Granholm, 27 Other Governors Ask Congress to Fulfill Commitment to Keep Americans Warm This Winter
September 28, 2005
LANSING – In anticipation of severe spikes in energy prices, Governor Jennifer M. Granholm today led a bipartisan group of governors asking Congress to provide critically needed funding to help American families who will struggle this year to keep their homes warm.
“Congress must recognize that covering dramatic increases in natural gas and heating oil prices will pose an immense challenge for our citizens as winter arrives…Immediate emergency funding, and a significant increase in regular LIHEAP (Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program) funding for fiscal year 2006, would allow critical energy needs to be addressed before a crisis develops,” the Governors wrote in a letter to House and Senate appropriations leaders.
In recent weeks, the federal Energy Information Administration (EIA) has revised its winter heating cost forecasts and is projecting increases of up to 77 percent compared to last winter. Last month, Congress and the President approved a LIHEAP funding ceiling of $5.1 billion as part of its comprehensive Energy Bill. However, actual funding is forecast to remain at approximately $2 billion, an amount that serves only one out of five eligible families nationwide. Michigan’s current annual LIHEAP allotment is approximately $117 million and serves nearly one million residents.
“Natural gas and other fuel costs have been rising all year, before and after Hurricane Katrina,” Granholm said. “We need Washington to keep its winter heating commitment by making sure states can serve at least as many families as we have in the past, even as higher prices make staying warm this winter less affordable for every family.”
The governors, led by Granholm and Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney (R-MA), are urging federal lawmakers to immediately add $1.276 billion in emergency LIHEAP funds to significantly boost regular heating assistance for 2006.
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