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Rep. Tom Cole Appointed to Speaker's Task Force for Affordable Natural Gas

July 10, 2003
Press Release

Washington D.C. – To help ward off the potential natural gas crisis looming this fall and winter because of historically high prices and low inventories, Congressman Tom Cole, along with several of his colleagues, was appointed to a task force by U.S. House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-IL) to address this escalating problem. Congressman Cole joined other task force members in a press conference today announcing their goal to find ways to make natural gas more affordable to American families, farms and businesses.

"The House passed an Energy Bill earlier this year that aims to increase natural gas production because consumption is expected to increase by well over 50% in the next 20 years. The discrepancy between the rate of production and demand will leave 36% shortfall in our nation’s requirements for natural gas," Congressman Cole said.  

"The U.S. has plenty of untapped resources for natural gas. We must find a way to overcome government regulation and bureaucratic red tape so that we will not have to rely on foreign sources of oil. I look forward to working with my colleagues on a solution that will assure Americans affordable heat and businesses and farms affordable prices in natural gas," Congressman Cole said. 

With 60-million homes, businesses and industries dependent upon natural gas, Speaker Hastert asked the 18-Member panel to report back within 80 days, by September 30th, on three main areas of inquiry:

1.      The causes of today’s natural gas shortage;

2.      The impact of natural gas prices on the American economy; and,

3.      Short and long-term ideas to encourage a stable supply of natural gas to ease prices.

“I would hope the Task Force convenes hearings in Washington and throughout America in order to develop its findings which I want on my desk by September 30th.  The work of this 18-member panel is critical because we’ve witnessed time and time again how our nation’s economic prosperity depends upon the availability of abundant, affordable energy for all Americans,” Speaker Hastert said.

Speaker’s Task Force for Affordable Natural Gas


Mr. Billy Tauzin, LA (Energy & Commerce)

Mr. Richard Pombo, CA (Resources)


Mr. Joe Barton, TX (Energy & Commerce)

Ms. Barbara Cubin, WY (Resources)

Ms. Deborah Pryce, OH (House Republican Conference)


Mr. Bob Beauprez, CO (At-Large)

Mr. Henry Bonilla, TX (At-Large)

Ms. Mary Bono, CA (Energy & Commerce)

Mr. Chris Chocola, IN (At-Large)

Mr. Tom Cole, OK (Resources)

Mr. Tom Latham, IA (At-Large)

Mr. Butch Otter, ID (Energy & Commerce)

Mr. Steve Pearce, NM (Resources)

Mr. John Peterson, PA (Resources)

Mr. George Radanovich, CA (Energy & Commerce and Resources)

Mr. Rick Renzi, AZ (Resources)

Mr. John Shimkus, IL (Energy & Commerce)

Ms. Heather Wilson, NM (Energy & Commerce)