(Washington, D.C.)– This week, U.S. Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Chris Coons (D-DE), Susan Collins (R-ME), and Jack Reed (D-RI) introduced the Investing in State Energy Act (S.1713). The bipartisan legislation would prevent unnecessary delays in the distribution of funds to the State grantees of the Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) and the State Energy Program (SEP).
“The Investing in State Energy Act would prevent interruptions in funding and enhance the WAP network’s ability to deliver critical weatherization services to hardworking families,” said Jenae Bjelland, the Executive Director of the National Association for State Community Services Programs (NASCSP). “This legislation would ensure that States can continue to build on the WAP’s 40 year record of success.”
Congress appropriated $228 million to the WAP in the FY 2017 omnibus; however, grant awards to states were held up by additional reviews imposed by the Trump administration. If states do no not receive funds by their scheduled program year start date, the WAP workforce could experience layoffs and eligible families could face delays in receiving services.
The Investing in State Energy Act would establish a mandatory deadline, directing the Department of Energy to distribute the full annual award amount of WAP and SEP funds to states, tribes and other direct grantees no later than 60 days after funds are appropriated by Congress.
The Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) has served over 7.4 million families, reducing their energy burden while making their homes healthier and safer. A recent evaluation by Oak Ridge National Laboratory found that WAP returns $4.10 in benefits for every dollar invested. The State Energy Program (SEP) provides grants directly to State Energy Offices to support energy projects, such as energy emergency planning and response, as well as infrastructure modernization through clean energy and energy efficiency. Both WAP and SEP were proposed for elimination under the Trump Administration’s FY 2018 budget. However, appropriators in both the House and Senate have rejected this effort and have included funding for WAP and SEP in their respective FY 2018 appropriations bills.
NASCSP represents the administrators of the Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) and Community Services Block Grant (CSBG) in all 50 states, DC, and five U.S. Territories. For more information visit www.nascsp.org
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