Markey, Warren call on Obama to release heating funds

Senators Edward Markey and Elizabeth Warren called on the Obama administration to release nearly $490 million in heating aid, including more than $13 million for Massachusetts, to help low-income families through the winter.

The money, part of $3.4 billion allocated to the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, or LIHEAP, has been stuck in Washington even as temperatures have plunged into the single digits. In Massachusetts, some 50,000 oil customers have begun to run out of aid. The state, where 200,000 households get heating aid, is due an additional $13.5 million under the federal program. It has received $121.7 million.

Many families are facing “a heating crisis this winter as a result of higher than anticipated energy prices combined with sustained cold temperatures,” the senators wrote in a letter to the Department of Health and Human Services. “Releasing the nearly $490 million in remaining LIHEAP funds for this year as soon as possible is imperative.