H.R. 3807 (106th): Stable Oil Supply Home Heating Act

106th Congress, 1999–2000. Text as of Mar 01, 2000 (Introduced).

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HR 3807 IH

106th CONGRESS

2d Session

H. R. 3807

To amend the Energy Policy and Conservation Act to ensure that petroleum importers, refiners, and wholesalers accumulate minimally adequate supplies of home heating oil to meet reasonably foreseeable needs in the northeastern States.

IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

March 1, 2000

Mr. MOAKLEY (for himself, Mr. TIERNEY, Mr. OLVER, Mr. MCGOVERN, Mr. FRANK of Massachusetts, Mr. NEAL of Massachusetts, Mr. MEEHAN, Mr. DELAHUNT, Mr. CAPUANO, Mr. WEYGAND, Mr. BALDACCI, and Mr. GEJDENSON) introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on Commerce


A BILL

To amend the Energy Policy and Conservation Act to ensure that petroleum importers, refiners, and wholesalers accumulate minimally adequate supplies of home heating oil to meet reasonably foreseeable needs in the northeastern States.

    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

    This Act may be cited as the ‘Stable Oil Supply Home Heating Act’.

SEC. 2. FINDINGS AND PURPOSE.

    (a) FINDINGS- Congress finds that--

      (1) more than 35 percent of families in the northeastern United States depend on oil to heat their homes each winter, and most of those families have no practical alternative to paying the going price for home heating oil or seeking public or private assistance to pay for home heating oil;

      (2) consumers experienced sudden and dramatic increases in prices for home heating oil during the winters of 1989, 1996, and 1999, causing hardship to families and other people of the United States, including people on fixed and low incomes, people living in rural areas, the elderly, farmers, truckers and the driving public, and governments that pay home heating oil bills;

      (3) a substantial part of each sudden increase in home heating oil prices has been caused by vastly inadequate supplies of home heating oil accumulated during the summer, fall, and winter months by importers, refiners, and wholesalers; and

      (4) increased stability in home heating oil prices is necessary to maintain the economic vitality of the Northeast.

    (b) PURPOSE- The purpose of this Act is to ensure that minimally adequate stocks of home heating oil are accumulated in the Northeast to meet reasonably foreseeable demand during each winter while protecting consumers from sudden increases in the price of home heating oil.

SEC. 3. DEFINITIONS.

    Section 152 of the Energy Policy and Conservation Act (42 U.S.C. 6232) is amended--

      (1) by redesignating paragraphs (2), (3), (4), (5), (6), (7), (8), (9), (10), and (11) as paragraphs (3), (4), (5), (8), (9), (10), (11), (12), (13), and (14), respectively;

      (2) by inserting after paragraph (1) the following:

      ‘(2) HOME HEATING OIL-

        ‘(A) IN GENERAL- The term ‘home heating oil’ means distillate fuel oil.

        ‘(B) INCLUSIONS- The term ‘home heating oil’ includes No. 1 and No. 2 diesel and fuel oils.’;

      (3) by inserting after paragraph (5) (as redesignated by paragraph (1) of this section) the following:

      ‘(6) NORTHEAST- The term ‘Northeast’ means the States of Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey.

      ‘(7) PRIMARY HEATING OIL INVENTORY-

        ‘(A) IN GENERAL- The term ‘primary heating oil inventory’ means a heating oil inventory held by an importer, refiner, or wholesaler.

        ‘(B) EXCLUSION- The term ‘primary heating oil inventory’ does not include any inventory held by a retailer for the direct sale to an end user of home heating oil.’; and

      (4) by adding at the end the following:

      ‘(15) WHOLESALER- The term ‘wholesaler’ means any person that--

        ‘(A) owns, operates, leases, or otherwise controls a bulk terminal having a total petroleum storage capacity of 50,000 barrels or more;

        ‘(B) stores heating oil; and

        ‘(C)(i) resells petroleum products to retail businesses that market the petroleum products to end users; or

        ‘(ii) receives petroleum products by tanker, barge, or pipeline.

      ‘(16) WINTER SEASON- The term ‘winter season’ means the months of November through March.’.

SEC. 4. HOME HEATING OIL RESERVE FOR THE NORTHEAST.

    (a) AMENDMENT- Part B of title I of the Energy Policy and Conservation Act (15 U.S.C. 6231 et seq.) is amended by inserting after section 157 the following:

‘SEC. 157A. VOLUNTARY PLANS FOR HOME HEATING OIL RESERVE.

    ‘(a) DEVELOPMENT AND SUBMISSION OF VOLUNTARY PLANS- Importers, refiners, and wholesalers that hold primary heating oil inventories for sale to markets in the Northeast, acting individually or in 1 or more groups, shall, for the purposes of ensuring stability in energy fuel markets and protecting consumers from dramatic swings in price--

      ‘(1) develop voluntary plans, in consultation with interested individuals from nonprofit organizations and the public and private sectors, to maintain readily available minimum product inventories of home heating oil for sale in the Northeast, possibly in combination with the hedging of future inventories, to mitigate the risk of severe price increases to consumers and to reduce adverse impacts on the regional and national economies; and

      ‘(2) submit the voluntary plans to the Secretary not later than 180 days after the date of enactment of this section.

    ‘(b) CERTIFICATION AND REPORT-

      ‘(1) IN GENERAL- If the Secretary determines that a plan submitted under subsection (a)--

        ‘(A) is likely to achieve the purposes of the Stable Oil Supply Home Heating Act, the Secretary shall so certify, and the importer, refiner, or wholesaler shall implement the plan; or

        ‘(B) is not likely to achieve the purposes of the Stable Oil Supply Home Heating Act, the Secretary shall issue a statement explaining why the plan does not appear likely to achieve those purposes.

      ‘(2) REPORT- Not later than 240 days after the date of enactment of this section, the Secretary shall submit to Congress a report describing the findings and reasons for a certification or failure to certify each plan submitted under subsection (a).

    ‘(c) DEFENSE TO ANTITRUST ACTIONS-

      ‘(1) IN GENERAL- There shall be available as a defense to a civil or criminal action brought under the antitrust laws (or any similar State law) with respect to an action taken by an importer, refiner, or wholesaler the fact that--

        ‘(A) the action is taken--

          ‘(i) in the course of developing a voluntary plan for submittal under subsection (a); or

          ‘(ii) in the course of carrying out the voluntary plan, if the voluntary plan is certified by the Secretary under subsection (b)(1)(A), but only to the extent specified in or within the reasonable contemplation of the voluntary plan;

        ‘(B) the action is not taken for the purpose of injuring competition; and

        ‘(C) the importer, refiner, or wholesaler is in compliance with this section and section 157B.

      ‘(2) BURDEN OF PROOF- A person asserting the defense under paragraph (1) shall have the burden of proof, except that the burden shall be on the person against which the defense is asserted with respect to whether an action is taken for the purpose of injuring competition.

    ‘(d) APPLICABILITY- The requirements of this section and section 157B shall not apply to an importer or refiner whose total petroleum storage capacity is less than 50,000 barrels.

    ‘(e) REPORT- Not later than 1 year after the date of enactment of this section, and annually thereafter, the Secretary shall submit to Congress a report describing the results of the implementation of all voluntary plans certified under this section, including specific compliance by importers, refiners, and wholesalers that serve the Northeast market with respect to the adequacy of the home heating oil supply.

‘SEC. 157B. HOME HEATING OIL RESERVE FOR THE NORTHEAST.

    ‘(a) ESTABLISHMENT OF PRIVATE HOME HEATING OIL RESERVES- If, after the expiration of 240 days after the date of enactment of this section, a certified plan described in section 157A has not been implemented in accordance with that section for an importer, refiner, or wholesaler that stores heating oil for sale in the Northeast, not later than 300 days after the date of enactment of this section, the Secretary shall issue an order requiring the establishment of a private home heating oil reserve for the Northeast in accordance with this section.

    ‘(b) INVENTORY-

      ‘(1) IN GENERAL- Except as provided in paragraph (2), the Secretary shall periodically monitor supply levels as necessary to ensure that each importer, refiner, and wholesaler of heating oil for sale in the Northeast shall have in inventory and readily available to retailers or consumers in the Northeast a quantity of home heating oil that the Secretary determines is equal to the quantity that each importer, refiner, or wholesaler may reasonably be expected to require to supply the needs of its customers during the present or following winter season without subjecting consumers to sudden price increases that are due in part to inadequate buildup of heating oil inventories.

      ‘(2) INCREASED INVENTORY- If the Secretary determines under paragraph (1) that an inventory of home heating oil is insufficient, the Secretary shall direct an importer, refiner, or wholesaler to acquire, store, and maintain in readily available inventories any quantity of home heating oil that the Secretary determines to be necessary to supply home heating oil needs in the Northeast without subjecting consumers to sudden price increases that are due in part to inadequate buildup of heating oil inventories.

      ‘(3) LIMITATION- The Secretary shall not require any importer, refiner, or wholesaler to store any product under this subsection in a quantity greater than 95 percent of the average storage capacity for heating oil reasonably available to the importer, refiner, or wholesaler during the preceding 2 years.

      ‘(4) REGULATIONS- As soon as practicable after the date of enactment of this section, the Secretary shall promulgate regulations necessary to carry out this section, including regulations that--

        ‘(A) establish civil penalties to enforce this section; and

        ‘(B) provide that the Secretary shall cooperate with State energy authorities in carrying out this section.

    ‘(c) EXCESS INVENTORY- At the end of each winter season, the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency shall take appropriate and reasonable action to enable importers, refiners, and wholesalers of home heating oil to sell any remaining excess inventories of home heating oil that the importers, refiners, and wholesalers may have.

    ‘(d) IMPLEMENTATION- In implementing this section, the Secretary shall ensure, to the maximum extent practicable, that the manner of implementation supports the maintenance of an economically sound and competitive petroleum industry.

    ‘(e) REPORT- Not later than 22 months after the date of enactment of this section, the Secretary shall submit to Congress a report describing the results of the implementation of this section and section 157A, including specific compliance by importers, refiners, and wholesalers subject to the requirements of this section and section 157A with respect to home heating oil supply buildup.’.

    (b) TABLE OF CONTENTS AMENDMENT- The table of contents of the Energy Policy and Conservation Act is amended by inserting after the item relating to section 157 the following items:

      ‘Sec. 157A. Voluntary plans for home heating oil reserve.

      ‘Sec. 157B. Home heating oil reserve for the Northeast.’.