As reported in the June 30 issue of NEON, in a letter to House and Senate Appropriations leaders, the Petroleum Marketers Association of America (PMAA), New England Fuel Institute (NEFI), Oilheat Manufactures Association (OMA) and the National Association of Oil & Energy Service Professionals (OESP) called on Congress to reject the 50 percent funding cut proposed by the president’s FY2012 budget. They urged full funding for the program to the $5.1 billion level provided in fiscal years 2009 and 2010.
“While our nation faces significant fiscal challenges and the LIHEAP program is not perfect, if the president’s proposed cuts are realized more than three million households will lose fuel assistance benefits,” the group said. They also cited the impact the cuts could have on the economic recovery. “According to Moody’s economist Mark Zandi and Princeton University Professor Alan S. Blinder, every dollar in LIHEAP benefits generates $1.13 in economic activity.”
The letters said that given the fact that home heating oil dealers and service professionals deliver products and services “directly to the doorsteps of their customers,” they have seen the need firsthand.
“For lower income families with young children, disabled individuals and the elderly, federal and state fuel assistance programs provide some measure of relief in these difficult times.”
The groups also urged full funding for the federal Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP), which provides states with funds for weatherization programs for low income homeowners. “Vulnerable Americans are also in need of opportunities to make their homes more efficient, lower their energy costs and rely less on fuel assistance,” they said.
House and Senate appropriations committees are currently finalizing appropriations legislation for Labor, Health & Human Services and Education appropriations, which provides funds to LIHEAP and Energy & Water appropriations, which provides funds to WAP.
A range of support material can be accessed at the NEFI Web site: www.nefi.com