WASHINGTON, D.C. (Legal Newsline) - The state attorneys general of New England are worried about the cost of home heating in the coming months and are suggesting federal action.
Seven attorneys general wrote House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid on Thursday, asking for their help in securing more funds for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program.
The group says the cost for heating oil is expected to rise by at least 25 percent this year and natural gas is projected to rise 17 percent. The group adds that an estimated 5.8 million households received energy assistance last fiscal year.
"As a result, funding LIHEAP is more important than ever to ensure that millions of Americans are safe from utility shut offs and empty oil tanks," the letter said.
Signing the letter were Massachusett's Martha Coakley, Maine's Steven Rowe, Connecticut's Richard Blumenthal, Vermont's William Sorrell, New Hampshire's Kelly Ayotte and Rhode Island's Patrick Lynch.
Joining the New Englanders in the letter were Pennsylvania's Tom Corbett and New Jersey's Anne Milgram.
"One positive development of our nation's current and extreme market volatility is a long-overdue examination of government's real role in our economic system," Lynch said.
"If government programs should exist for anything, they should exist for people like the people who depend on LIHEAP assistance.
"As our federal government continues to intervene on Wall Street, bailing out sinking financial-services giants whose demise could chill our economy even further, it shouldn't forget about the hundreds of thousands of families in the Northeast, and the millions of families across America, who need help to keep from freezing this winter."
From Legal Newsline: Reach John O'Brien by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.