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Letter: Energy assistance bill was worthy of support

On the first day of the 2014 Legislative Session, the Minnesota House approved legislation that helps address the propane supply shortage that is occurring throughout the state.

Lawmakers agreed to appropriate $20 million to the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LI-HEAP) in order to help our poorest residents who continue their struggle to heat their homes thanks to the skyrocketing costs of LP gas. I supported the measure.

As Minnesota’s frigid winter continues, propane gas continues to be used at a high rate by customers who need to keep their homes and their livestock warm. Our hope is that those who are most in need this winter will be able to utilize this state assistance.

After Governor Dayton expanded the LIHEAP program to include an additional 120,000 households, and increased the maximum crisis payment per applicant from $500 to $1,000, demand for the assistance has continued to rise. The program was expected to run out of money by March 1, meaning new funding was needed in order to keep the program solvent.

It’s good that the House was able to approve this short-term fix, but we must come up with a plan that addresses our propane needs in the future. Our residents should be able to accurately plan for the cost to heat their homes, and I am confident there are solutions that will work against soaring prices. I look forward to working with members of both parties and Governor Dayton on a propane supply solution this session.

District 22A Rep.

Joe Schomacker

R-Luverne

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