House Natural Gas Task Force to meet at Penn State

August 06, 2003

Washington, D.C. -- House Speaker Dennis Hastert's Task Force for Affordable Natural Gas has agreed to hold its first public field meeting at 10 a.m. Friday, Aug. 8, in the Founders Lounge of The Bryce Jordan Center on Penn State's University Park campus.

U.S. Rep. John Peterson (R-5th), who is one of 18 members appointed to the task force, requested the public meeting as part of his ongoing efforts to address the looming natural gas affordability crisis. The task force has been charged with identifying the causes of today's natural gas shortage, the impact of natural gas prices on the American economy and short- and long-term plans to encourage a stable supply of natural gas to ease prices. This public hearing begins a series of nationwide fact-finding meetings to be held in August and September. The panel must report back to Hastert by Sept. 30.

"We rely on natural gas as a clean, efficient energy source to heat our homes, operate local companies and manufacturing firms, and even fuel parts of our transportation system," said Peterson. "If we don't address the natural gas cost crisis, companies that have not pre-purchased natural gas will be forced to close, many low-income families and seniors on a fixed income will not be able to heat and cool their homes, and there will be serious consequences for our nation's economy. I am pleased that House leaders have agreed to take a hard look at our nation's natural gas supply, and I look forward to working with my fellow task force members to find real solutions to this crisis that will lead to long-term energy stability and a stronger economy."

According to Resources Committee Chairman Richard Pombo, who serves as co-chair of the task force, "Natural gas is integral to a safe environment and a sound economy. We have enough natural gas reserves to supply our needs for over 100 years. But we can't even deliver one year of affordable natural gas to American consumers right now. That is inexcusable, and I thank Congressman Peterson for his leadership as we search for solutions to this problem."

Peterson is a member of the House Resources Committee, as well as two appropriations subcommittees responsible for energy and natural resource issues.

Penn State is doing its part to find solutions. Whether it's a new use for an old fuel like Pennsylvania coal or a new fuel source like pork fat or soybean oil, The Energy Institute in Penn State's College of Earth and Mineral Sciences is hard at work developing clean, efficient sources of energy for industrial and home use as well as alternative fuels and by-products.

The Energy Institute is a leading research and development organization in the broad area of energy science and engineering and serves Penn State's commitment to Pennsylvania and to the nation. Improving conventional fuels like oil, gas and coal is one area of interest. Investigation of diesel fuels mixed with dimethyl ether or soy oil and sunflower oil as a lubricant are a few examples of unconventional solutions to the nation's energy needs under exploration at the Institute.

Energy by-products such as high quality carbon products derived from coal, activated carbon products derived from fruit or olive pits, also are a focus. Clean combustion and control of waste water and air products is a major concern and focus of research.

Three panels of Pennsylvanians are scheduled to address the task force on Friday. The members of the first panel are: Frances Leonard, residential customer, Jersey Shore; Ken Woodring, private citizen and church treasurer, Renovo; Bill Armstrong, business manager, Clearfield Area School District, Clearfield; Gordon McAleer, administrator, Lewistown Hospital, Lewistown; Hugh Mose, general manager, Centre Area Transportation Authority, State College; and Glen Thomas, commissioner, Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission, Harrisburg.

Members of the second panel are: Robbie M. Hyde, president and CEO of Mill Hall Clay Products Inc., Mill Hall; Lee Stitzinger, Brookville Wood Products, Brookville; Jack Schultz, Jersey Shore Steel Co., Jersey Shore; David Wurtman, supply and trading manager, United Refining Co., Warren; Gary Anderson, director of engineering, Keystone Powdered Metal Co., St. Marys; and Terry Jacobs, PENNECO Oil Co. (also representing Independent Oil and Gas Association of PA), Delmont.

Members of the third panel are: Gerry Tarzia, vice president and business unit director, Rohm and Haas, Philadelphia; Dennis Bailey, director of energy purchasing, PPG/Chlor-Alkali and Derivatives, Pittsburgh; Dean Schiller, OSRAM Sylvania, Wellsboro; and Terrence J. Murphy, vice president, external affairs, Columbia Gas of Pennsylvania, Pittsburgh.

Members of the media are encouraged to attend.

Last Updated March 20, 2009