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GLIN==> Northeast-Midwest Weekly Update -- 21 February 2000



COALITIONS ADDRESS OIL CRISIS
-----------------------------
      In response to another letter from 14 members of the Northeast-
Midwest Senate Coalition, the Clinton Administration last week
released an additional $120 million in emergency Low Income Home
Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) money.  This allocation brings to
$300 million the amount of funding made available to offset
skyrocketing fuel-oil prices and cold weather.  The president also
announced that he will request an additional $600 million in a
supplemental appropriation bill for emergency LIHEAP funds.

      Other actions being initiated by Coalition senators to address
the region's fuel crisis are:

      * Pushing refiners to boost oil production.
      * Requesting that the Department of Energy establish a plan to
        develop reserves for home heating oil in the Northeast.
      * Urging President Clinton to release Strategic Petroleum
        Reserve oil.
      * Requiring the 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.

      Senators Daniel Patrick Moynihan (D-NY) and Jim Jeffords (R-VT),
co-chairs of the Northeast-Midwest Senate Coalition, are circulating a
letter to the National Petroleum Refiners Association expressing
concern that actions to increase heating oil production were not
initiated sooner.  The letter states, "As you know, legislation is
being considered to create a regional product reserve and implement
more aggressive oversight of the fuel industry.  We would welcome your
suggestions on ways to avoid the costly and hazardous implications of
future fuel shortages and price volatility."

      Senators Christopher Dodd (D-CT), Joseph Lieberman (D-CT) and
several other northeastern lawmakers have 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 rise sharply because of anticompetitive
activity, during a fuel oil shortage, or in periods of extreme winter
weather.

      The Northeast-Midwest Coalition in mid January asked the
president to release oil immediately from the Strategic Petroleum
Reserve (SPR) in order to relieve the low inventory problems that
create fuel price spikes.  If the president had initiated the action
then, the time lag that is often discussed with regard to a SPR
release would not be an issue now.  Senators Susan Collins (R-ME) and
Charles Schumer (D-NY) introduced the Oil Price Safeguard Act
(S.1951), which would grant the president more flexibility in using
the Strategic Petroleum Reserve to protect American consumers.

      Senator John Kerry (D-MA) and several regional senators also have
introduced the Home Heating Readiness Report Act (S. 2072), requiring
the U.S. Department of Energy to recommend steps that government and
industry could take to avoid price spikes.

      Information on fuel prices and emergency LIHEAP allocations are
available on the Northeast-Midwest Institute's web site at
www.nemw.org/data/htm#energy.

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


CORPS NAVIGATION STUDY QUESTIONED
---------------------------------
      The Washington Post last week printed a major story highlighting
accusations of distortion by the Army Corps of Engineers associated
with its study of navigation needs on the Upper Mississippi and
Illinois Rivers.  The story detailed charges that Corps officials
doctored economic forecasts in order to justify major navigation
improvements to locks and dams.  Subsequent to the article's release,
the Secretary of the Army called for a thorough review, and the
chairmen of relevant congressional committees announced hearings and
oversight.

      The Northeast-Midwest Institute addressed these issues at a
December 1999 workshop at which a team of independent economists took
testimony about the navigation study's assumptions and analysis from
the Corps, navigation industry representatives, and environmentalists.
The Institute-assembled economists  from Yale University, University
of Illinois, and Washington University in St. Louis  are in the
process of analyzing the material presented at the workshop and
provided subsequently by the participants.  The report, expected in
the next several weeks, should help Army and congressional reviews of
this controversy.

      Contact:  George Dusenbury at the Northeast-Midwest Institute
(544-5200).


JOB OPENING:  RURAL DEVELOPMENT ANALYST
---------------------------------------
      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 region's 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 position's 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 (mailto:
dickmunson@nemw.org).

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