US House to lose major natural gas advocate

US Rep. John E. Peterson (R-Pa.), one of the House's strongest advocates for expanding gas production from the OCS, announced on Jan. 3 that he won't run for reelection in 2008.

Jan 4th, 2008

Nick Snow
Washington Editor

WASHINGTON, DC, Jan. 4 -- US Rep. John E. Peterson (R-Pa.), one of the House's strongest advocates for expanding natural gas production from the Outer Continental Shelf, announced on Jan. 3 that he won't run for reelection in 2008.

Peterson, who plans to serve out his term, said that "a few chronic, nonthreatening health issues have to be addressed at home, requiring me to devote more time to my family, time and presence which would not be possible if I sought reelection."

While his initial impact after being elected to his first House term in 1996 was in securing services for rural Americans, Peterson defied conventional wisdom in early 2005 when he gave a floor speech urging an end to federal OCS leasing bans that had been in place for more than a decade.

He and Rep. Neil Abercrombie (D-Hi.) cosponsored bills in 2006 and 2007 to lift the moratoria, dedicate fixed portions of resulting federal royalties to environmental restoration projects and renewable energy research, and share part of those royalties with producing states feeling the impacts.

Minority Whip Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) noted that when he and Peterson arrived to begin their first terms in January 1997, crude oil cost $23/bbl, gasoline cost $1.25/gal and natural gas cost about $2/Mcf.

"More than a decade later, with oil in triple-digits and American manufacturers being forced overseas by spiraling natural gas costs, John's message of responsible energy development may be more relevant and important today than ever before," Blunt continued.

Before his election to the US House, Peterson was a Pennsylvania state senator during 1985-96, a member of the state's house in 1977-84, and a Pleasantville Borough Council member for the decade 1969-76.

Contact Nick Snow at nicks@pennwell.com.

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