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House Republicans eyeing new rules for the use of natural gas

Thomas Kienzle/AP
FILE - In this Jan. 11, 2006 file photo, a gas-lit flame burns on a natural gas stove. (AP Photo/Thomas Kienzle, File)

Now that Republicans are in control of the House of Delegates, they're taking a different approach to environmental issues. That includes potential new rules around natural gas.

Now they're cooking with gas -- or at least the new House Republican majority wants to make sure people in Virginia have the option of cooking with gas.

"Natural gas is clean," says House Majority Leader Terry Kilgore. He has a bill that would prohibit local governments from denying building permits because the developer wants to use natural gas.

"You've got all this infrastructure that's being placed in to get natural gas to businesses, to consumers. Then all that stuff is going to have to be pulled out," Kilgore explains. "That seems like a big cost to consumers and to those companies that actually made those investments."

Delegate Mark Keam is a Democrat from Fairfax County who says Republicans are being inconsistent.

"My friends on the other side of the aisle are complaining about how Democrats want to put a moratorium on fossil fuel products and projects," Keam says. "But they're now putting a moratorium on local governments that want to ban fossil fuel products. And so which is it? Which moratorium do they care about?"

The debate over how much of Virginia's energy comes from fossil fuels is emerging as a major point of disagreement between the new House Republican majority and Senate Democrats who are in control of the other chamber
This report, provided by Virginia Public Radio, was made possible with support from the Virginia Education Association.

Michael Pope is an author and journalist who lives in Old Town Alexandria.