A blower door test is one of the many diagnostic features employed by our program to ensure the highest energy savings possible for those we serve.

Monday, February 11, 2008

President’s Budget Gives America’s Families the Cold Shoulder

Budget Eliminates Funding for Low Income Weatherization Program, Cuts Energy Assistance

Washington, DC – Advocates for energy conservation and America’s low-income families were disappointed and “left out in the cold” last Monday when the President announced his budget for Fiscal Year 2009. Despite measurable returns and numerous benefits to both the economy and the environment, the Administration and the Department of Energy have asked Congress to eliminate all funding for the Weatherization Assistance Program. The Administration as also requested that the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) receive a 22% cut to $1.7 billion in formula funding and $300 million emergency funding.

Funded through the Department of Energy and administered by state governments and a local network of 900 local agencies, the Weatherization Assistance Program is one of the largest energy efficiency programs in the country and provides invaluable assistance to improve the energy efficiency of dwellings occupied by vulnerable low-income households, including the elderly, the disabled and families with children.

These devastating cuts to the WAP have come in the wake of a series of proposals by officials inside the Department to radically restructure the program in lieu of continuing its effective investments in these homes. Vaughn Clark, Director of the Office of Community Development for the State of Oklahoma and Chair of the National Association for State Community Services Programs expressed his concern regarding the President’s decision to reduce funding for these programs. “It is baffling that the Administration would dismiss a program that is currently producing substantial energy savings for our nation and reducing our energy demand by the equivalent of 18 million barrels of oil a year; a program that creates a 25% to 30% reduction in primary heating fuel use for the low income households we serve.”

“And it is highly irresponsible that the Administration and the Department would eliminate WAP and cut LIHEAP programs now when our nation is nearing a recession and thousands of low income families across the nation are facing no heat situations” Clark stated.

The Department of Energy has also failed to enact a National Evaluation of the program that was previously agreed to by the Office of Management and Budget and the states. Representatives from across the network continue to urge the Department to conduct this evaluation to reaffirm the successful metrics for the program.

“A national evaluation would eliminate any perceived justification the Department of Energy might have for cutting altering, or dismantling this critical program. We are confident the results of the evaluation will both confirm our previous data that shows the program as extremely cost effective and will recommend ways in which we can make it even better – for the low-income families we serve and the country,” Clark said.

For more information on the Weatherization Assistance Program, please visit http://www.waptac.org.


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