President-elect Barack Obama’s selection of Chicago-area Congressman Rahm Emanuel may be good news for the natural gas industry, which has been promoting expanded use of the cleaner-burning fuel.
Emanuel co-sponsored legislation with Rep. Dan Boren, D-Muskogee, this year to use tax credits and mandates to get more natural gas vehicles on the road.
A powerful House Democratic leader, Emanuel included the natural gas provisions in a broad energy bill that passed the House in September. The bill didn’t get through the Senate.
Emanuel also appeared at a Washington news conference earlier this year with Boren and Chesapeake Energy CEO Aubrey McClendon to promote natural gas usage.
Emanuel has an Oklahoma Republican friend in Rep. Tom Cole. The two are political pros and there’s a lot of mutual respect there.
I did a piece on Cole three years ago and called Emanuel’s office to see if I could get a quote from him. His press staff was amazingly helpful (believe me, that’s not always the case with Capitol Hill press people who don’t work for the Oklahoma lawmakers) and got Emanuel to call me from a plane to meet my deadline.
Emanuel told me that he and Cole share almost no similarities in ideology but that they did share a sense of public service as a noble profession that carries immense responsibility.
“Even though you have the party divide, the partisan divide, I consider him a friend,” Emanuel said then. “He’s a man of his word, I think, someone who will level with you and be honest with you.”