Lawmakers rush to find funding to ease the propane pinch - KTIV News 4 Sioux City IA: News, Weather and Sports

Lawmakers rush to find funding to ease the propane pinch

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SIOUX CITY, Iowa (KTIV) -

After reaching record highs, propane prices are starting to slide back down.  With more cold temperatures on the horizon, officials are worried about what's to come.

Friday, State Representatives Chris Hall and David Dawson unveiled their plan to make sure rural residents aren't left out in the cold.

They're introducing an emergency funding bill to funnel an extra one-million dollars to the low-income home energy assistance fund, or LIHEAP.

“It's very clear that we need to take quick action. I think that we want to make sure assistance is available for Iowans through the rest of winter because we're anticipating a cold February,” said Hall (D) Sioux City.

The cost of propane recently went from $1.42 to over $6.50 a gallon, which means the help people are getting isn't going far enough.

"Right now, for 200 gallons, say it's $5 a gallon. That's $1,000. Well, our award amount, the most we can give anyone is $650. So you see, we can't fill the tank,” explained the executive director of the Community Action Agency of Woodbury County, Jean Logan. Community Action Agencies across Iowa distribute the LIHEAP funds.

LIHEAP is a federal program targeting the most vulnerable for heating assistance.

Last year, the state of Iowa received 51-million dollars for the program. More than 85-thousand Iowa households received LIHEAP funds. Twenty-eight-percent were elderly, and 94% of those receiving assistance were not on welfare.

A state program that's been used in the aftermath of floods and tornados has been activated by Iowa's Governor to help propane customers.

Once a county declares a state of emergency, people living up to 200% of the poverty line will be able to apply for financial assistance.

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