Skip to main content

BPC Launches Working Group to Develop Policy Framework on the Role of Natural Gas in the Energy Transition

Washington, DC – The Bipartisan Policy Center today announced the formation of the Future of Natural Gas Policy Initiative, a group of experts from natural gas producers, utilities, clean power companies, former energy regulators, labor, and environmental organizations, to review and clarify the role that natural gas can play in the energy transition. In the group’s initial statement, the members agree they will seek to produce a pragmatic national policy agenda for natural gas that aligns economic, social, and environmental priorities over the coming year. 

Reliable and low-cost natural gas has underpinned a strong American economy and played a significant role in displacing higher-emitting coal power emissions. At the same time, there is an imperative to accelerate deep reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.  

“Natural gas has been incredibly valuable to America’s energy transition, given its unique compatibility with intermittent renewables and displacement of dirtier energy sources, but the industry is facing questions about its future role given its carbon emissions,” said Sasha Mackler, executive director of BPC’s Energy Program. “Getting a broad group of experts to work together on such a complex issue demonstrates that all sides want to get this energy transition right.” 

As policymakers and stakeholders grapple with these tensions over economic development, climate leadership, and energy security, BPC’s Future of Natural Gas Policy Initiative asks a critical question: 

Can enhancements in natural gas production, distribution, utilization, and export infrastructure be undertaken in the near/medium term in a manner that keeps energy supplies—domestically and internationally—affordable and secure while remaining consistent with climate policy goals that prioritize net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050? 

“The imperative to reach net-zero emissions by mid-century means that new carbon mitigation technologies must be applied to natural gas across its value chain to remain a key component of our energy system over the long term,” said Lesley Jantarasami, managing director of BPC’s Energy Program. “We are taking a hard look at how to design a natural gas policy framework that optimizes our ability to achieve a clean, secure, and low-cost energy system by 2050.” 

This diverse coalition of participants agree at a high level there exists a set of conditions that, if met, would allow an enhanced natural gas system in the United States to proceed in a manner that provides sufficient certainty to both the industry and its commercial partners as well as to stakeholders seeking assurance that the climate risks of continued natural gas development are managed and reduced to negligible levels over time. 

The group will focus on developing policy recommendations in six key areas: 

  1. Upstream value-chain emissions; 
  2. Natural gas infrastructure; 
  3. Deployment of decarbonized fuels; 
  4. The role of natural gas for export; 
  5. End-use emissions through energy efficiency and other end-user solutions such as carbon capture and storage; and 
  6. Support for domestic employment, union jobs, and workforce development in the natural gas sector. 

The initiative is a consensus-based effort that relies on principled, evidence-based deliberation and constructive compromise. As such, the members should be understood to be working towards support for an eventual set of policy recommendations as a package, but not necessarily every idea in isolation. The principal members of the BPC Future of Natural Gas Policy Initiative include: 

  • Maryam Brown, President, SoCalGas 
  • Ralph Cavanagh, Energy Co-Director, NRDC 
  • Neil Chatterjee, Former FERC Chairman 
  • Marty Durbin, Senior Vice President, US Chamber 
  • Jason Grumet, CEO, American Clean Power 
  • Jim Kerr, CEO, Southern Company Gas 
  • Yvonne McIntyre, Vice President, PG&E 
  • Rich Powell, CEO, ClearPath 
  • Toby Rice, President and CEO, EQT 
  • Conrad Schneider, Senior Director, U.S., Clean Air Task Force 
  • Rob Smith, Vice President of Regulatory Affairs, Cheniere 
  • Samantha Smith, Senior Advisor to the President, AFL-CIO 
  • Norm Szydlowski, BPC Advisor and Former CEO, Colonial Pipeline 
  • Jeff Wilson, Vice President of Public and Government Affairs, Devon
  • EPRI Director of Research and Development Jeffery Preece is serving as an independent technical advisor to the initiative. 


Read the Statement 

Read Next