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Energy and Green Intiatives, Legislative Updates, Weatherization

Weatherization Advocates Testify in Congressional Hearing

For Immediate Release

Media Contact: Eric Behna (ebehna@nascsp.org, 202-624-5996)

 

May 3, 2017- Washington D.C. – Several advocates testified before the House Energy and Water Appropriations subcommittee today in support of fiscal year 2018 funding for various federal energy efficiency programs. In March, the Trump Administration released its budget blueprint which slashed funding to the Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE), zeroing out both the Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) and the State Energy Program (SEP).

The National Association for State Community Services Programs (NASCSP) was represented at the hearing by its Energy Services Director, Ray Judy. In his testimony he asked the subcommittee to fund the WAP at a level of $230 million, an increase of $15 million from its FY 2016 appropriation. “This funding level is essential to support this truly effective state grant program on a nationwide scale,” said Mr. Judy. Mr. Judy’s testimony noted that in addition to energy efficiency benefits, the WAP also produces significant health and safety benefits. An Oak Ridge National Laboratory evaluation found that every $1 invested in weatherization returns $2.78 in health and safety benefits alone. Residents of weatherized homes report fewer asthma symptoms, fewer hospitalizations, and fewer missed days of work. Mr. Judy’s full written testimony is available here.

Ken Robinette, Chief Executive Officer of the South Central Community Action Partnership (SCCAP) also testified in support of WAP funding. His organization employs a crew of 14 technicians and provides weatherization services in the mostly rural counties that make up Subcommittee Chairman Mike Simpson’s Idaho district.  Mr. Robinette highlighted how the WAP supports jobs and small businesses across the supply chain. “We contract with over 10 independent contractors in the construction trades, such as HVAC and electrical, and purchase our weatherization materials and supplies from 24 local vendors and 11 major dealers,” said Robinette. His testimony also described the successful partnerships between the Idaho WAP and local utility companies, which leverage additional funds to serve more households.

Two advocates also demonstrated the connection between weatherization and affordable housing in highly urban areas like New York City. David Hepinstall of the Association for Energy Affordability detailed how weatherization brings down multifamily building operating costs, preventing rent increases and reducing housing instability. “As low-income tenants struggle to live in our great city the Weatherization program is more important today than ever, in helping to preserve affordable housing for low-income families, especially children, seniors, and individuals with disabilities,” said Dan Rieber, Weatherization Director of Northern Manhattan Improvement Corporation. Rieber also noted that his organization alone has 800 units in over 20 buildings on their waiting list.

Several other organizations including the Alliance to Save Energy, E4 The Future, the National Association of State Energy Officials (NASEO), and the Home Performance Coalition all mentioned the critical need for robust WAP funding in their testimony.

The Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) began in 1976 and serves low-income families in all 50 states, DC, five U.S. territories, and three Native American tribes. NASCSP is the membership organization representing the State weatherization directors. For more information visit www.nascsp.org.

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