Calls for Continuation of Weatherization Assistance Program, State Energy Program
Colorado U.S. Senator Michael Bennet today pushed for robust weatherization programs to help families make energy-efficiency upgrades and save money.
In a letter to Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Energy and Water Development Chairman Diane Feinstein (D-CA) and Ranking Member Lamar Alexander (R-TN), Bennet, along with 23 senators, called for resources for the Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) and the State Energy Program (SEP) to meet or exceed fiscal year (FY) 2011 levels.
“As our economy continues to recover, we need to use our resources wisely and make smart investments that can help Colorado families and employers save money and get people back to work improving energy efficiency in homes and businesses,” said Bennet. “These important programs can also help reduce our energy usage and boost the energy efficiency and construction sectors.”
“The Colorado Weatherization Program has achieved much success in utilizing the ARRA funding in an effective and efficient manner,” said TJ Deora, director of the Governor’s Energy Office. “This program has been recognized nationally for providing some of the highest quality weatherization services. I am proud of the work that local agencies are doing to support job creation, energy savings and community investment to be achieved here in Colorado.”
The Weatherization Assistance Program helps low-income families, seniors, and individuals with disabilities save money by improving the energy efficiency of their homes. The State Energy Program allows states to assist with the development of energy efficiency and renewable energy projects, and similar to WAP, each dollar of SEP funding produces significant returns.
Full text of the letter is included below.
Dear Chairman Feinstein and Ranking Member Alexander:
We write to thank you for your support for the Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) and the State Energy Program (SEP) in the Fiscal Year 2012 Energy and Water Appropriations bill. While many of us requested a higher funding level for WAP, as the Senate continues its consideration of the final Fiscal Year 2012 Energy and Water Appropriations bill, we urge you to fund WAP and SEP at no less than the Senate-reported levels, which would maintain level funding for each program at Fiscal Year 2011 levels.
The Weatherization Assistance Program helps low-income families, seniors, and individuals with disabilities by improving the energy efficiency of their homes, freeing up finite resources for other essentials like food and medicine. A study by Oak Ridge National Laboratory found that for every $1 invested in the program, weatherization returns $2.51 in benefits to the household and society. In addition, weatherizing homes under this program saves $437 in annual utility bills for the average household.
The State Energy Program allows states to assist with the development of energy efficiency and renewable energy projects, and similar to WAP, each dollar of SEP funding produces significant returns. Another study also by the Oak Ridge National Laboratory found that each $1 of SEP federal funds are leveraged by $10.71 of state and private funds, and result in $7.22 in energy cost savings.
We appreciate your efforts in confronting our country’s deficit and your prioritization of programs that promote job growth and assist with the nation’s economic recovery, and we understand the challenges of developing the final appropriations bill in a constrained fiscal environment. We believe that investments in programs like WAP and SEP that reduce costs for both individuals and businesses, and create greater economic competitiveness for our nation, should be maintained.
Thank you for your consideration of this request, and we look forward to continuing to work with you on this important matter.