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Statement on Signing the Natural Gas Wellhead Decontrol Act of 1989

July 26, 1989

Today I am very pleased to sign into law H.R. 1722, the "Natural Gas Decontrol Act of 1989." This legislation represents the bipartisan achievement of this Administration's first major energy initiative -- the elimination of natural gas price controls. Through bipartisan cooperation, we have moved forward toward our goal of a more stable domestic energy future.

For 35 years producers and consumers of natural gas have struggled under a pervasive scheme of wellhead price regulation. This regulation was largely responsible for the damaging natural gas shortages of the 1970s and for the gas market distortions that exist even today. H.R. 1722 will eliminate the remaining natural gas wellhead price controls by January 1, 1993.

This measure reflects a strong bipartisan belief that eliminating price controls on natural gas will help this Nation take maximum advantage of our abundant reserves of clean-burning natural gas. Even at today's prices, the Department of Energy estimates that the United States has 35 years worth of natural gas supplies. With prices set by market forces and improvements in our ability to produce gas from unconventional sources, natural gas could help power this country for decades.

The complete deregulation of natural gas wellhead prices will allow natural gas to reach its fullest potential as a competitive domestic alternative to imports of oil from insecure sources. Natural gas can also play a larger role in our efforts to clean up our air and water. It burns much more cleanly than other fossil fuels, and its combustion produces little air or water pollution.

This long-overdue legislation is an important step in enhancing domestic energy supplies. I congratulate those of you in the Congress, on both sides of the aisle, who have worked so hard to bring this legislation to my desk.

George Bush

The White House,

July 26, 1989.

Note: H.R. 1722, approved July 26, was assigned Public Law No. 101 - 60.

George Bush, Statement on Signing the Natural Gas Wellhead Decontrol Act of 1989 Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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