BOSTON (Legal Newsline) — Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey announced July 31 that she has joined a coalition of 35 attorneys general and state consumer advocate agencies in drafting a letter to Congress about low-income energy assistance programs.

“Each year, tens of thousands of Massachusetts families struggle to make ends meet and come up with the money to pay their energy bills,” Healey said. “We simply cannot allow Congress to slash funding for these critical programs that allow some of our most vulnerable residents to stay warm in the cold winter months.”

The coalition believes the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) and Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) are crucial to each member’s state. The coalition opposes the proposed elimination or reduction of the programs’ funding within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Service’s Office of Community.

“Since 1981, LIHEAP has helped millions of vulnerable residents retain essential utility service, thereby protecting public health and safety, reducing homelessness and ensuring the stability of utility revenues,” the letter states. “In fiscal year 2017 alone, it is expected about 6.1 million households nationwide will receive heating and cooling assistance through LIHEAP.”

Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan led the coalition in the letter. Involved in the coalition were attorneys general and consumer advocate agencies from Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, the District of Columbia, Florida, Hawaii, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, Mississippi, Montana, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Utah, Vermont, Washington, West Virginia and Wyoming.

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