New England Delegation Calls for President Biden to Lower Energy Costs by Releasing Oil from Northeast Home Heating Oil ReserveSeptember 09, 2022
Senators’ Bipartisan Call Comes as New England Braces for Winter Amid High Energy Prices
(Washington, DC) – U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) joined Senator Maggie Hassan (D-NH) and all New England Senators in a bipartisan call for the Biden Administration to take action to lower energy costs for New Englanders as the winter season approaches and Americans continue to face high energy costs.
In the letter, the Senators write, “As winter approaches, we are calling for federal action to help bring down heating costs for households in our region, including releasing stockpiles from the Northeast Home Heating Oil Reserve.”
They continue, “With lower inventories of crude oil, propane, and natural gas and the continued global disruption caused by the Russian invasion of Ukraine contributing to a sharp rise in residential energy costs, we urge the administration to closely monitor the energy needs of the Northeast and release stock from the Northeast Home Heating Oil Reserve.”
In addition to Senators Shaheen and Hassan, the letter is also signed by Senators Jack Reed (D-RI), Susan Collins (R-ME), Angus King (I-ME), Pat Leahy (D-VT), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Chris Murphy (D-CT), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Ed Markey (D-MA).
As a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Shaheen has prioritized ensuring Granite State families and seniors have access to heating and energy assistance. Senator Shaheen championed increases in funding for key programs to assist Granite State families with home heating bills, efficiency upgrades and emergency situations in the fiscal year (FY) 2023 Senate government funding proposal released earlier this month. The FY 2023 proposal includes $4 billion for LIHEAP, an increase of $200 million over FY 2022. Senator Shaheen also used her role as a lead negotiator for the bipartisan infrastructure bill to push to increase LIHEAP funding for Granite State families, leading to the highest total of LIHEAP funding ever received in a 12-month period in New Hampshire history. In addition to the $900 million in LIHEAP funds allocated through the CARES Act in 2020, Shaheen and Hassan worked to secure $4.5 billion for LIHEAP in the American Rescue Plan that was signed into law in March 2021 and provided $35,498,757 to New Hampshire. Last year, Shaheen and Hassan sent a bipartisan letter that successfully pushed the Biden administration to swiftly release LIHEAP funding, including $25,192,436 for New Hampshire, under the temporary government funding measure ahead of the winter season. Following the June announcement of energy rate increases approved by New Hampshire’s Public Utilities Commission, the New Hampshire Delegation urged the state to use the remaining funding secured in the American Rescue Plan to provide financial assistance to help Granite Staters afford their home energy bills. Senator Hassan is working across the aisle to bring down energy costs for Granite Staters. Senator Hassan successfully included in the Inflation Reduction Act her measure with Susan Collins (R-ME) to help lower energy costs for families and reduce carbon emissions by expanding and extending a tax credit for energy efficient home upgrades.
The text of the letter is available here and below.
Dear President Biden:
As winter approaches, we are calling for federal action to help bring down heating costs for households in our region, including releasing stockpiles from the Northeast Home Heating Oil Reserve. Given the current state of energy markets, particularly in New England, we urge you to consider additional targeted actions in preparation for the cold weather season.
To help combat the increased cost of heating oil, we believe that now is an appropriate time to release inventory from the Northeast Home Heating Oil Reserve, similar to the action you took earlier this year with the Strategic Petroleum Reserve at our urging. Doing so can help address constrained regional energy supplies and recent residential energy price increases.
The U.S. Energy Information Administration, in its August Short-Term Energy Outlook, forecasts a significant increase in energy prices, particularly in the Northeast. These increased costs will have an outsized impact on households that heat with natural gas, propane, and heating oil – which includes many of our constituents. These costs can have a very real effect on the ability of many New England families to keep their homes at a safe temperature this winter. No family should have to make the decision between paying their bill to keep their children warm, putting food on the table, and keeping the lights on. As New Englanders purchase heating oil and propane for the winter season, it is vital that the administration use all tools available to bring down fuel prices and ensure that there is adequate supply to meet demand.
With lower inventories of crude oil, propane, and natural gas and the continued global disruption caused by the Russian invasion of Ukraine contributing to a sharp rise in residential energy costs, we urge the administration to closely monitor the energy needs of the Northeast and release stock from the Northeast Home Heating Oil Reserve. This action is consistent with the discretion granted to the President under 42 U.S.C. § 6250b, in order to directly and significantly reduce the adverse impact of a significant regional shortage of home heating oil.
This is a critical economic issue facing millions of Americans, and we appreciate your attention to this important matter.
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