Maine Attorney General Janet Mills joined officials in 34 other states on Monday in urging members of Congress to preserve and expand the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program as well as the Weatherization Assistance Program in the 2018 federal budget.

In a letter submitted to Congress on Monday, attorneys general and public advocates emphasized the importance of LIHEAP and WAP to their states. They said they would oppose any attempt to eliminate or reduce funding within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Service’s budget.

“Since 1981, LIHEAP has helped millions of vulnerable residents retain essential utility service, thereby protecting public health and safety, reducing homelessness and ensuring the stability of utility revenues,” the letter to Congress says.

In 2016, more than 32,000 households in Maine received LIHEAP benefits totaling $21.3 million, according to a statement issued by Mills.

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