Cut to Home Heating Program Would Hurt Appalachia

President Obama’s new budget includes a proposed 50 percent cut in the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP). LIHEAP helps low-income families pay their utility bills and avoid getting their power shut off. Obama budget director Jacob Lew explained the rationale for the cut to CNN: “It's a program that's done an enormous amount of good to help people pay their bills. But in 2008, the reason it doubled from $2.5 [billion] to $5 billion was because of a rapid spike in energy prices and it was a way of addressing the fact that energy prices had gone up to a very, very high level,” Lew said.“Energy prices now are much more in line with where they were in 2008 before that price increase. And you know, we looked at the budget and we said we can't just level off at the new funding level,” he added. Huh? Here in Kentucky, many people use electricity for heat, and residential electricity rates are up 21 percent since 2008 according to the Energy Information Administration. A budget plan that proposes to increase investment in some areas can’t also shaft the poor in other areas.

Kristin Tracz

About Kristin Tracz

Kristin Tracz served MACED’s Research and Policy team from 2009-2012 working on clean energy policy, energy efficiency programs and the Appalachian Transition Initiative. She joined MACED after finishing her Master of Environmental Management degree at the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies. She now lives and works in Washington, DC.