KOHL INTRODUCES THE "STOP HEATING OIL EXPORTS" BILL
Washington, D.C.--Today U.S. Senator Herb Kohl announced the introduction of his "Stop Heating Oil Exports" (SHOE) bill. SHOE would grant emergency powers to the Secretary of Energy to halt all unnecessary exports in the face of a serious price spike or supply shortfall. Kohl introduced the legislation after reports that American companies are exporting fuel that could be used for home heating in this country. According to the EIA, between January and August 2005 more than 48 million barrels of refined product was exported out of the U.S. This amount is 24 times the size of what is stored in the Northeast Heating Oil Reserve.
"I believe many Wisconsinites would be shocked that the oil companies -- that blame high prices on low supplies -- are also making money selling home heating oil abroad," said Kohl. "If the Energy Secretary finds that demand will heavily outpace supply, then he or she should be able to stop exports, increase domestic supply, and prevent a major price spike, such as the one we can expect this winter."
On Tuesday, the Energy Information Administration (EIA) announced the most recent outlook for home heating costs. For the average family, the cost of heating oil will increase approximately $325. And families relying on propane can expect to pay an increase of about $230. Yesterday, several oil company executives came to Capitol Hill to defend their record profits in light of these projected cost increases to consumers.
Today's legislation is the third in a series of steps that Sen. Kohl has taken to help combat rising energy costs. Last week, Sen. Kohl and eleven of his colleagues sent a letter to several of the major oil companies and refiners, asking them to voluntarily halt all unnecessary exports of products that could be used for home heating.
Yesterday Sen. Kohl introduced S. 1979, the Strategic Refinery Reserve Act, which would authorize the Department of Energy to build enough refining capacity to meet the energy needs of the federal government -- primarily the Department of Defense -- and to supply the private market in times of shortages and price spikes.