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Following energy issues in the state of Connecticut and beyond.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Murphy Turns Up The Heat On Boehner, Pelosi Over Federal Heating Aid Cuts

Connecticut Congressman Chris Murphy, D-5, sent letters Friday to House Speaker John Boehner and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi arguing against the inclusion of significant cuts to the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) in a year-end appropriations bill.

Congressman Chris Murphy
The cuts contained in H.R. 2055, the Consolidated Appropriations Act, would reduce LIHEAP funding by $1.2 billion in 2012. That represents a 25 percent reduction in funding which would mean an estimated $18.7 million in cuts to block grants for Connecticut, Murphy said in statement.

"A 2010 study found that Connecticut’s poorest households spent 70 percent of their annual income on their home energy bills," Murphy's letter said in part. "For the tens of thousands of Connecticut households that will apply for low-income energy assistance this winter, there’s no margin for error when it comes to staying warm."

Murphy told Boehner and Pelosi that during October, he circulated a brief survey about possible LIHEAP cuts at community action agencies across Connecticut where low-income energy assistance applications are accepted. More than 1,200 agencies responded to the survey and Murphy said 98 percent of the respondents reported they did not support cuts to LIHEAP funding during the current heating season.

Murphy said he has proposed a piece of legislation  - called the Guaranteed Energy Assistance Act  - to restore potential funding shortfalls for the program through a supplemental fee on oil drilling in federally-owned waters.

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