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GLIN==> Northeast-Midwest Weekly Update -- 14 February 2000



COALITIONS ADDRESS SOARING FUEL COSTS
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        Heating oil prices in the region have soared since early January from 73 cents per gallon to $1.41 per gallon.  Scores of distributors have gone out of business, and thousands of families are being forced to choose between food and fuel.

        On February 8, fourteen senators of the Northeast_Midwest Senate Coalition asked President Clinton to release immediately $200 million in emergency LIHEAP (Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program) funding.  Senator Jim Jeffords (R-VT), Coalition co_chair, followed up with a telephone call to the president on February 10.  President Clinton subsequently reported the release of $130 million in emergency LIHEAP funding to all U.S. states and territories.  About two-thirds of the emergency allocation was directed to the Northeast and Midwest, which face cold weather and skyrocketing fuel costs.

        Senators Christopher Dodd (D-CT), Joseph Lieberman (D-CT), Olympia Snowe (R-ME), Jim Jeffords, Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ), Jack Reed (R-RI), and Patrick Leahy (D-VT) last week introduced the Home Heating Oil Price Stability Act (S. 2047), which would create a regional heating oil reserve.  The proposed reserve would be available for use when U.S. fuel prices rose sharply because of anticompetitive activity, during a fuel oil shortage, or in periods of extreme winter weather.  Energy Secretary Bill Richardson subsequently met with the regionís delegation members and agreed to consider a regional oil reserve.

        Senators John Kerry (D-MA), Lautenberg, Jeffords, and Lieberman also introduced the Home Heating Readiness Report Act (S. 2072), requiring the U.S. Department of Energy to report to Congress each year on the ability of the heating oil and propane industries to provide affordable energy to consumers in the winter months.  The legislation, which will be introduced in the House by Rep. Jim McGovern (D-MA), would require the department to recommend steps that federal, state and local governments and the industries could take to avoid price spikes.  Unfortunately, the Energy Information Administration over the past few years has cut by 50 percent its capacity to provide quality state-by-state data associated with oil markets.

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


JOB OPENING:  RURAL DEVELOPMENT ANALYST
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        The Northeast-Midwest Institute is looking for a policy analyst to help focus on trade and transportation trends in the Upper Midwest.  Working with a transportation expert, the analyst will pay particular attention to agriculture, manufacturing trade, and rural development.

        The Northeast-Midwest Institute has launched this three-year project with the Northern Great Plains Initiative for Rural Development (NGPIRD).  The project will forecast regional, national, and international trends in commodity agriculture, food production and consumption, and manufacturing that may hinder or offer economic opportunities for the region. This information will be correlated with trends in the transportation sector in order to make recommendations regarding the regionís infrastructure investments and trade and transportation policy.

        Applicants should have several years of experience with agriculture and trade issues, as well as a detailed understanding of economic development strategies.  Quality writing and speaking skills are essential, and the policy analyst should have the ability to work well with diverse interest groups.

        The Northeast-Midwest Institute is an equal opportunity employer.  The positionís annual salary will be $45,000.  A comprehensive benefits package is provided.

        Rather than call, please send a resume and writing sample to Dick Munson at the Northeast-Midwest Institute (218 D Street, SE, Washington, DC 20003), (fax:  202/544-0043), or (e-mail:  dickmunson@nemw.org).