BSERVER January 29, 1982 A Journal of Free Voices 75 The Public has been FERCed Unnatural Acts With Natural Gas When President Reagan named industry lawyer Charles M. Butler III to head the Federal Energy Regulatory agency responsible for regulating natural gas pipelines, Washington humorists began saying the public had been FERCed. The pun is new, but the act itself is old and tiresome. Bob Sherrill is the Observer’s Washington correspondent. Natural gas consumers have been ferced regularly since 1969, when President Nixon packed FERC’s predecessor agency, the Federal Power Commission, with industry patsies. Thanks to their illegal “incentive pricing” \(rather than the up natural gas prices about 400 percent even before our great Democratic sellout Jimmy Carter pushed the Natural gress in 1978 with assistance even from a few such liberals as then-Congressman Bob Eckhardt of Houston. NGPA launched natural gas prices on a steady escalation that was supposed to culminate in 1985 with de-regulation of prices except for “old” gas gas discovered and brought into production in the days of relatively cheaper drilling. So today, thanks to the FPC and Carter and his friends in Congress, natural gas consumers are paying about 1,000 percent more than they would have paid at the start of the 1970s. We have been ferced again, and again, and again as FDR might say.