Today, U.S. Sens. Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken (D-Minn.) continued their fight to help Minnesotans lower their energy bills by urging President Obama to increase funding for key programs that helps families make their homes energy efficient.
In a letter to the President on Friday, Sens. Klobuchar and Franken pressed him to increase funding for weatherization programs that cut the costs of energy bills for Minnesotans. Specifically, Sens. Klobuchar and Franken urged the President to increase funding for the Weatherization Assistance and State Energy Programs. The Weatherization Assistance Program helps low-income families save money by improving the energy efficiency of their homes.
Weatherization has the potential to save households hundreds of dollars per year on their heating and cooling bills. The State Energy Program allows states to assist with the development of energy efficiency and renewable energy projects to produce energy savings.
"In today's tough economy, the rising cost of heating a home is placing an increased strain on countless families and seniors," said Sen. Klobuchar. "Improving energy efficiency will mean greater energy savings and more cash in Minnesotans' pockets at the end of the month."
"As temperatures drop, the amount of money Minnesotans spend on their energy bills is going to go up," said Sen. Franken. "The best way to lower costs is to improve energy efficiency. That is why I am urging the President to support key initiatives that will help families and businesses make their homes and buildings more energy efficient. These initiatives also support jobs and assist the nation's economic recovery-a win, win for everyone."
The bipartisan letter to the President was also signed by 35 of Sen. Klobuchar and Franken's Senate colleagues.
The full text of Sens. Klobuchar and Franken's letter to the President can be read below.
Dear Mr. President:
We are writing to request your support for two key programs within your Fiscal Year 2014 (FY14) budget proposal: the Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) and the State Energy Program (SEP). Specifically, we urge you to ensure that your budget submission provides no less than $210 million for WAP and $50 million for SEP.
Since 1976, the Weatherization Assistance Program has helped more than 7 million low-income families save money by improving the energy efficiency of their homes, freeing up finite resources for other essentials like food and medicine. Indeed, weatherization saves households on average up to $400 per year on their heating and cooling bills. In addition, this successful program supports American construction, small business, and manufacturing jobs, and a study by Oak Ridge National Laboratory found that for every $1 invested in the program, weatherization returns $2.51 in benefits to households and society.
Restoring funding for WAP to $210 million will ensure that all states have the resources to help reduce the burden of energy prices on low-income families.
The State Energy Program allows states to assist with the development of energy efficiency and renewable energy projects, and effectively works with the private and public sectors to produce significant returns. Another study, also by the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, found that every dollar of SEP federal funds are leveraged by $10.71 of state and private funds, and result in $7.22 in annual energy savings. We respectfully request that this program be funded at $50 million.
We recognize the challenges on the discretionary budget for FY14, and believe in the prioritization of programs that support jobs, assist with the nation's economic recovery, and help meet important goals like improving efficiency and reducing pollution. In this spirit, we believe that investments in programs like WAP and SEP that reduce costs for individuals, businesses, and society, and create greater economic competitiveness for our nation, should be maintained.
Thank you for your attention to and consideration of these important requests.