WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senators Murkowski and Stevens and Congressman Young today announced that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services will release $3,558,253 to Alaska for the Low Income Housing Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP). This nationwide program is designed to help low-income families and senior citizens pay home energy costs. “The cost of energy is having a detrimental impact across the state, particularly in rural areas,” said Senator Murkowski. “This increase to LIHEAP will help the state provide assistance to more Alaskans during the critical winter months; however, I recognize we must find a more secure, long-term solution to this problem. I will continue to promote increasing energy supplies throughout the state through traditional and renewable sources.” “Alaskans continue to pay some of the highest energy costs in the nation and no one feels the impacts more than our state’s low-income families,” said Senator Stevens. “These LIHEAP funds provide needed short-term relief. Our state has enormous domestic energy potential. We need to find new and innovative ways to develop both renewable and fossil fuel energy resources and we will continue to work with the Administration to address the cost of energy in Alaska.” “I am very pleased to see Alaska getting the kind of assistance it unfortunately needs,” said Representative Young. “In a place where heating oil is now $6 a gallon and temperatures are regularly below zero, too many Alaskans are going without proper heat this winter because they cannot afford it. It would be nice to see the LIHEAP money apportioned more equally but I’d take assistance from Americans over Hugo Chavez any day. My hope is that one day we will finally tap into our God given resources and make our prosperous country energy independent. But until then, I appreciate the federal aid to those Alaskans that need it most, this cold winter.” As the prices of natural gas, heating oil, propane, and electricity continue to rise, home energy costs are increasingly unaffordable for millions of Americans, especially those living in rural areas. LIHEAP provides a vital safety net for low-income households, disabled individuals, and senior citizens in Alaska and throughout the nation. The program also helps low-income homeowners weatherize their homes to save energy and lower their energy expenses. Senators Stevens and Murkowski have been staunch supporters of increasing funds available for the LIHEAP program. In Alaska, LIHEAP is administered through the State Department of Health and Social Services. Additional information can be found by calling 1-888-804-6330 or visiting www.hss.state.ak.us/dpa/programs/hap/.