Wolf Administration Officials Detail Impacts of Proposed Cuts to U.S. Department of Energy

Cuts would affect low-income Pennsylvanians and job-growth opportunities

Harrisburg, PA – In a joint letter to U.S. Secretary of Energy Rick Perry, Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Acting Secretary Patrick McDonnell and Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) Secretary Dennis Davin outlined the impacts of proposed cuts to U.S. Department of Energy programs would have on Pennsylvania.

The elimination of funding for the Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) would end approximately $41 million for low-income families to improve energy efficiency and cut down on energy costs. Additionally, $1.5 million would be cut from the State Energy Program (SEP), which has been used to test new technologies and help businesses lower energy costs.

“Eliminating this funding cuts the legs out from underneath popular and effective programs that spur economic activity beyond what the line-item costs are,” said DEP Acting Secretary Patrick McDonnell. “Energy efficiency, especially for low-income families, is a way to cut expenses and reduce pollution from power generation.”

The WAP benefits more than 8,000 low-income families in Pennsylvania, ensuring adequate heating during cold Pennsylvania winters. In addition to energy efficiency, WAP funds were also being used to study long-term health impacts of radon in homes. High incidence of radon gas in homes occurs in 49 of Pennsylvania’s 67 counties.

Cuts to the SEP would curtail several ongoing projects, ranging from energy security and grid protection projects to job training for college graduates.

“These programs don’t just represent savings for residents – they are also important job-creation tools,” said DCED Secretary Dennis Davin. “The contractors that install the upgrades, the more than 300 businesses supplying the materials, and staff that oversee the program are all contributing to Pennsylvania’s economy.”

The letter can be viewed here.

MEDIA CONTACTS: Neil Shader, DEP, 717-705-3564
Heidi Havens, DCED, 717-783-1132


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