Speak Up On Gas Costs

The Agricultural Retailers Association (ARA) is urging retailers to weigh in on the latest natural gas issue.

According to ARA, retailers have the opportunity to urge Congress to authorize expanded natural gas exploration in the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) as the fight for lower natural gas prices begins to heat up. Rep. John E. Peterson (R-PA) plans to offer an OCS amendment to the 2009 Interior Appropriations bill today to the full House Appropriations Committee.

The amendment would authorize expanded natural gas exploration in the OCS. Exploration and recovery of natural gas from the OCS would increase supply and almost certainly bring down the current high natural gas prices, according to an ARA press release. The price of natural gas accounts for about 90 percent of the production costs of nitrogen fertilizer.

Since 2000, high natural gas prices have caused 26 domestic nitrogen fertilizer plants to shut down, forcing agricultural retailers and their grower-customers to rely on 55 percent of its nitrogen fertilizer supply to come from imports.

Natural gas prices continue to rise and the common sense solution is to begin exploratory efforts on the OCS and federal lands. ”With your help and a strong voice, this will help make America more energy independent and allow the nation to maintain a strong domestic agricultural industry, which produces the best quality food and fiber to feed and clothe the nation,” says ARA.

Visit www.congressweb.com to create a customized letter to your respective members of Congress. The letter will explain how important the exploration of OCS and other areas is to the price of natural gas and the effect it has on agricultural retailers, distributors, and growers. ARA also encourages a follow-up telephone call to your members of Congress via the Capitol Switchboard at 202-225-3121.

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