Groups urge Congress to stem national energy crisis


WASHINGTON, Jan. 21, 2003 -- The Industrial Energy Consumers of America (IECA) and thirty one other organizations have sent the following letter to Congress, some administration officials and state governors urging them to take action to stem the national energy crisis.

"The high cost of natural gas is having a devastating impact on manufacturing competitiveness and jobs. U.S. natural gas production has been stagnant since 1995 even though we have an abundant resource base and prices that is double their historical base:

"The manufacturing sector has lost 2 million jobs since 1998 and energy costs are a major contributing factor. It is vital that Congress act quickly to stem the national energy crisis by enacting legislation that provides a robust, diverse and affordable supply of energy. It is particularly critical that Congress and the states act to increase supply of natural gas; and address regulations, such as New Source Review, in a manner that makes it easier for power generators to meet air quality standards without switching from coal to natural gas. Congress must also expedite commercialization of clean coal technology, the ultimate solution for power generation using coal in an environmentally acceptable manner.

"As of January 16, 2003, the Henry Hub wholesale price of natural gas was over $5.00 per million Btu and is more than twice the average price of $1.97 per million Btu from 1991 to 1998. U.S. natural gas production has fallen for three straight quarters. Prices in Europe, Brazil and China are less than in the United States. Industrial energy consumers, already weakened by a fragile economy, are threatened with further loss of global competitiveness placing good jobs at risk. Leadership is needed by the U.S. Congress and the states to put our country on the road to an affordable and reliable energy supply."

Source: Industrial Energy Consumers of America. The Industrial Energy Consumers of America (IECA) is a nonprofit organization of manufacturers for which the availability, use and cost of energy, power or hydrocarbon feedstock play a significant role in their ability to compete in domestic and world markets.

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