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Matheson supports incentive for natural gas exploration

Congressman Jim Matheson is cosponsoring bipartisan legislation targeted to increase domestic natural gas production from marginal and hard-to-reach sources.

The bill, HR 2899 would help decrease U.S. dependence on foreign oil, result in a cleaner environment and reduce energy costs for consumers.

"This legislation is in line with my belief that we need a balanced energy policy-more supply, more efficiency, and more research and development into new technologies," said Matheson. "This measure is a tool for stabilizing natural gas supplies and prices and is one step to expanding our domestic energy supply."

The legislation,introduced by Congressman Dennis Moore of Kansas,would extend a tax credit in section 29 of the tax code that provides an added incentive for producers of unconventional fuels to continue production.

These fuels, such as coalbed methane, tight sands gas and gas produced from Devonian Shale, would not be economically recoverable for producers in most areas without this incentive.

According to a study by the Gas Technology Institute, passage of section 29 led to a tripling in the production of "non-conventional" gas. That same study suggests that extending the credit (to 2009) could again be effective in expanding gas supply, moderating prices and ultimately saving consumers billions of dollars.

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