JAN. 10, 2008 - DESPITE HIGH HEATING COSTS, BUSH ADMIN GIVES NEW ENGLANDERS THE COLD SHOULDER

Denies Rep. Markey Request to Take Action to Release Heating Oil reserves

WASHINGTON, D.C. – As temperatures plummet and oil prices remain high, Secretary of Energy Samuel Bodman denied Representative Edward J. Markey’s (D-MA) call to release reserves from the Northeast Home Heating Oil Reserve. Secretary Bodman claims the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) is sufficient to meet the needs of consumers looking for relief from cold weather and hot prices, despite the fact that the program is critically under-funded

Last week, Rep. Markey called on the president to release some of the $600 million in contingency funds within the LIHEAP program to help consumers. The administration has not responded to this request.

"Apparently this administration does not think record high oil and heating oil prices warrant any serious action on their part. First the president proposed cutting LIHEAP by several hundred million, then he vetoed a bill that would have provided LIHEAP assistance to an additional 1.5 million families, calling it ‘excessive spending.' Now they are refusing to release any reserves or even consider releasing emergency funds," said Rep. Markey, who serves as chair of the House Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming.

"The Bush administration has made a cold-hearted decision to leave New England families out in the cold instead of take action to offset current high heating oil prices."

The cost of home heating oil has nearly tripled since President Bush took office in 2001 - from $627 in 2001-2002 to $1,841 in 2007-2008.

Full text of Sec. Bodman's letter to Rep. Markey is available HERE.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 10, 2008

CONTACT: Jessica Schafer (Markey), 202.225.2836
Eben Burnham-Snyder (Select Cmte), 202.225.4081