Delegates: Natural gas can be boost to economy

The federal government could play a role in increasing the use of natural gas as a transportation fuel, two members of Congress said.

U.S. Rep. Scott Tipton, R-Colo., and U.S. Sen. Mark Udall, D-Colo., said natural gas can play a larger role in the U.S. economy.

Each, however, also said that the budget could limit or preclude federal intervention to increase the reach of natural gas into the market.

Both think Texas billionaire T. Boone Pickens’ idea of using natural gas to fuel cars and trucks is a good one.

Pickens’ plan to make greater use of wind power makes the idea particularly attractive, Udall said.

The federal budget should include several domestic elements, such as education, health care and other programs and “natural gas belongs” on such a list, he said.

Federal revenues, however, also have to be taken into account and the government might not have the money to encourage such activities as subsidies for development of natural gas as a fuel and tax advantages for individuals, Udall said.

Natural gas should be a part of a yet-to-be determined national energy policy, Tipton said.

“We still need to be developing a national energy policy,” Tipton said, noting that President Obama has offered $1 billion to Brazil to encourage offshore drilling and said he should support a similar measure in the United States to help consumers.

One possible area for federal help could be tax write-offs for conversions that would allow existing cars to run on natural gas, Tipton said.


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