Natural Gas—Competitor and Ally Amid ‘Electrify Everything’ Movement

The fight against the OSHA crane rule, the Jones Act, extending Alternative Fuel Tax Credits and the DRIVE Safe Act were big Propane Days topics. While Propane Days is an excellent venue for lobbying Congress about these types of issues, there remain plenty of issues that are being dealt with at the state and local level that don’t get the billing the Propane Days topics do. Jeff Petrash, National Propane Gas Association (NPGA) vice president and general counsel, deals with many of these issues daily. Petrash missed Propane Days to attend a panel discussion on the movement to “Electrify Everything.” There have also been two webinars and two white papers recently presented on the subject.

“Very soon the ‘Electrify Everything’ movement will be challenged by counter arguments from the American Gas Association,” Petrash said. “It will be pointed out that propane and natural gas have one-half the carbon footprint of an electric water heater and gas is 50 percent cleaner than electric. It will be pointed out that the electric infrastructure will need to double in size to support the demand that may be there. The battle is about to begin. We’ll still be challenging natural gas, especially in the area of subsidized expansion, but at the same time, we’ll be working with them to promote the cleaner nature of propane and natural gas versus electricity!”

Petrash continues to play a key role in challenging subsidized natural gas expansion, with the latest challenges coming in Pennsylvania, Utah, Colorado, and again in Maryland, where Washington Gas Light has made three attempts to gain approval through both the legislature and the Public Service Commission. He believes it is very important that the legal objections from the propane industry always be documented and aggressively touted to all decision makers on the issue of subsidized natural gas expansion.

Could the natural gas industry working more closely with NPGA in the fight against the “Electrify Everything” movement also help us in the fight against subsidized natural gas expansion? “It may help to the extent that we will have more regular communication. They will know as well as ever our objections regarding subsidized natural gas. Whether it helps will remain to be seen, but it won’t change our approach. Whenever we see a natural gas subsidized expansion challenge in any state across the country, we will be there lobbying against it with all allies we can find,” Petrash explained.