April 04, 2019

Manchin Joins Bipartisan Bill To Enhance And Reauthorize Weatherization Assistance Program

Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) joined a group of bipartisan Senators to re-introduce legislation to strengthen and reauthorize the heart of the federal government’s energy efficiency strategy—the Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP). The Weatherization Enhancement and Local Energy Efficiency Investment and Accountability Act of 2019 would reauthorize the program through 2024. The bill was also sponsored by U.S. Senators Chris Coons (D-DE), Susan Collins (R-ME), Jack Reed (D-RI) and Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH). A companion bill is being led in the House by U.S. Representatives Paul Tonko (D-NY-20), Bobby Rush (D-IL-1), and Marcy Kaptur (D-OH-9).

“For West Virginians, the Weatherization Assistance Program provides important resources to make sure every family has a warm and safe home during our winter months. Weatherizing our homes reduces energy use and cuts costs for families across our state. This common sense legislation has bipartisan support and I look forward to working with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to ensure this effective program is reauthorized,” said Senator Manchin. 

This year, West Virginia will receive $3.6 million to support insulation improvements, air sealing, heating system repairs and other efficiency measures. Since 2010, West Virginia has received over $30 million from the Weatherization Assistance Program, resulting in the weatherization of over 8,000 homes and supporting approximately 200 jobs.

For over 40 years, the Department of Energy’s Weatherization Assistance Program has assisted low-income families that lack the resources to make their homes more energy efficient. It supports 8,500 jobs and is responsible for energy efficiency upgrades in millions of homes across the country. For every dollar invested by the program, $4.50 is generated in combined energy savings and non-energy benefits such as local economic growth.

The Weatherization Enhancement and Local Energy Efficiency Investment and Accountability Act of 2019 would:

  • Reauthorize and extend the Weatherization Assistance Program through 2024
  • Facilitate the use of renewable energy technologies in weatherization projects
  • Allow the Department of Energy to take health and safety benefits into account when carrying out the program
  • Ensure best practices and training among weatherization contractors
  • Create a competitive innovation grant program for non-profits that have a track record of success to access the program
  • Allow homes to be reweatherized once 15 years have elapsed since the last weatherization and clarify that related services, such as education, installation evaluations, or non-Federally funded services, may be provided at any time
  • Encourage the Department of Energy to provide maximum flexibility when weatherization funding is being used to leverage additional private sector funding

To view the full bill text click here.