Save Money for Dutchess County Residents with Citgo Home Heating Oil sign now

"I'm delighted to hear we'll be able to purchase oil at a lower price
than the market for our citizens."

-- Gov. Mitt Romney (R.-Mass.) on recent Citgo home heating oil deal

Do you think that our county legislators, our County Executive, and other local public officials here in Dutchess County should work with Citgo (and local nonprofit groups, if necessary) to negotiate a deal with them for county residents on discounted home heating oil-- similar to the ones many in New York City and Boston will be enjoying this winter?

Let our County Legislature know how you feel-- at
[email protected] and 486-2100; let our County Executive know how you feel at [email protected] and 486-2000-- pass it on.

Joel Tyner
County Legislator
324 Browns Pond Road
Staatsburg, NY 12580
[email protected]
876-2488

p.s. See recent articles on this on Fox News, CBS News, and ABC News at FoxNews.com/story/0,2933,176104,00.html;
CBSNews.com/stories/2005/11/19/world/main1060262.shtml; ABCNews.go.com/International/story?id=1337463.

****************************************

"Oil for Bronx Poor is a Foreign Gift" by Juan Gonzalez [Daily News 11/22/05]
[commondreams.org/views05/1122-24.htm]

Poor residents and nonprofit groups in the South Bronx are about to
receive a huge Christmas gift from Venezuela's firebrand President
Hugo Chavez: Eight-million gallons of heating oil at bargain-basement
prices.

Two months ago, in an interview with the Daily News during his visit
to the United Nations, Chavez first made the startling offer of cheap
fuel for this winter from his oil-rich country to a handful of poor
communities in the United States.

At the time, critics of the radical populist Chavez, the Bush
administration's biggest nemesis in South America, scoffed at his
proposal.

But the Venezuelan leader is about to deliver.

"The first shipments of low-cost fuel from CITGO will begin arriving
in my district by late next week," U.S. Rep. Jose Serrano (D-South
Bronx) said yesterday.

CITGO, the Houston-based subsidiary of Venezuela's national oil
company, owns 14,000 gas stations and eight refineries in the U.S.
Because of that, Chavez has a ready-made distribution system and
doesn't need any special approvals from the White House for his
project.

"My constituents are facing some of the highest energy bills in
recent history, even as oil companies are reporting the largest
profits in recent memory," Serrano said. "I'm very pleased to have
helped broker this historic agreement."

The Bronx congressman has been working feverishly for weeks to
connect local nonprofit groups with CITGO and Venezuelan government officials. The South Bronx plan is similar to one announced yesterday in Boston for CITGO to supply 12 million gallons of discounted heating oil to 45,000 low-income families and nonprofits in Massachusetts.

Under the Chavez plan, CITGO will sell oil for way below the market
price - about $1.35 a gallon instead of the current average of $2.25.
The average Massachusetts homeowner would save about $180 for each 200-gallon shipment, enough to last about three weeks.

But the South Bronx project is a little more complicated because so
many low-income residents live in rental apartments instead of
individual homes.

"The Venezuelans want to make sure landlords don't pocket all the
savings," Serrano said.

You can be sure, if there's a way to do so, New York City landlords
will find it.

That's why Serrano recruited several local nonprofit housing
corporations to be the first to join the discount-fuel program.

To assure that the bulk of savings are passed on to residents, not
just to the nonprofit corporation, lawyers for CITGO are working out
a pilot effort in which every renter will receive a cash voucher
equal to the average fuel savings for each unit in the building.

"The idea is to make sure the financial help goes directly to the
poor, not the middle man," Serrano said.

Details are still being ironed out by lawyers for all sides, Serrano
said, which is why he will not announce the specific housing groups
and buildings to receive the first fuel shipments until a press
conference late next week.

"We'll start with a few groups, then expand it throughout the
winter," Serrano said. Homeowners aren't the only ones eligible: Even
schools in low-income areas could apply for the program.

In his interview with me two months ago, Chavez vowed to set aside
10\% of all the oil that CITGO refineries produce for his
oil-for-the-poor program.

His government is already directing hundreds of millions of dollars
from its windfall petroleum profits to expand social programs for
Venezuela's own poor, and it has begun providing cheap oil to more
than a dozen poor Caribbean nations.

To the people at the Bush White House and their buddies at the Big
Oil companies, sharing the wealth with those less fortunate is a
dangerous idea.

Santa Claus is for children, they say, and profits are for
shareholders, and this Chavez guy is giving oil a bad name.

****************************************

"Fuel Pact Defended at Local Signing" by Raja Mishra [Boston Globe 11/23/05]
[truthout.org/docs_2005/B112305Y.shtml]

Local legislators and Venezuelan officials yesterday vigorously
defended an agreement that will bring discounted heating oil to more
than 40,000 low-income Massachusetts residents courtesy of a Latin
American leader engaged in an acerbic public campaign against
President Bush and US foreign policy.

The deal, signed yesterday in a Quincy couple's front yard, will
provide more than 12 million gallons of heating oil from Venezuela,
with each qualifying household eligible to buy up to 200 gallons,
enough to last several weeks, at a 40 percent discount. The Quincy
couple, Linda and Paul Kelly, were the first beneficiaries of the
arrangement.

The agreement has come under fire because President Hugo Chбvez, whose nation is the fourth-largest supplier of US oil, has used harsh language to criticize Bush policies on free trade, poverty, and the
war in Iraq. But representatives from his government yesterday said
politics played no role in the gesture, which was negotiated recently
in a face-to-face meeting between Chбvez and Representative William
D. Delahunt, a Quincy Democrat.

"Our objective is simple: to help people of limited means through
the winter," said

Felix Rodriguez, chief of CITGO, a US subsidiary of the
Venezuelan petroleum company, said: "No one should have to choose
between heat and medicine or food."

By providing the discount, CITGO will forgo about $8 million in
profit, local advocates said. Such an arrangement has never been made between a foreign government and a state.

For now, the arrangement is only for this winter, though local
politicians and advocates would like to see it renewed in coming
years, according to two officials involved in the Venezuela
agreement. The officials wanted to remain anonymous because of the
sensitive nature of the deal.

The officials also said they were interested in striking similar
deals with other oil producing nations, such as Saudi Arabia and
Kuwait, though no talks are active.

All the major US oil companies were also asked to participate in
such arrangements; none agreed, the officials said.

"With temperatures dropping and oil prices soaring, we're all
worried sick about people without the means to heat their homes,"
Delahunt said. "It is gratifying that at least one major oil company
is willing to step up."

Joseph P. Kennedy II, chairman of the nonprofit Citizens Energy,
which is helping to administer the discounted oil, said it was unfair
to criticize Chбvez's motives when other oil-providing nations had
given no aid.

"Nobody asks any of these questions to Saudi Arabia. Nobody asks
any of these questions to Kuwait. Nobody asks any of these questions
to Iran, Iraq or Azerbaijan or any of the other countries we get oil
from," he said.

In Venezuela, "you have a country led by somebody who cares for the poor."

Governor Mitt Romney yesterday hailed the accord, though he
declined to discuss Chбvez.

"I'm delighted to hear we'll be able to purchase oil at a lower
price than the market for our citizens," he said.

The discounted oil will be available beginning Dec. 12 to any of
the more than 40,000 Massachusetts households receiving federal fuel oil assistance. Families who have used up their $550 annual federal subsidy will get a letter from Citizens Energy informing them of the new program.

Each household can request up to 200 gallons of oil; 200 gallons
would cost them $276, a 40 percent, or $184, discount compared to
market prices. Citizens Energy officials also said they would
consider some cases of households earning too much money to qualify for federal aid but nonetheless unable to afford heating oil.

The Massachusetts Energy Consumer Alliance, another nonprofit,
will also distribute 3 million gallons of the oil.

****************************************

"Venezuela's Chavez to Discount Heating Oil in Boston: Update II"
[bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=10000086&sid=a3i7Jw3mxo8c&refer=latin_america]

Nov. 22 (Bloomberg) -- Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has begun a program of discounted heating fuel sales for low-income customers in Boston, following up on promises to help the poor throughout the
Americas.

The fuel will be sold for 60 cents to 80 cents less than prevailing
retail prices, according to Felix Rodriguez, president of Citgo
Petroleum Corp., the U.S. refining and marketing business owned by
Venezuela's state oil company. Citgo will sell 12 million gallons of
fuel through two nonprofit groups, he said.

``Oil companies have to help people,'' Rodriguez said at a ceremony
in Boston that was carried on state television in Caracas. ``Business
isn't our only issue.''

With these sales, Chavez is jumping into a debate that has raged in
Washington over what oil companies and the government should do to
help consumers hurt by record fuel prices. Chiefs of the biggest U.S.
oil companies were asked earlier this month at a Senate hearing to
justify their record earnings, and lawmakers have said oil profits
should go to fund home heating aid.

Chavez, who led the opposition to the free trade agreement that
President George W. Bush offered at a summit in Argentina this month,
pledged in August to help Americans cope with rising energy costs.
``We want to help the poorest communities in the U.S.,'' Chavez said.
``There are people who die from the cold in winter in the U.S.''

Citgo is working with U.S. Representatives Edward Markey and Bill
Delahunt, Democrats from the Boston area. Citgo is planning a similar
program to sell 8 million gallons in New York, according to a
statement from Representative Jose Serrano, a Democrat who represents the South Bronx. The Northeast accounts for about 80 percent of U.S. heating oil consumption.

Congressional Proposals

Senator Byron Dorgan, a North Dakota Democrat, has sponsored a bill
that would tax profits when oil is above $40 a barrel and rebate the
money to taxpayers. The Senate rejected the measure last week 64-35.

Senator Charles Grassley, an Iowa Republican, has asked oil companies to donate 10 percent of their profits to help families pay heating bills. The world's five biggest publicly traded oil companies earned a combined $33.4 billion in the third quarter.

The total value of the discounts Citgo is offering in Boston may
reach $14 million, Rodriguez said. Up to 40,000 households will
receive help.

Citizens Energy Corp., run by Joseph P. Kennedy II, son of Robert
Kennedy and a former Congressman, is one of the nonprofit groups
working with Citgo in Boston. The other is the Mass Energy Consumers Alliance.

Chavez's Pledge

The planned Citgo sales in Boston and New York don't yet come up to
the pledge Chavez made in August to offer poor people in the U.S.
66,000 barrels, or 2.8 million gallons, of heating oil a day. Citgo
may expand its program, according to a statement from the company.

Sales of 66,000 barrels a day would represent about 10 percent of the
refinery capacity that Citgo controls in the U.S., Venezuelan Oil
Minister Rafael Ramirez said in August. Citgo owns all or part of
eight refineries in the U.S. and sells fuel through 14,000 filling
stations under the Citgo name.

Wholesale heating oil in Boston was $1.7263 a gallon today, up 19
percent from a year ago, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

The average U.S. household this winter will spend 27 percent more for
heating oil than it did last winter, the U.S. Energy Department said
in a Nov. 8 forecast.

****************************************

"Venezuela Gives U.S. Cheap Oil Deal" [BBC 11/23/05]
[commondreams.org/headlines05/1123-06.htm]

Officials from Venezuela and Massachusetts have signed a deal to
provide cheap heating oil to low-income homes in the US state.

The fuel will be sold at about 40\% below market prices to thousands
of homes over the winter months.

Local congressman William Delahunt described the deal as "an
expression of humanitarianism at its very best".

Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez is one of the Bush administration's biggest adversaries in Latin America.

He first announced his plan to provide cheap heating oil directly to
lower-income Americans while visiting Cuba in August.

'About people'

The deal involves shipping some 45m litres of heating oil from
Venezuela to Massachusetts at a discounted rate via Citgo Petroleum,
a US-based subsidiary of the Venezuelan state-owned oil company.

At a signing ceremony in Massachusetts, Mr Delahunt - a Democrat who helped broker the deal - rejected suggestions that it was politically
motivated.

"This is a gesture about people," the Associated Press news agency
quotes him as saying.

"It has nothing to do, as far as I'm concerned, with anything between
the Bush administration and the Chavez administration."

Talks are under way to agree a similar deal to provide discounted
heating oil from Venezuela to low-income residents in New York's
Bronx district.

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Maude McfarlandBy:
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