Vermont Deep Freeze Dramatizes Need for Home Heating Aid

Sub-freezing low temperatures remain in the forecast for Vermont after an especially bitter cold snap set record lows across the state and underscored the need for home heating assistance. Some $200 million was sought under a crisis program, but President Bush has not released the funds. "That is unbelievable, unacceptable and unforgivable," said Senator Sanders.

Washington D.C. As a bitter cold snap plunged temperatures across Vermont to record lows and another frigid air mass moved into New England, Senator Bernard Sanders (I-Vt) today renewed his call on the Bush administration to release $200 million in emergency Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program funding. In a letter sent today to President Bush, Sanders called the holdup in heating assistance funds "unbelievable, unacceptable and unforgivable." No family should be forced to choose between heating their home and putting food on the table for their children," said Sanders, "and no senior citizen should have to decide between buying life-saving prescriptions and paying utility bills." Across Vermont this week, the coldest temperatures so far were recorded in Island Pond and East Haven, where the mercury fell to 35 below on Wednesday. Temperatures dropped to 18 below zero in Burlington on Wednesday morning and bottomed out at minus 24 in St. Johnsbury. According to published reports, the all-time Vermont March record low is 37 below, set March 4, 1938, in St. Albans. Forecasters predicted more extremely cold weather in Vermont and across New England as a new arctic cold front pushed more frigid air into the region. The combination of the advancing cold front, clear skies and new snow cover was expected to send temperatures plummeting record lows. The program provides critical help to 5.8 million senior citizens on fixed-incomes and low-income families with children, including approximately 20,000 households in Vermont.To listen to an audio clip from Bernie on this matter, click here.