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For Release — September 21, 2011

Business Council Elects Smith New Board Chair, Officers and Directors

ALBANY— The Business Council of New York State's Board of Directors has elected David F. Smith, Chairman and CEO of National Fuel Gas Company Company (NYSE: NFG) as chair of the Council's Board of Directors for the year ahead.

“David Smith's leadership skills and his experience in the energy industry will be a huge asset to The Business Council. Energy issues are very important to our members and the state of New York. We are very grateful that he is willing to serve the Council in this important role,” said Heather Briccetti, acting-president and CEO of The Business Council.

“As the incoming chair of The Business Council, l look forward to advancing its mission of developing a healthier business climate that generates economic growth and stronger communities across New York State for both large and small businesses,” said David F. Smith, Chairman & CEO of National Fuel Gas Company and incoming Chairman of The Business Council.

“During the last year both Governor Cuomo and the New York State Legislature have generated momentum to improve the state's fiscal condition in an effort to make it more business friendly. As a good deal of work remains, I look forward to working towards this common goal with The Business Council's team.

“I would like to commend outgoing Council Chair Kevin Burke for his years of leadership and Acting Council President Heather Briccetti and her team for their focused approach, setting the Council's agenda of reform priorities necessary for New York to improve its competitive advantage. The Business Council has been highly effective in working collaboratively with businesses all across New York State, including the development of strong representation by many major organizations from my corporate home of the Buffalo Niagara region. This inclusive and collaborative approach has provided value to Business Council members and has strengthened the voice of Business in New York State.”

Smith, who joined National Fuel in 1978, was elected to the position of Chairman of the Board of Directors in March 2010. Prior to that, he had been President since 2006. In 2007, he was elected to the Company's Board of Directors and in 2008 he was named Chief Executive Officer. Smith has also served as President of National Fuel Gas Supply Corporation, National Fuel Gas Distribution Corporation, Empire Pipeline, Inc., and National Fuel Resources, Inc.   

In addition to The Business Council, Smith serves on the Board of Directors of the following organizations: Buffalo Niagara Enterprise (Immediate Past Chairman), Buffalo Niagara Partnership (Executive Committee), American Gas Association (Executive Committee), American Gas Foundation, Gas Technology Institute (Executive Committee) and University of Buffalo Law School Dean's Advisory Council.

Smith, a Buffalo native, is a 1974 graduate of the State University of New York at Fredonia with a bachelor's degree in political science. He received his juris doctorate in 1978 from the State University of New York at Buffalo School of Law.

B. Reuben Auspitz, Vice Chairman and Executive Vice President of Manning & Napier Advisors, Inc.; William E. Brown, Market President, Citibank-New York City; and Michael J. Masse, Senior Vice President of municipal banking/commercial banking and Regional District Executive for Central New York at HSBC Bank USA, N.A. were elected by The Business Council's membership at its annual meeting on Thursday morning.

The board also re-elected Paul S. Speranza, Vice Chairman, General Counsel and Secretary of Rochester's Wegmans Food Markets, Inc, as the Board's Treasurer and Vice Chairman for finance. David Klein, CEO of the Rochester-based Excellus, was re-elected Secretary.

David Smith and Heather Briccetti will hold press availability to outline the priorities for The Business Council in 2012 at The Sagamore Conference Center at 5:00 p.m. on Thursday September 22.

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