Will the NAT GAS Act Pass?


One particular piece of energy legislation, the NAT GAS Act, will likely be the subject of much debate when Congress reconvenes next month.

The NAT GAS Act -- known in more formal circles as the New Alternative Transportation to Give Americans Solutions Act -- provides tax incentives to encourage the use of natural gas as a transportation fuel. Many believe the legislation will pass given the sizable position taken by some notable investors in natural gas transportation stocks.

Big bets on nat gas
The bill's main proponent, T. Boone Pickens, owns a 41% stake in natural gas station provider Clean Energy Fuels (NAS: CLNE) . Pickens also holds nearly 2 million shares of SandRidge Energy (NYS: SD) and nearly 900,000 shares of Chesapeake Energy (NYS: CHK) . Those two companies explore for natural gas and will greatly benefit if natural gas becomes a popular transportation fuel.

George Soros is another big-time investor betting big on natural gas transportation. Through his hedge fund, Soros holds more than 5 million shares in natural gas parts supplier Westport Innovations (NAS: WPRT) . Earlier this year, Soros increased his position by 22%, which has fueled speculation about positive developments relating to the NAT GAS Act.

The politics of nat gas
Despite the big bets being placed on the NAT GAS Act, many believe the bill remains a long shot. The legislation has come under heavy scrutiny recently by some right-leaning think tanks claiming it's nothing more than crony capitalism. Pressure from these groups has led to 13 of the bill's 186 co-sponsors pulling their support for the legislation.

In addition, the process used to extract natural gas, known as fracking, is a favorite target of environmentalists. Many greenies prefer electric vehicles, despite the fact that natural gas will likely be used to charge the batteries that power the electric vehicles.

The bottom line
The NAT GAS Act has impressive bipartisan support and the nation is in desperate need of the jobs the bill could create. However, I believe the bill will ultimately be sacrificed at the altar of spending cuts. I welcome your thoughts. Please scroll down to the comments section and let your fellow Fools know what you think.

At the time thisarticle was published Fool contributorAdam J. Crawforddoes not own shares of any company mentioned in this article.Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Chesapeake Energy and Westport Innovations. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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