Senators Stevens and Murkowski Welcome Funding for Heating Assistance in Alaska

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senator Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) and Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) today praised the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) for releasing $1.7 million to Alaska for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP). This nationwide program is designed to help low-income families and senior citizens pay home energy costs. Today’s allocation represents a $320,000 increase over the total funding distributed to Alaska last year. “Last winter, some Alaskans were paying over $10 a gallon for heating oil,” said Senator Stevens. “To address this growing concern, I have worked with my Senate colleagues on both sides of the aisle to ensure LIHEAP is adequately funded. This allocation will have an immediate impact in Alaska, but it is imperative that we look beyond the short term. Congress and the State must continue to explore new and innovative ways to get rural Alaskans access to affordable energy.” “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. Senator Stevens and I will continue to promote increasing energy supplies throughout the state through traditional and renewable sources.” 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/.