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$38.7 million in home energy funds for Vermont released today

BURLINGTON The Vermont congressional delegation announced today that Vermonts share of federal funding for home heating assistance this winter will be $38.7 million. The total is $3.7 million more than was projected for Vermont even after Congress doubled funds for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program. Last year, Vermont received $17 million in federal funds and the state contributed $6.3 million. The extra assistance at a time of rising home heating bills was based on a bill introduced in June by Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and cosponsored by Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.). Representative Peter Welch (D-Vt.) sponsored companion legislation in the House. Sanders said, Our delegation worked hard for this because without the added help, people in Vermont and other cold-weather states would have gone cold this winter and some may have frozen to death. At a time when the economy is getting worse and fuel prices are higher than last winter, this good news is welcome. It means that many more Vermonters will be able to participate in the program. Leahy said, Braced by these funds, we now are heading into winter in a stronger position. This will help relieve the burden on thousands of Vermont households. Welch said, High home-heating prices threaten the well-being of too many Vermonters struggling to get by in these tough economic times, said Welch. This boost in funding will provide a critical lifeline to those Vermonters most in need. The $38.7 million dollars includes $25.6 million in funding based on a formula; $10.6 million in contingency funding at the discretion of the administration; and the $2.5 million the state already received in emergency funding in September.

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