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GLIN==> Northeast-Midwest Weekly Update -- 7 January 2000



REGIONAL ANALYSIS OF THE PRESIDENT'S BUDGET
-------------------------------------------
      The Northeast-Midwest organizations on Monday, February 7, will
provide a quick review of how the president's proposed fiscal 2001
budget affects the Northeast and Midwest.  This annual report provides
an overview of the administration's recommendations, as well as more
detailed descriptions of key issues.  Where possible, the text will
highlight how the budget treats key regional programs.

      The document will be e-mailed (as an Adobe Acrobat PDF file
attachment) to all recipients of this WEEKLY UPDATE by 4:00 pm on
Monday, February 7.  A copy also will be posted on the Northeast-
Midwest Institute web site at:  http://www.nemw.org/budg2001.pdf.  The
Adobe Acrobat Reader program can be downloaded from Adobe Systems web
site at:  http://www.adobe.com.

      CONTACT:  Dick Munson at the Northeast-Midwest Institute (544-
5200).



ADDRESSING HIGH FUEL COSTS
--------------------------
      Northeast-Midwest Senate Coalition members continue to address
the combination of lower-than-normal temperatures and high fuel costs
plaguing the region.

      Senator Paul Wellstone (D-MN), for instance, secured $4.3 million
in Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) funds for
Minnesota.  In response to the senator's phone calls and letters to
the White House and federal agencies, the Clinton Administration made
available immediately LIHEAP funds that were not scheduled for release
until April.

      The Connecticut and Massachusetts congressional delegations have
both sent letters to the Administration urging action to counter
increases in fuel prices due to the Organization of Petroleum
Exporting Countries' (OPEC) supply quota strategy.

      Senator Joseph Lieberman (D-CT) last week wrote to Energy
Secretary Bill Richardson outlining four actions for consideration:
1) emergency meeting with major oil companies to encourage an
immediate increase in production of home heating oil; 2) urging our
major foreign suppliers to send additional supplies of crude oil and
home heating oil; 3) the release of oil from the Strategic Petroleum
Reserve (SPR); and 4) identifying near- and long-term policy measures
and investments in order to promote alternative sources of energy and
reduce our nation's dependence on foreign oil.

      Senators Charles Schumer (D-NY) and Susan Collins (R-ME) have
been joined by Senators Jim Jeffords (R-VT), Christopher Dodd (D-CT)
and Lieberman as co-sponsors of the Oil Price Safeguard Act (S. 1951),
which would allow the Secretary of Energy to release SPR oil if prices
rose significantly as a result of "anti-competitive" activity by
foreign producers.  On February 2, Senators Schumer and Collins held a
news conference on S.1951.

      On February 2, Senators Lieberman and Dodd requested that Energy
Secretary Richardson brief northeastern senators on the results of his
recent meetings abroad concerning the global production status of
crude oil and its effect on U.S. market prices.

      Last week, Senator John Kerry (D-MA) asked the Small Business
Administration (SBA) to provide oil distributors with access to
immediate short term loans to assist them through the fuel price
spike.  On February 3, SBA announced that it will start working with
SBA lenders and pertinent trade associations to raise awareness of the
loan programs helpful potentially helpful to home heating
distributors.  SBA is in the process of sending letters to over 100
banks asking them to facilitate loans.  For more information, call
Kevin Wheeler of Senator Kerry's staff in the Small Business Committee
at 224-8496.

      Senator Dodd is in the process of drafting legislation to create
a regional heating oil reserve.  For more information, call Sheila
Duffy at 224-2823.

      Senators Jeffords (R-VT) and Daniel Patrick Moynihan (D-NY), co-
chairs of the Northeast-Midwest Senate Coalition, and other regional
senators, will be sending a letter next week to the president
requesting additional emergency LIHEAP funding.  The senators are
particularly concerned about households who are at risk of falling
through the cracks due to the current fuel price situation.

      On February 4 Senator Lieberman wrote to Energy Secretary
Richardson requesting an immediate investigation into the prevalence
and use of interruptible natural gas contracts -- and their impact on
heating oil supply in New England -- and prompt steps to alleviate any
adverse consequences.

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

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