Edwards Announces Plan to Take on the Big Oil Companies to Fight Rising Home Heating Costs

Calls for immediate relief for families facing unaffordable home heating costs, highlighted proposals to take on big oil, halt global warming and build a new energy economy

(Manchester, NH) – Today, Senator John Edwards unveiled his proposals to take on big oil companies to fight rising home heating costs. At town hall meetings in Meredith and Rochester today, Edwards announced his plan to provide immediate relief for families facing unaffordable home heating costs and highlighted his proposals for taking on big oil and gas companies to halt global warming and build a new energy economy based on efficiency and renewable energy. As he prepares to visit New Horizons food bank in Manchester tomorrow, Edwards also emphasized the power that everyday Americans have to help families in their communities overcome the hardship of high home heating costs.

“New England families are facing skyrocketing home heating oil and gasoline prices – all to fuel massive profits for Big Oil,” said Edwards. “As home heating oil prices are approaching a record-high, today families in New Hampshire are paying nearly three times as much as they did in 2000 for heating oil. Meanwhile, the top six oil companies have collected over $477 billion in profits over the past six years. Exxon Mobil, for example, earned $40 billion last year, the largest annual corporate profit in history.

“America’s dependence on oil not only leaves families vulnerable to rising prices, but it compromises our national security and contributes to the crisis of global warming. We need to stand up to the big oil companies, increase the use of renewable energy, and create affordable choices for regular families.”

Edwards believes immediate action is necessary to offer families relief from rising heating costs. Today, he called on Congress to release some of the nation’s home heating and oil reserves and finally fully fund the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), which could help 20,000 more New Hampshire families. He also proposed more than doubling assistance for weatherization programs and called on neighbors to help weatherize the homes of vulnerable seniors this winter. Last winter, Edwards joined One Corps volunteers from across the country to help weatherize seniors’ homes in theNortheast. Finally, he proposed helping states and non-profits offer low- or no-interest emergency loans so that squeezed families do not fall prey to high-cost lenders.

While in the short-term Washington should get families they help they need to meet rising costs, Edwards will also stand up to the oil and gas industry to bring down unreasonable prices. As president, he will investigate the anticompetitive actions of the oil industry; strengthen antitrust laws to make oil and gas companies liable for anticompetitive acts; reverse Enron-era deregulation of energy markets to restore transparency and oversight; end taxpayer subsidies for oil companies; and require oil companies to invest in clean reliable refineries.

To jumpstart our investment in the future and promote higher fuel efficiency, Edwards will create the $13 billion-a-year New Energy Economy Fund, financed by the sale of greenhouse gas pollution permits and the repeal of subsidies for oil companies. Among other investments, the Fund will: invest in weatherized homes and more efficient buildings and appliances; create new competition by supporting biofuels; and raise fuel economy standards and help U.S. automakers modernize.

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