The first gallons of Citgo’s discounted fuel oil flowed into Maine, yesterday. The grateful recipients of the largesse were a couple in Windham, who are in their late-80s and struggling to keep warm this winter.
While yesterday’s 50 degree temperatures took some of the zing out of the event, Maine Governor John Baldacci was on hand for a news conference, along with Citgo CEO, Felix Rodriguez, at the home of Malcolm and Mary Lyons.
Under its program, the Houston-based subsidiary of Citgo-Venezuela is offering discounted fuel to Mainers as part of a $5.5 million program that has also brought needed heating assistance to Massachusetts, the Bronx, with other deals are currently under negotiation for Rhode Island and Vermont. Citgo is also donating 120,000 gallons of oil to 40 homeless shelters in the state, as well as providing discounted prices on oil to households on Maine’s Indian reservations.
With oil prices statewide running 50 cents higher than last year at this same point, Maine’s Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) would have been severely strained and ultimately would have run out of funding without intervention. Citgo has been the only corporation to come forward recognizing the need that exists in northern states like Maine. The large American-based companies have yet to offer anything other than empty rhetoric and escalating prices to elderly consumers like the Lyons.
Predictably, ideological shills for the President’s cause were quick to criticize the offer from Citgo as a ploy to embarrass him. Baldacci brushed aside these baseless claims choosing to focus on the need to help residents of Maine, like the Lyons, get through the harsh winter weather that is sure to make its reappearance soon.
[Information for this post was drawn from an AP story that appeared in this morning’s Lewiston Sun Journal.]