St. Paul, MN -- On the first day of the 2014 legislative session, the House voted to approve $20 million in additional funding for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), which was scheduled to run out of funding on March 1st, 2014. The program has been under strain this winter due to unusually cold conditions and a propane shortage that caused a dramatic price spike. Representative John Petersburg, R-Waseca, was a co-sponsor on the bill, which passed unanimously by a vote of 133-0.
"This cold winter, combined with the propane shortage has created uncertainty and financial strain for Minnesota families," Petersburg said. "It's encouraging to see both sides come together to approve this much-needed funding to make sure Minnesota families can continue to heat their homes. I hope to see additional solutions as session continues to address the long-term problems that caused the propane shortage in the first place to ensure this never happens again."
The propane shortage was caused by a combination of an unusually wet grain harvest season, severe winter weather and temperatures, and a pipeline change that reduced the volume of available propane. The bill is expected to be passed by the Senate, and will be sent to the Governor to be signed into law.