September 20, 2012 / 9:38 PM / in 5 years

House lawmaker seeks 30-year energy strategy after U.S. election

* Lee Terry eyes whether legislation needed to support natgas use

* Not opposed to natgas exports, supports short-term wind credit

By Roberta Rampton

WASHINGTON, Sept 20 (Reuters) - A House Republican lawmaker who helped shape the Congressional energy battle over the Keystone XL pipeline said that after the election he will promote a 30-year strategy to extend the boom in U.S. natural gas production.

Lee Terry, a senior member of the House Energy and Commerce committee, said he is looking at whether legislation is needed to spur development of natural gas.

“I think when we look at a comprehensive energy policy next year, natural gas may be the epicenter of that conversation,” Terry said in an interview.

Terry championed efforts in the Republican-led House of Representatives to override President Barack Obama’s decision to delay TransCanada Corp’s Keystone pipeline, which would transport oil from Canada to Texas.

After the Nov. 6 presidential election, Terry said he plans to push for a broad new energy plan, the shape of which is still to be determined.

“We’ve nibbled at the edges the past couple of years, mostly chasing (Environmental Protection Agency) rules and regulations, but I think whoever wins the presidency, we need to really sit down and have our 30-year strategy,” he said.

Next week, he is convening a meeting in his Omaha, Nebraska district with more than a dozen national groups involved in using natural gas for power, transportation, fertilizer, manufacturing and export.

The discussion will focus on whether legislation could help “make sure that the game-changing supply of natural gas is actually used,” or ease uncertainty about whether the federal government will impose new rules for hydraulic fracturing, Terry said.

After the election, the administration faces the thorny issue of whether to allow exports of liquefied natural gas. Some lawmakers have raised concerns that could increase costs for consumers and industry.

Terry said he wants to see the United States benefit most from its supplies of cheap natural gas, but is not opposed to exports.

“I think bringing foreign money into our country, selling our products, is actually economically healthy,” he said.

The fate of a $12 billion tax credit for wind energy plants will also be in play after the election. The measure is set to expire, and many Republicans are loathe to renew the subsidy.

Terry said he hopes to advocate for “middle ground” that would see new wind power installations eligible for the credit for a three- to five-year window to help them get established, but he said he was not sure whether that idea would meet with approval from his colleagues.

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