The Wall Street Journal reported today that high natural gas prices in the U.S. are wreaking havoc on the domestic chemical industry. “U.S. chemical companies are closing plants, laying off workers and looking to expand their own production abroad,” the Journal reported. “The higher cost of natural gas in the U.S. is hitting these manufacturers at the same time the weak economy damps demand for commodity chemicals.” This story provides further proof of Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan’s testimony on the dire state of natural gas markets and the future consequences for economic growth. Thus far, no word from Democrats or environmentalists–other than objecting to increasing natural gas supplies–on how to reverse this state of affairs.
FACT: Both, however, have supported and proposed legislation that would exacerbate the current crisis, and even harm the environment. According to 2001 testimony by Mary Hutzler, of the Energy Information Administration, the Clean Power Act (S. 366), which, like other Democratic-sponsored bills, caps carbon dioxide emissions, would increase natural gas prices 20 percent by 2020. An analysis by EPA pointed out that under S. 366, coal-fired power plants would have to be replaced by natural gas plants, placing further pressure on prices. Beyond the economics of the problem, because many companies would be forced to relocate overseas, often to developing countries, which have weak, and, in some cases, no environmental restrictions, Democrats and their green allies would undermine environmental protections. This, indeed, is the opinion of none other than the Sierra Club: “Poor nations are exacerbating enormous environmental problems.”