A group of energy companies — like, say, the natural gas industry — would never, ever mislead the public and politicians about how profitable it could be over the long-term. Obviously, we should just believe the natural gas industry's financial projections, which promise that any negative environmental impacts will be worth the jobs, the profits, and the energy security that come with the promised national gas boom.

That's basically been the stance of most legislators in Washington when it comes to natural gas. The picture the industry painted of huge supplies of low-carbon fuel proved really compelling. But now a few lawmakers are starting to worry that the government hasn't really looked into the reality of the situation. And they're asking agencies like the Security and Exchange Commission, the Energy Information Administration, and the Government Accountability Office to check up on the industry's claims about profitability and supply.

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These second-guesses, though, could be too little, too late:. States like New York are going to start developing their natural gas resources soon — well before slow-moving federal bureaucracies get around to uncovering any inconsistencies between gas companies' promises and reality.

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