X-Message-Number: 21899
From: "Mark Plus" <>
Subject: 'Disastrous' fuel shortages forecast
Date: Fri, 06 Jun 2003 09:43:44 -0700


'Disastrous' fuel shortages forecast
By Heather Draper, Rocky Mountain News
June 6, 2003

A Denver-based business trade organization warns that the Western United 
States may face "economically disastrous fuel shortages" later this year.

Leaders of the Western Business Roundtable are sending a letter to Congress 
today urging U.S. legislators to take rapid action to increase natural gas 
supplies to fend off a possible shortage.

"Unless urgent action is taken on many things, the West and other parts of 
the country will face not only higher prices but shortages as well," said 
the round table's executive director, Jim Sims.

"When you start to think through the implications of natural gas shortages, 
that is a very serious problem," Sims said. "We need to sound an alarm 

The coalition of Western business leaders, which includes natural gas 
consumers and producers, said the gas supply problem "threatens America's 
economic growth, job creation and international competitiveness."

The round table urged Congress to take a number of steps to increase gas 
supplies including:

  Streamline the leasing/permit application processes for federal oil and 
gas properties;

  Provide tax relief for domestic oil and gas exploration expenses, 
including tax incentives to encourage nonconventional well production;

  Provide resources and direction to the responsible federal agencies to 
expedite pending reviews, appeals and resolution of ongoing "obstructionist" 

  Adequately fund gas supply technology research and;

  Require economic value assessments be weighed against objective 
environmental impact assessments for production on government lands.

Sims said the timing of the letter is good because Congress is debating the 
national energy bill this week.

A Natural Gas Supply Association report shows that supplies are already 
tight following a colder- than-usual winter and decreased production in the 
U.S. and Canada.

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