Albany, New York April 11, 2007– Before its Spring recess, the U.S. Senate directed the Energy Department to restore funding for local weatherization efforts that the Administration cut from its 2007 spending plan just as local crews were gearing up for the year.

The Bush Administration recently revised the Energy Department’s 2007 spending plan to cut the Weatherization Assistance Program by $38 million, or 16%. This change of plans would translate into a $60,000 cut to the local weatherization program managed by Albany Community Action Partnership (AlbanyCAP).

AlbanyCAP, with its skilled local weatherization crew, weather-proofs homes and upgrades heating and cooling systems for about 125 low-wage workers and retirees each year. The Department of Energy estimates these investments reduce energy use by 20 to 30 percent for at least two decades and lower home energy bills an average of $358 each year after the improvements are made.

After the Energy Department funding announcement, the Senate amended the Iraq war supplemental emergency spending bill, instructing the Secretary of Energy to restore the program to nearly 2006 levels using funds originally designed for this purpose. However, with the fate of the supplemental spending bill caught between the White House and Congress, the AlbanyCAP weatherization team is uncertain about how much of its mission can be accomplished.

“Until a few weeks ago, we were anticipating full funding for the weatherization program year, which began April 1,” said Kathleen Cloutier, Executive Director. “Our weatherization crews are ready to go, and we are prepared to weatherize 125 homes this year. Now we’re unsure how the federal funding situation will affect us. If these cuts are not reversed, there will be many disappointed families in Albany County who are currently on our weatherization waiting list.”

“We hope Congress will reverse this cut before the year moves very far,” said Cloutier. “We are grateful for the commitment of Senators Clinton and Schumer to the low-income energy consumers in our state. We appreciate that they tried to prevent these cuts, and we are confident they will do everything in their power to turn this bad decision around.”

Earlier this month, Clinton and Schumer signed a letter sent to Secretary of Energy Sam Bodman and Office of Management and Budget Director Rob Portman urging them to maintain or increase the Weatherization program as authorized in the 2005 Energy Policy Act.

AlbanyCAP, established in 1966 as Albany County Opportunity, Inc (ACOI) is a member of the Community Action Partnership, a national association of more than 1,000 agency members, and focuses on inspiring change in the community. The organization provides comprehensive support services to more than 6,000 county residents annually to improve their standard of living.

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