Mr. BLUMENAUER. I will just conclude. I appreciate my friend from Pennsylvania's observation. The point that I would make is that the companies that are distributing gas have tremendous fixed costs that they have to support regardless of the volume. This simply encourages them to be able to explore other alternatives for rate regulation. The cheapest gas supply is the Therm that's not used. I just don't want the regulatory system to penalize them for conservation. I appreciate his comments, I
appreciate his acceptance, and I look forward to more conversation about ways that we can help move this along.
Mr. PETERSON of Pennsylvania. As a retailer all my life, that's what a gas company is. They're a retailer. I sold food. They sell gas. And as their business decreases, their profits go down, but their pipeline system, their pumping stations and all of their costs remain the same. My hesitation is with the cleanest energy we have, why do we want to restrict the use of it, because there's no NO
X, no SO
X and a third of the CO
2. It seems like we ought to be more focused on making it affordable so that volumes remain constant and we don't have this problem.
Again, I thank the gentleman for yielding.
Mr. BLUMENAUER. I'm happy to yield to my friend and I'm happy to clarify that the intent of this amendment is not to increase or decrease; it's to avoid the disincentive to conserve. It's simple, and that's why I appreciate your accepting it.
Mr. Chairman, I yield back the balance of my time.