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Legislation would renew NORA oilheat industry efficiency, research and job training programs

(Washington, D.C.) — U.S. Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Susan Collins (R-ME) introduced today the Oilheat Efficiency, Renewable Fuel Research and Jobs Training Act, which would reauthorize the widely supported National Oilheat Research Alliance (NORA) program.  Created in 2000, NORA is the oilheat industry’s national program for research and development, consumer education and technical training.

The bipartisan legislation is a modified version of last year’s National Oilheat Reauthorization Act and would renew NORA’s authorization, which expired in 2010, allowing the industry to continue funding vital national oilheat efforts throughout the next decade – at no cost to local, state or federal governments.  Consumers will benefit from the development of improved and efficient equipment, increased safety through technician training and the availability of up-to-date information regarding safety practices and fuel conservation.  The bill also strengthens the industry commitment to NORA without raising consumer costs.

“NORA brings tangible benefits to oilheat consumers, which in New Hampshire and for most of the country, means almost every home,” Senator Shaheen said.  “NORA gives a direct path for responsible, domestically-produced and efficient energy consumption. This bill is smart, bipartisan policy that helps consumers, American businesses and the environment and will be a value to the country for many years to come.”

“NORA is an industry funded R&D, consumer education, and technical training program, which directly benefits oilheat consumers in Maine,” Senator Collins said.  “I support efforts to improve equipment efficiency, increase safety, and conserve fuel, and I am pleased to be part of the bipartisan effort to renew NORA’s authorization and strengthen the program.”

By improving NORA and renewing its authorization, the bipartisan Oilheat Efficiency, Renewable Fuel Research and Jobs Training Act would:

  • Renew and increase industry funding for the research, development and deployment of new, efficient oilheat technologies
  • Educate consumers on safety measures, the benefits of oilheat and how to increase energy efficiency and conserve fuel
  • Strengthen the national certification program for oilheat technicians and home energy conservation professionals
  • Implement a safety data collection process. 

Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), William Cowan (D-MA), Christopher Coons (D-DE), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Christopher Murphy (D-CT), Jack Reed (D-RI),  Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) and Bernie Sanders (I-VT)  are also original cosponsors of the bipartisan effort to reauthorize NORA, which is supported by environmental and efficiency groups and representatives of the heating oil industry.  NORA’s reauthorization is supported by the New England Fuel Institute, Environment Northeast, the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy, the National Association of Oil and Energy Service Professionals and heating oil dealers.

“I applaud and thank Senators Shaheen and Collins for introducing legislation to reauthorize the National Oilheat Research Alliance,” said Ed Noonan, Chairman of NORA and Noonan Energy in Springfield, Mass.  “We think that the new bill's greater focus on research will help our industry to develop products that will reduce the energy consumption of the home.  This strengthens the partnership between the small oilheat retailer and his customer, and also ensures that customers throughout the country benefit from an improved product.”

"As leaders of the Oilheat Council of New Hampshire and the Maine Energy Marketers Association, we appreciate how important it is for an industry of small businesses to work together,” said Robert Sculley, President of Oilheat Council of New Hampshire, and Jamie Py, President of the Maine Energy Marketers Association, in a joint statement.  “NORA provides these same small businesses an opportunity to work together at the national level to improve the products they sell and to ensure that workers are well trained and able to serve homeowners throughout New England. We thank the Senators for working to ensure that our industry can provide better services in the 21st century, and can provide great jobs for men and women in New Hampshire and Maine."

"With the retail oil industry, we are continuously working to improve the products and services our company offers,” said Charlie Stafford, President of Stafford Oil in New Hampshire.  “Through NORA, training for our workers has improved, we have better and more efficient equipment to offer customers, and our customers better understand the steps that they can take to conserve energy.”