Farenthold jumps off natural gas bill bandwagon

Rep. Blake Farenthold, R-Corpus Christi, joined 13 other Republicans this week who removed their names as co-sponsors of natural gas legislation.

The New Alternative Transportation to Give Americans Solutions Act of 2011 would amend IRS codes to encourage alternative energy investments and natural gas powered vehicles.  It is championed by billionaire Texas oilman T. Boone Pickens.

Farenthold said he still supports natural gas as an energy resource, but wants to see its use encouraged in a more efficient way.

“While I believe natural gas vehicles are a great solution to high gasoline prices, the government doesn’t need to be picking winners and losers in the energy game, Farenthold said.

Senators Richard Burr, R-N.C. and Robert Menendez, D-N.J, introduced their version of the earmark bill this week.

While lobbying groups have been voicing their concerns with the bill, the legislation still has a impressive number of supporters topping 180.

Four Republicans who had signed on as cosponsors of the act act withdrew their backing in May, as conservative groups such as the Club for Growth and Americans for Tax Reform stepped up campaigns against the legislation.

The Republican lawmakers who also removed their names as cosponsors this round include, Reps. Steve Pearce, N.M., Todd Akin, Mo., Glenn Thompson, Pa. , Tim Griffin, Ark., Cory Gardner, Colo., Scott Tipton, Colo., Mike Coffman, Colo., Larry Bucshon, Ind., John Kline, Minn., Mike Kelly, Pa., Scott Rigell, Va., Richard Nugent, Fla., and Joseph Pitts, Pa.