United States Senators Mary L. Landrieu, D-La., and Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., today announced the creation of the bipartisan Senate Natural Gas Caucus.
"When we produce natural gas in America, we produce jobs in America," said Sen. Landrieu, Co-Chair of the Senate Natural Gas caucus. "A reliable and affordable supply of U.S. energy has profound impacts on every sector of our economy and is the backbone of the U.S. employment base. Natural gas is a clean burning, low-carbon fuel that is predominantly produced here at home. This caucus will serve to investigate and debate the economic and national security implications of the newfound abundance of natural gas in the United States."
"America has an abundant supply of clean, natural gas and has the means to access these resources in an environmentally friendly way," said Chambliss. "Increasing domestic production is a critical component of a comprehensive energy policy that will reduce America's dependence on foreign sources for our energy needs. I'm pleased to join Senator Landrieu in creating this caucus. It is my hope that we can start a serious conversation in the Senate about our nation's energy policy."
Natural gas is produced in 33 states and relied upon as an energy source in many others. Over 20 percent of the electricity in the United States is generated by natural gas. Natural gas is also an important feedstock in chemical and fertilizer production, and is used to eliminate soot in clean diesel fuel. Natural gas is used as a raw material that goes into lightweight cars, wind power blades, solar panels and energy-efficient materials.
In 2008, nearly 90 percent of the natural gas consumed in the United States came from domestic U.S. supplies. Thanks to technological advances, the U.S. now has triple the amount of natural gas than was estimated in 1966, and 40 percent more than previously believed just a couple of years ago.
Approximately 1.3 million people are employed directly by the companies that drill, ship and supply natural gas to American consumers, with another 2.7 million Americans employed in supporting positions indirectly created by the development of America's domestic energy supplies. The combined economic impact of natural gas development, exploration, production and usage to the U.S. economy in 2008 was $385.5 billion.