Washington, D.C.-Sen. James M. Inhofe (R-Okla.), chairman of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, released the following statement today in response to the Northeast's natural gas shortage:

"As brutally cold weather grips the Northeast, the consequences of restricting access to natural gas supplies, as Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan warned of last summer, have become strikingly apparent."

"Officials responsible for the New England power grid are warning of rolling blackouts. Some power generating facilities, according to news reports, are literally running out of natural gas. On Wednesday, natural gas prices rose to $74 on the spot market at the New York City gate. By comparison, the average natural gas price one week ago on the same market was $8 (an 825% increase). These prices can only hurt consumers, the poor, and the elderly, and may even threaten lives."

"Though there are no immediate solutions to the nation's natural gas crisis, we can take immediate action now to alleviate it. First, Congress must pass comprehensive energy legislation now stalled in the Senate. Second, Congress must reform the process for obtaining natural gas supplies. Through needless delay and litigation, extremist environmental groups for years have blocked access to natural gas. Finally, we must reject harmful Kyoto-style legislation, which would greatly exacerbate the existing crisis and threaten the economic recovery."