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WASHINGTON, D.C. – Alaska U.S. Sens. Lisa Murkowski and Ted Stevens and U.S. Rep. Don Young today announced the release of another $1.69 million in federal funds to help low-income Alaskans buy fuel for the coming winter heating season.

Alaska has received a total of $16.8 million in federal funds matching a similar amount of state spending for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP). Roughly 14,400 households in Alaska have applied for aid through the Alaska State Department of Health and Social Services.

“While crude oil prices may be coming down globally, Alaskans in rural villages have to buy their winter fuel supplies in late summer while prices are still at record highs,” said Murkowski. “LIHEAP assistance is vital to many Alaskans unable to afford $9 a gallon fuel prices to keep their families warm. Increased aid at both the federal and state level is absolutely necessary.”

“I have been a longtime supporter of the LIHEAP program and am pleased to see the Administration release the remainder of this fiscal year’s contingency funds,” said Senator Stevens. “This will provide relief to low income Alaskan families who are suffering from skyrocketing energy prices.”

“This has been a rough year for Alaskans, and I’m pleased to see any and all help given to our State,” said Rep. Young. “Alaska is suffering from some of the highest fuel prices in the country, and dealing with some of the coldest temperatures in the country. This assistance comes right in time for winter and will hopefully provide some relief to the many Alaskan families that are trying to keep their homes warm, and food on the table, amidst skyrocketing fuel prices.”

LIHEAP funds are available to households whose incomes do not exceed 150 percent of the national poverty level. Murkowski, a member of the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, which oversees the LIHEAP program, has supported legislation to boost LIHEAP spending next year.