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GLIN==> Northeast-Midwest Weekly Update -- 7 November 2005






Weekly Update 7 November 2005




·         Call to Ban Exports of Refined Products for Home Heat

·         LIHEAP and Windfall Profits

·         Royalty-in-Kind Oil and Gas

·         Great Lakes Collaboration

·         New Delaware River Task Force

·         Conference on Land Development Breakthroughs

·         Combined Federal Campaign

Call to Ban Exports of Refined Products for Home Heat


On behalf of the Northeast-Midwest Senate Coalition, Senators Herbert Kohl (D-WI) and Susan Collins (R-ME) are seeking signatures on a letter asking CEOs of top oil companies to immediately cease exporting refined home heating product while there is a heating crisis in the U.S.   In the past seven months, U.S. oil companies and refiners have exported more than 48 million barrels of refined product that could be used for home heating purposes.  American consumers can expect to pay an average of $350 more this winter to heat their homes.  In 2000, then Energy Secretary Richardson worked directly with major refiners, many of whom then voluntarily halted exports of home heating oil products.  In a related matter, Senator Kohl will introduce companion legislation that would give the Energy Secretary emergency powers to temporarily halt unnecessary exports of refined home heating products in the face of an energy crisis.  For a copy of the letter or information on the legislation, contact Ari Strauss with the Northeast-Midwest Senate Coalition (202/224-0606).



LIHEAP and Windfall Profits

Senators Jack Reed (D-RI) and Susan Collins (R-ME), co-chairs of the Northeast-Midwest Senate Coalition, will offer an amendment to the tax reconciliation bill that would require big oil companies pay a tax on "windfall" profits and direct that the revenue fully fund the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) to help low-income families and seniors pay their heating bills this winter.  The Reed-Collins amendment would have oil companies contribute an additional $2.92 billion to LIHEAP through a windfall profit tax on the company’s record-high profits.  The amendment will increase funding for LIHEAP to $5.1 billion, the full amount authorized in the Energy Policy Act of 2005.  Oil company CEOs will be testifying this week about their record third-quarter profits before the joint Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee and Senate Commerce Committee. Contact:  Ari Strauss with the Northeast-Midwest Senate Coalition (202/224-0606).


Royalty In-Kind Oil and Gas

The Northeast-Midwest Congressional Coalition, led by co-chairs Reps. Steven LaTourette (R-OH) and Marty Meehan (D-MA), is requesting signatures for a letter asking Interior Secretary Gayle Norton to implement a provision in the National Energy Policy Act of 2005 that provides preference to low-income consumers when distributing royalty oil or gas.  The letter’s signature deadline is Thursday, November 11th.  Contact: Lisa Mark with the Northeast-Midwest Congressional Coalition (202) 226-5181.

The Northeast-Midwest Senate Coalition last week sent a similar letter, signed by 17 senators.   Such a pilot program would compliment rather than supplement LIHEAP.  Contact:  Ari Strauss with the Northeast-Midwest Senate Coalition (202/224-0606).

 Great Lakes Collaboration

More than 30 House and Senate members wrote to President Bush raising concerns over a recent administration report on Great Lakes Regional Collaboration, the partnership process being used to draft a Great Lakes restoration strategy. The letter says that "a serious consideration of the challenges faced in the Great Lakes region requires a commitment of federal resources," and it urged the president not to limit the Regional Collaboration by restricting restoration recommendations to current spending for the Great Lakes.  Contact: Joy Mulinex with the Great Lakes Task Force (202/ 224-1211).


New Delaware River Task Force


Reps. Mike Fitzpatrick (R-PA), Maurice Hinchey (D-NY), Jim Gerlach (R-PA), and Rush Holt (D-NJ), working cooperatively with the Northeast-Midwest Institute and the Delaware River Basin Commission, recently launched a reinvigorated Delaware River Basin Task Force.  According to Rep. Fitzpatrick, “Nearly 15 million people live along and rely upon the waters of the Delaware River.  Continued flooding and erosion along the river’s banks is a cause of great concern not only for property owners, but for the future of our region.  This task force will focus on solutions to these problems both legislatively as well as through the private sector.”  One of Task Force’s goals will be to promote the health and well-being of the entire watershed by organizing educational briefings, formulating joint responses to emergencies, coordinating legislative efforts, tracking legislation and the appropriations process, as well as promoting other initiatives beneficial to the Delaware River and the people and wildlife resources that depend on it.  Contact:  Dan Wrinn with the Northeast-Midwest Institute (202/464-4004).


Conference on Land Development Breakthroughs


The Institute’s Charles Bartsch will discuss financing brownfield cleanup and reuse at the “Land Development Breakthroughs – Best Practices” conference being held December 13-15 at the Washington Convention Center in Washington, D.C.  The conference homepage is http://www.ldbreakthroughs.com/main/index.php



Combined Federal Campaign


The Northeast-Midwest Institute – a non-profit, 501(c)(3) organization, financed by contributions from foundations, state governments, federal grants, and individuals – has been approved to participate in the Combined Federal Campaign (CFC), the nation’s largest workplace giving campaign.  If you are a federal government employee and would like to help support Institute's programs dedicated to issues affecting the Northeast-Midwest region, please enter CFC code #0851 on your pledge card during the annual fund drive. Thank you.



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