Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) joined Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Jack Reed (D-RI), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Chris Coons (D-DE), and Maria Cantwell (D-WA) in sending a letter to U.S. Secretary of Energy Rick Perry regarding delayed guidance and documentation for the Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP). Senator Collins is a senior member of the Appropriations Committee.
The letter comes after the Department of Energy (DOE) missed an important deadline to deliver information concerning state allocations to WAP grantees. Persistent delays in this guidance could impact critical funding for states whose WAP programs begin in the early spring. The Weatherization Assistance Program helps lower energy costs for low-income families, seniors, veterans and individuals with disabilities by making energy efficiency modifications to their homes.
“We appreciate the commitment you made on April 11, 2018, before the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Energy and Water Development to fund WAP consistent with Congressional intent and urge you to release these final guidance documents without delay,” the Senators wrote.
“The first step in the WAP funding process is the Department’s release of grant guidance and management information to assist grantees in developing state plans for the upcoming program year. In the enclosed memorandum dated September 25, 2018, DOE announced that this guidance was to be released on November 30, 2018. As of the date of this letter, DOE has failed to release these guidance documents or state allocations for FY 2019,” the Senators continued. “We urge DOE to release the FY 2019 WAP guidance and state allocations no later than December 7, 2018, in order to avoid unnecessary delays in services to low-income families and seniors who rely on the energy savings from this program.”
In their letter, the Senators highlighted that Congress provided a $6 million increase in funding for WAP through the annual appropriations bill that was signed into law earlier this fall and directed the Department of Energy to distribute the funds in a timely manner. The funding bill passed by the Senate Appropriations Committee also includes provisions from the Investing in State Energy Act, bipartisan legislation introduced by Senators Collins, Shaheen, Coons, and Reed, directing the Department of Energy to distribute grant awards to grantees no later than 60 days after funds are appropriated by Congress in order to prevent undue delays in distributing awards to state and local partners that implement energy initiatives.
The Senators’ letter can be read in full here.