February 16, 2006- Republicans Attack Home Heating Assistance for America's Poor

WASHINGTON, D.C. –Representative Edward J. Markey (D-MA) a senior Member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee today commented on the misplaced and disproportional interest of the Energy and Commerce Committee in the charitable donation of millions of barrels of heating oil to low-income consumers in Massachusetts, New York and Delaware.  The Republican leaders of the Energy and Commerce Committee yesterday announced an investigation of this program, demanding “all records in CITGO’s possession, custody, or control” relating to the program to help poor families.

“If I were to try to dream up an initiative to highlight that Republicans are on another planet when it comes to energy policy, this investigation would be it,” said Markey.  “Having utterly failed, after repeated giveaways to the industry, to do anything to help the American people deal with skyrocketing heating oil prices, natural gas prices, gasoline prices and rising dependence on foreign oil, what do they decide to investigate?  A charitable donation of heating oil to relieve the suffering of a few thousand American families!

“My colleague Rep. Bill Delahunt (D-MA) helped convince CITGO to make this donation, and under his leadership, the entire Massachusetts delegation has written the top executives of ExxonMobil, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, Sunoco, Marathon Oil, Valero Energy, Amerada Hess, and Tesoro to encourage them to match CITGO.  To date, only CITGO has stepped up to try to address the needs of poor heating oil consumers. 

“As we all know, the oil industry just made more money than any industry in the history of modern commerce by tipping consumer upside down and shaking money out of their pockets.  There has been widespread concern about price gouging, supply manipulation, speculation and profiteering, but the Energy and Commerce Committee has yet to send a single demand letter to any of the companies alleged to be involved in such activity.  Instead, it has decided to spend its Committee resources and staff time trying to prevent CITGO from getting any credit for helping the poor.

“Clearly, these priorities are completely skewed and underline the fact that an Administration and a Congress committed to the priorities of the oil industry are never going to effectively address the energy concerns of American families.”

For more information on Rep. Markey’s work on energy policy check out http://markey.house.gov/ for more information on home heating assistance to low income families in Massachusetts http://www.house.gov/delahunt/citgodeal.htm

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February 16, 2006


CONTACT: Tara McGuiness