Watching Government: The trigger

More important than establishing a home heating oil reserve in the Northeast is setting the criteria for its use.Last month, US Pres. Bill Clinton ordered the Department of Energy to establish a temporary, 2 million bbl reserve for possible use this winter.Because it is being created under the government's powers to operate the crude oil Strategic Petroleum Reserve, the interim distillate stockpile can be tapped if the president declares that a "national supply disruption" exists.That assumes that Congress will reauthorize the expired Energy Policy and Conservation Act, the bill governing the SPR's operation.Clinton also has asked Congress to pass legislation for a permanent disti...

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