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Northeast-Midwest Weekly Update -- 1 March 1999



ENERGY EFFICIENCY AND ASSISTANCE 
--------------------------------
     The Northeast-Midwest Senate Coalition this week is circulating
letters supporting appropriations for several energy efficiency and
assistance programs.

     One letter to the Subcommittee on Interior Appropriations
highlights four Department of Energy initiatives:  Weatherization
Assistance Program (WAP), State Energy Program (SEP), Office of
Industrial Technologies (OIT), and Energy Information Administration
(EIA).  "In the wake of utility restructuring and welfare reform,"
states the letter, "the federal government's funding trend should
reflect our nation's commitment to energy efficiency, industry growth,
and self-sufficiency for low-income families."

     The letter to the Labor-HHS, and Education Subcommittee expresses
strong support for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program
(LIHEAP).  Past reductions in LIHEAP funding have driven states to
reduce benefit levels and/or severely restrict eligibility, even
though the eligible population has grown from 23 to 30 million during
the past decade.  LIHEAP is of particular benefit to low-income
families, senior citizens, and the disabled.

     CONTACT:  Cameron Taylor at the Northeast-Midwest Senate
Coalition (224-0606).


FEDERAL UTILITIES
-----------------
     Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan (D-NY), co-chair of the
Northeast-Midwest Senate Coalition, is encouraging senators to write
to the president about the need to restructure federal utilities when
the administration presents its plan to restructure the electric power
industry.  The Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) and Power Marketing
Administrations (PMAs), notes the letter, require dramatic reform.

     Administration officials claim that their proposed legislation,
unlike last year's submission, will include provisions addressing TVA
and PMAs.  But some rumors suggest, with the vice president hailing
from Tennessee, that the proposals will offer additional taxpayer
benefits rather than reforms.

     The Moynihan letter states:  "While we recognize that the
beneficiaries of federal power would like their subsidies to continue,
we urge you to create a level playing field in the emerging
electricity market."

     CONTACTS:  Melissa Carey with Senator Moynihan (224-4451) or
Cameron Taylor at the Northeast-Midwest Senate Coalition (224-0606).


SULFUR IN GASOLINE
------------------
     Three dozen House members -- led by Reps. Dale Kildee (D-MI),
Marty Meehan (D-MA), Rick Lazio (R-NY), John Dingell (D-MI), and Henry
Waxman (D-CA) --last week introduced the Clean Gasoline Act of 1999
that would require gasoline to contain a concentration of sulfur not
exceeding 40 parts per million per gallon, a standard California
already has in place. Reducing gasoline's sulfur content would result
in air quality benefits equivalent to removing more than 11 million
vehicles from the road in 17 of the nation's most heavily polluted
areas.

     Noting this potential emissions benefit, auto-makers,
environmental groups, and state and local air quality officials
strongly favor a low sulfur standard.  The House legislation is
identical to S. 171, introduced recently by Senator Daniel Patrick
Moynihan (D-NY), co-chair of the Northeast-Midwest Congressional
Coalition, and co-sponsored by 13 other senators.

     CONTACT:  Michael Gorges with Rep. Kildee (225-3611).


Posted on behalf of Glenn Starnes <gstarnes@nemw.org>