Gas Company Sets Sights on Washington

By Jim Snyder

Since opening for business in 1993, Chesapeake Energy has grown into a dominant player in the natural gas industry. Now the company is setting its sights on Washington.

In the process, it is making the traditional energy lobby, which tries hard to avoid infighting, nervous that the détente could be over.

Chesapeake’s push comes as Congress weighs global warming legislation, which could rearrange the country’s energy fuel mix.

The company is a charter member of the American Clean Skies Foundation, which will promote natural gas interests. The formation of a new coalition itself isn’t particularly newsworthy since several already exist. But Chesapeake’s CEO, Aubrey McClendon, who co-founded the company with $50,000, indicated in an interview with The Hill that the foundation would not be afraid to challenge Big Coal, despite that industry’s powerful backers on Capitol Hill.

“We will be an aggressive and forceful advocate of natural gas, and I should add, effective,” McClendon said.

The foundation will be run by Denise Bode, a member of the Oklahoma Corporation Commission with ties to Washington’s oil and gas lobby. Bode was once the president of the IPAA and is a former staffer to ex-Sen. David Boren (D-Okla.). Read more…

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