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Rep. Capuano Joins Colleagues on Capitol Hill in Urging Action on Heating Oil

September 19, 2000 -- Today U.S. Rep. Mike Capuano joined other members of Congress in urging President Clinton and Members of relevant Appropriations Committees to take immediate action in addressing the looming energy crisis before cold weather sets in.

"We remember all too well the difficulties faced by many Americans in heating their homes last year. Let's take action now, before temperatures drop," stated Rep. Mike Capuano.

Rep. Capuano and his colleagues called on the President to immediately release $400 million in emergency Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) funding. When emergency funding was released last year, it took time for eligible households to actually receive the funds. Releasing the funds in anticipation of the winter months will give low-income households the time to prepare for a cold snap.

Members of Congress also urged President Clinton today to immediately swap crude oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) with the oil industry. Many industry analysts believe that this could stabilize prices and encourage the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) to increase production. President Clinton was also called on to demand that OPEC as well as other major foreign suppliers increase production of both crude oil and home heating oil exported to the United States.

Additionally, Rep. Capuano and his colleagues urged members of relevant Appropriations Committees to increase funding for the LIHEAP program and to increase funding for energy efficient and renewable energy investments in the current FY 2001 budget.

"Home heating oil prices skyrocketed last year and the outlook for lower prices this year is bleak. In fact, heating oil inventories are at historically low levels and prices are expected to rise again this winter. Further underscoring the urgency of the situation, natural gas prices have increased by 40-50% over the past year and gasoline prices remain high. Clearly we must take action now to address the situation. Our suggestions are certainly not the only avenues we should pursue but they are important steps in the right direction. Let's act now before the days shorten and the temperature dips below freezing," stated Rep. Capuano.