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Andrew T. Gillies is Director of Communications at the Center for Audit Quality, an affiliate of the American Institute of CPAs, in Washington, DC. Based in Washington since 2002, he has also worked in editorial and communications roles at the Investment Company Institute, the World Bank, Forbes, and Vault.com. His policy-themed writing has focused on aerospace and defense, energy and environment, transportation, and financial services.

Friday, August 01, 2008

Natural Gas: Booming In The Beltway

Washington, D.C. - The natural gas industry has been turning up the heat this summer in the nation's capital. Advocates are explaining to lawmakers that while oil is expensive, scarce and imported, there's enough natural gas in the U.S. supply to last more than 100 years.

One example: Aubrey McClendon, Forbes 400 member and chief executive of Chesapeake Energy (nyse: CHK - news - people ), the second-largest independent producer of natural gas in the country. Speaking at a Congress hearing Wednesday, he sounded more like someone in the business of political snake oil.

"Imagine if tomorrow you could announce a new energy plan that would in one stroke cut your constituent's gasoline bill in half, reduce our oil imports, improve our air quality, enhance national security, strengthen the dollar, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and create tens of thousands of new jobs in the U.S," McClendon said. "I believe your upcoming reelection chances would be even higher than they already are."

Smooth. McClendon and other panelists at the hearing, convened by the House Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming, want Congress to know that natural gas can have a more prominent role in America's energy future.

Several lawmakers seemed convinced, describing natural gas as "a precious resource," a bridge to a renewable energy future--and a replacement for coal.

Full story at Forbes.com