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GLIN==> Northeast-Midwest Weekly Update -- 28 February 2000



HARBOR MAINTENANCE TAX
----------------------
      The Northeast-Midwest Congressional Coalition on Monday, February
28, will host a briefing on the harbor maintenance tax.  Speakers will
include representatives of the General Accounting Office, U.S. Army
Corps of Engineers, American Association of Port Authorities, and
National Grain and Feed Association.

      The Supreme Court in 1996 ruled that part of the harbor
maintenance tax is unconstitutional.  The federal government responded
by ceasing to collect taxes on exports leaving U.S. harbors, but it
continued to collect taxes on imports.  The Supreme Court ruling, and
the administration's response, raise important questions that impact
all of our nation's ports, from Philadelphia and New York to Seattle,
Los Angeles, and the Great Lakes.

      The one-hour briefing will explore harbor maintenance tax issues
and various proposals for replacing the current system.  It will begin
on Monday, February 28, at 2:00 pm in room 121 of the Cannon House
Office Building.

      Contact:  George Dusenbury at the Northeast-Midwest Institute
(544-5200).  mailto:gdusenbury@nemw.org


FUEL OIL CRISIS
---------------
      Members of the Northeast-Midwest Congressional and Senate
Coalitions continue to press for relief from high energy prices.
Senators Daniel Patrick Moynihan (D-NY) and Jim Jeffords (R-VT), co-
chairs of the Senate Coalition, led a bipartisan letter asking the
president to examine the feasibility of establishing a system of swaps
whereby industry and government partner in transferring oil to and
from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) during periods of tight
fuel inventories.  That letter was signed also by Senators Patrick
Leahy (D-VT), Joseph Lieberman (D-CT), Charles Schumer (D-NY), Susan
Collins (R-ME), and Olympia Snowe (R-ME).

      Senate Coalition members, noting that refineries have been
operating at only 90-percent capacity, asked the National Petroleum
Refiners Association for suggestions on ways to avoid the costly and
hazardous implications of future fuel shortages and price volatility.

      Senators, led by Sens. Schumer and Collins, also asked the energy
secretary to inform oil ministers that unless OPEC and the other major
oil producers agree to increase production, the U.S. is prepared to
release oil from its SPR.

      Rep. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and a bipartisan group of northeastern
House members have introduced the Home Heating Oil Price Stability Act
(H.R. 3608) that would establish a fuel oil reserve in New York Harbor
containing 2 million barrels and a second reserve of 4.7 million
barrels in one of the four SPR caverns on the Gulf Coast.  The bill
also authorizes the president to draw down on this reserve in order to
counter rapid increases in fuel prices caused by anti-competitive
behavior, a fuel shortage, or extreme winter weather.  To cosponsor,
contact Warren Gunnels with Rep. Sanders (225-4115).

      Contact:  Cameron Taylor at the Northeast-Midwest Senate
Coalition (224-0606).  mailto:cameron_taylor@jeffords.senate.gov


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