Iowa Congressman Tom Latham has been chosen for a panel that’s assigned to study the shortage of natural gas this year, and the resulting high prices that analysts have said will persist into the heating season. Latham says it’s already an urgent matter, and the committee’s going to look at the causes of the natural gas shortage and the impact it’ll have on the economy, as well as finding short- and long-term solutions. Latham says it’s a problem that’s important to Iowa as farmers depend on natural gas for producing and drying crops, and the elderly face the cost of winter heating. Latham says Congress has to act quickly. The committee will look at all options. Increasing production could be one, or looking at regulations that hinder drilling for natural gas in the U-S where Latham says it’s abundant but hard to get at. Latham says everything will be on the table as they look for solutions, from conservation and alternative energy sources to increasing imports, though he says we’re already heavily dependent on imported fuel. The panel has 80 days to make up its report including suggestions for solving the natural-gas crisis.
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