SOURCE: Consumer Alliance for Energy Security

May 19, 2006 14:58 ET

217-203 House Vote is Remarkable Increase in Support for OCS Exploration

House Faces Reality of Record High U.S. Natural Gas Prices

WASHINGTON, DC -- (MARKET WIRE) -- May 19, 2006 -- Following today's House vote on the Interior, Environment and Related Agencies Appropriations bill, the Consumer Alliance for Energy Security (CAES) issued the following statement:

"Today's vote on the House floor was nothing short of phenomenal. Congressmen Peterson and Abercrombie, and those who supported their efforts, are to be saluted for making history on the House floor today. This follows another amazing achievement in the House Appropriations Committee last week which voted to lift the outdated, 24-year moratorium on natural gas exploration on the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS). Both votes signal growing support for legislation that can bring relief to America's consumers who are plagued by the high cost of natural gas. Indeed, today's House vote represents remarkable progress over past years and is a very encouraging sign that Congress is beginning to grapple with the natural gas crisis and its damaging consequences for the nation.

"The House has taken a major step in the legislative process to safely unlock the vast and abundant supplies of U.S. natural gas on the OCS. As consumers and energy users, we pledge to continue our quest to safely access U.S. energy supplies that can help bring down soaring costs and mitigate the impact of the energy crisis plaguing our country, costing American jobs, and hurting working families and seniors on fixed incomes. Other avenues are available and we stand ready to pursue them.

"Federal government policies have actively increased demand for natural gas, yet kept U.S. supplies of natural gas off-limits to exploration. Congress holds the key to ending this self-inflicted crisis. By safely unlocking America's supplies of natural gas, Congress can create lower energy prices for everyone and keep American jobs where they belong -- in America.

"Just yesterday, the U.S. Department of Labor reported that consumer prices increased in April at the fastest pace since January, due to dramatically higher U.S. energy costs. This is proof positive that businesses large and small are being forced to pass along higher energy costs to all U.S. consumers.

"The U.S. is the only industrialized nation to lock up our own supplies. That is not a common-sense energy policy. It's a recipe for economic stagnation that will further the loss of U.S. jobs and jeopardize our way of life.

"We strongly urge the House and Senate to act on the numerous, bipartisan proposals now before them that will safely expand access to the abundant U.S. natural gas supplies on the OCS. "

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