Breaking: WAP Reauthorization Bill Filed in the Senate

Alice Gaston –Program Assistant, Energy Services–

NASCSP learned that the Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) reauthorization was filed today as an amendment to the Shaheen-Portman Energy Savings and Industrial Competitiveness Act being considered in the Senate.

The current authorization for WAP expired September 30, 2012. NASCSP has been working since then on a reauthorization bill, which was introduced in the Senate last month by Senators Coons (D-DE); Collins (R-ME); and Reed (D-RI), S. 1213. The bill as introduced contains an authorization of $450M for each of the next five years for WAP and a separate authorization of $45M for each year for a competitive grants program which would enable other non-profits and community action agencies to apply for DOE funding for innovative approaches to weatherization. This provision helps to strengthen our network by broadening the base of political support for WAP, which is perilously thin on Capitol Hill. NASCSP has been working with various energy efficiency coalitions and other non-profits to reach out to legislators, particularly to Republicans who have not historically supported WAP.

The competitive grants provision does not create an alternate delivery mechanism for weatherization services. NASCSP submitted the following language to amend the bill: “building on the success of the existing program without replacing the existing WAP network or creating a separate delivery mechanism for basic WAP services.” This explicitly highlights the importance of the base program and more clearly states the competitive grants provision is not intended to replace or be an alternate to the current delivery mechanism.

The organizations working closely with the sponsoring Senators also agreed to other improvements regarding the details of competitive grants, including language on the funding level triggers necessary for the competitive grants to kick-in. We are very pleased with the success of our efforts to help build a coalition of more than 25 energy related organizations supporting the bill.

Our special thanks to Senator Coons for his leadership in reauthorization efforts for WAP!