A riddle, a rant, and the virtues of natural gas

The Natural Gas Act is the most pragmatic legislation before Congress in decades.

By , Guest blogger

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    Buses powered by liquefied natural gas line up in Santa Monica, Calif. The Natural Gas Act now before Congress would expand such fleets, reducing US reliance on foreign oil.
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Here's a riddle:

What's the most pragmatic, pro-American, pro-jobs, bipartisan, economically feasible, environmentally-sound piece of legislation before congress right now?

If you said Health Care, go stick your head in an oven...its the Natural Gas Act aka HR 1835!

Recommended: Could you pass a US citizenship test?

and now for my rant:

The Nat Gas Act is essentially the most intelligent thing that's come before our elected officials in decades. It is a bill that will stimulate the conversion and new building of heavy vehicle fleets that run on our most abundant and clean-burning fuel, natural gas. Think city buses, 18-wheelers, sanitation trucks, etc. The legislation will provide tax credits and subsidies to help facilitate the necessary infrastructure build-out and lead to networks of nat gas fueling stations, eliminating the principal roadblock toward an energy-independent future.

The technology for natural gas engines is already a commercialized success story, go ask joint venture partners Westport Innovations ($WPRT) and Cummins Inc ($CMI). The trucks and buses running on the Westport/Cummins nat gas engines must be fueled at a centralized depot location, however, due to the lack of nat gas fueling locations elsewhere. Companies like Clean Energy Fuels Corp ($CLNE) may become instrumental in the spread of nat gas stations should 1835 pass.

We send approximately $700 billion a year to nasty parts of the world for energy and about 70% of what we consume comes from elsewhere. In the meanwhile, we are the best in the world at extracting and moving natural gas and we have so much of it that we've run out of places to store it. HR 1835 would put an end to this madness and put hundreds of thousands of people to work immediately across the nation.

And here's the best part - almost everyone, from the most liberal to the most conservative pols have found something to like about it, the bill has around 130 co-sponsors.

With all of this potential, I'd say that no one should be discussing anything but the Nat Gas Act. There's been no progress on the issue since last April while instead, pols have chosen to screw around with this health care canard. Get a clue, guys, we could kill about 5 birds with one stone here.

Supposedly, there is a May 31st vote expected on HR 1835. Most Americans in the know are keeping their fingers crossed while my trader and investor colleagues are compiling their lists of stock and ETF ideas to play the buzz. There are no shortage of beneficiaries should this thing go through, so I plan to get down to business on my own homework.

Here are some links to learn more...

New Alternative Transportation to Give Americans Solutions Act of 2009 (Govtrack)

T. Boone Pickens: Turn Up The Heat On NAT GAS (Huffington Post)

H.R. 1835 - Legislation for Natural Gas Transportation (Seeking Alpha)

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