If that happens, the gas groups say their fuel – which emits far less carbon dioxide when burned than coal – should be allowed under the standard as well.
They spelled out their view in a letter Friday to Graham, Energy and Natural Resources Committee Chairman Jeff Bingaman (D-N.M.), John Kerry (D-Mass.), Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.), Tom Udall (D-N.M.) and Richard Lugar (R-Ind.).
“We agree that natural gas will be essential to meeting the nation’s greenhouse gas reduction goals, and therefore, should a CES be adopted, it should be crafted so that utilities have the option of using natural gas to comply with the generation portfolio requirements,” states the letter Friday from the Natural Gas Supply Association, the Interstate Natural Gas Association of America, the Independent Petroleum Association of America, and the American Gas Association.
The groups together represent gas producers, pipeline companies, natural gas utilities and other segments of the industry.
Kerry, Graham and Lieberman are trying to craft a compromise climate change and energy plan.
Bingaman has long opposed the idea of turning a renewable electricity standard into a broader standard that includes non-renewable sources.
“Sen. Bingaman is a long-time supporter of natural gas. While the chairman is an open-minded fellow, I can report that he is not considering a CES,” Bingaman spokesman Bill Wicker said in an email.