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Apr 26 2012

SENATOR COLLINS SECURES CRITICAL FUNDING FOR WEATHERIZATION ASSISTANCE PROGRAM

Senate funding level significantly higher than amount in House bill

WASHINGTON, D.C.-The Senate Energy and Water Appropriations Subcommittee today gave final approval to an amendment, authored by Senator Susan Collins, that would provide $145 million in funding for the Weatherization Assistance Program during Fiscal Year 2013. This represents a significant increase over the amount included in a similar House bill which provides just $54 million.

"One of the most effective and immediate ways we can help people stretch their energy dollars is through weatherization," said Senator Collins, who is a member of the Subcommittee. "The Weatherization Assistance Program helps low-income families and seniors weatherize their homes which, Maine Housing estimates that weatherization can save residents approximately $500 on their heating bills each year. With the recent cutbacks to the Low-Income Home Heating Assistance Program, there is an even greater need for this important program. I have long fought for adequate weatherization funding because it will truly pay dividends for years to come in achieving energy independence, environmental protection, safety, and economic development."

In addition to providing a significantly higher level of funding than is included in the House bill, Senator Collins was successfully able to include language in the Committee report on the 2013 Energy and Water funding bill that notes "the important role that weatherization plays in permanently reducing home energy costs for low-income families, lessening our dependence on foreign oil, and training a skilled workforce. The Committee is concerned about the potential impact a lower funding level may have on low-income households served by the program."

Since 2009, more than 6,500 homes in Maine have been weatherized which, Maine Housing estimates, has saved low-income families and seniors in our state, more than $3 million.