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Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand urges President Barack Obama to increase energy aid
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand Tuesday urged President Barack Obama to include more money in his next proposed budget to help pay for energy efficiency improvements in homes, businesses and government buildings.
At a news conference in Centereach, Gillibrand, a Democrat, said funding for Long Island under the Weatherization Assistance Program for lower income homeowners is being cut an estimated 37 percent from the last federal fiscal year to the current 2013 fiscal year, to about $2.4 million.
In Nassau and Suffolk, the program is administered by the Community Development Corp. of Long Island, at whose headquarters Gillibrand spoke. The group says it has a waiting list of 2,000 families eligible for help.
Oil, the primary heating fuel for Long Islanders, costs almost 5 percent more than at this time last year, averaging $4.237 per gallon on Long Island on Monday, according to the state.
“With winter here and temperatures plummeting, that means higher energy costs for families and businesses,” Gillibrand said. “During these tough economic times and in the wake of superstorm Sandy, many New Yorkers simply cannot afford this added strain on their budgets.”
Another, smaller program cited by Gillibrand provides federal funds for state agencies such as New York’s Energy Research and Development Authority for a broad range of activities to improve energy efficiency in workplaces and government buildings. That program faces cuts this year nationally from last year by as much as half, to $25 million. Local figures were not available.