Congressman Tom Latham is one of the 18-member House Task Force that issued a report this morning calling for tax and regulatory changes to help reduce problems in the natural gas industry. Latham says companies should get more latitude for exploration to find new sources of natural gas, and government red tape should be eliminated so construction and environmental permits could be granted more quickly. Latham says there should be a more focused emphasis on “alternative” fuels, too. Latham says wind power, biomass and solar power can help reduce the country’s reliance on natural gas. But the group’s main focus is boosting exploration. Latham says there are tremendous sources of natural gas in areas which haven’t been explored for a variety of reasons. Latham says Congress will try to do what it can to encourage companies to build new pipelines to transmit natural gas.The report issued by Latham and the other House Republicans can be found on the Web at: http://energycommerce.house.gov/naturalgastaskforce. Environmentalists criticize the report, saying environmentally-sensitive areas will be damaged or destroyed by energy exploration.