What the Natural Gas Industry Is Doing to Catch Up

August 18 2009, 11:34 AM

Natural gas, it seems, "can't get no respect"---especially since it has become so cheap. Natural gas futures were down another 43.6 cents last week, trading at their lowest levels since 2002, as supplies are surging and demand is waning due to the recession, writes The Wall Street Journal. But there's hope for natural gas: Politicians (more accurately, Democrats) are finally, it seems, hopping on the bandwagon. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, for example, assured the Grand Junction Sentinel last week that he would keep drilling leases in place on the Roan Plateau, using the power of policy to help shape demand for a product that burns cleaner than oil or coal. Natural gas hasn't acted much like an industry, though. It failed to lobby on the energy-climate bill recently passed by the U.S. House. There was no mention of natural gas in the 1,428-page bill, which seems to have something for coal, utilities, automobiles, wind, and solar. As Josh Dorner, a spokesman for the Sierra Club, tells The Denver Post, "The natural-gas industry wasn't at the table, and if you aren't at the table, you're on the menu."

Now natural gas is prepared to plunk down $80 million in a lobbying campaign to get in on the action as the bill heads to the Senate. Meanwhile, there are always battles over where to put the wells, and a big fight along those lines is brewing in Battlement Mesa on the Western Slope, writes The Colorado Independent.