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Morrisey urges Congress to fight gas, oil costs

CHARLESTON — West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey led a 19-state coalition urging Congress to reject burdensome legislation that would increase fees on energy producers and hit American consumers with even greater price hikes as heating bills surge this winter.

The coalition’s letter called on leadership for two U.S. Senate committees to oppose legislation that would charge oil and natural gas producers $1,500 to $1,800 per ton of methane emissions above certain thresholds.

The attorneys general cite data from industry experts showing that the more costly proposal could impose a cost of $14.4 billion and affect as many as 155,000 jobs.

“The proposed tax is neither necessary nor appropriate,” Morrisey wrote. “We support reasonable and lawful measures to reduce methane emissions. But a de facto tax administered through an onerous administrative regime is not that. We urge you to reject any methane tax and save American energy consumers from ever more painful price increases.”

The coalition notes that the competing fee proposals, one in the Senate and another in the House, come at a particularly tough time for consumers.

Its letter cites analysts who predict natural gas bills could be 30 percent higher this winter.

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