Robert, I agree that it seems very unlikely that the Act will pass between now and the presidential election this fall. The good news is that both President Obama and most of the Republican candidates have now come out in support of the concept. And, the Senate version of the bill contains a full "payback" provision making the Act revenue neutral. So, the odds are better at this time than ever before that we will eventually see the legislation passed, regardless of which party wins the election.