Natural gas is a clean, affordable and reliable energy source for Americans

September 29, 2023

Originally published in The Hill. Written by REP. DAN NEWHOUSE (R-WASH.) AND KAREN HARBERT, OPINION CONTRIBUTORS

This week, we’re celebrating National Clean Energy Week, a time when we highlight different forms of clean energy that play a crucial role in in helping achieve our nation’s energy and environmental goals. The United States is a world leader in clean energy technology, jobs and in reducing carbon emissions. Natural gas is key to making this leadership possible.

Natural gas is an affordable and reliable part of our nation’s energy supply, used by more than 180 million Americans and over 5.5 million businesses, both large and small. It accounts for nearly one-third of our country’s energy supply and, importantly, the United States has abundant reserves of natural gas both on- and offshore, strengthening our energy security—a stark contrast to countries that have turned their backs on natural gas, leaving them vulnerable to global chaos and volatile prices.

Here at home, Americans expect reliable and affordable energy. Natural gas provides just that, ensuring customers have access to the energy they need when they need it, and providing unmatched reliability during extreme weather events. Natural gas appliances are at the center of many American households—fueling family meals, warm showers and comfortable homes. As we close the door on a summer with record-breaking heat across the country, reliable natural gas generated power that kept air conditioning on through even the worst heatwaves, literally saving lives. And as we head into a cold winter ahead, the heat that natural gas provides will undoubtedly do the same, keeping people warm on the coldest of days. Winter has long been considered the peak season for natural gas use. And over the past 12 months that was confirmed, while at the same time seeing a new record for summer usage. Dec. 23, 2022 and July 27, 2023 both broke records, making natural gas the key energy for keeping both heat and air conditioning on when needed most.

Through investments in energy efficiency and advanced technologies, the focus on innovation has enabled America to meet the growing demand for energy while simultaneously driving down carbon emissions. The natural gas industry has reduced emissions from the natural gas distribution system by 70 percent since 1990 and use of the fuel has resulted in 60 percent reductions of all emissions in the power sector, and the effort does not stop there. Today’s energy utilities are committed to advancing and deploying low-carbon fuels like hydrogen and renewable natural gas captured on America’s farms and landfills, and accelerating the deployment of gas energy efficiency technologies. Given these advances, as well as the industry’s demonstrated strong record of reliability, it is undeniable that natural gas and our existing 2.7 million miles of pipeline infrastructure have an essential role to play in our nation’s energy future.

The natural gas industry is a job creator across the nation in urban centers and rural communities. Over 4 million Americans are employed in the natural gas industry, providing family-sustaining jobs and bright careers that help support our nation and the world. The natural gas industry touches every aspect of our economy, from farmers to local diners to the medications so many Americans depend on every day. This fuel helps homeowners and small businesses alike keep energy bills affordable, in turn allowing them to invest in education and hiring new employees, ultimately benefiting countless industries, communities and individuals.

We cannot let the energy and environmental discussion in our country occur without the recognition of the benefits of our significant energy abundance and the practical, affordable and efficient pathways to a decarbonized future. The Congressional Western Caucus, a bipartisan group of more than 100 members in the House of Representatives, is committed to supporting the American natural gas industry as they work to ensure Americans continue to have uninterrupted access to affordable and reliable energy.

To meet our nation’s energy and environmental goals and help ensure Americans have the energy they need, natural gas must remain a key part of our energy mix. We will continue to fight against government overreach and ensure that clean natural gas continues to thrive so American families can thrive.