WASHINGTON, July 17 /EMWNews/ -- Sens. John Kerry and Olympia Snowe introduced the "Emergency Energy Response Act of 2008" today to directly address soaring energy costs that are hurting consumers and breaking state budgets. The bill would create a grant program to help states develop and implement response plans to address the rising costs of heating oils, natural gas, and diesel, as well as other energy costs. "Every single day, working people face increased economic hardship as energy costs continue to rise. Today more than 100,000 Massachusetts households are still struggling to pay their utility bills from last winter and face possible utility shutoffs," said Sen. Kerry. "States should be empowered to help these homeowners, consumers, and businesses." "As energy costs continue to escalate, we need to utilize every means available to provide relief to those who are in danger of not being able to afford to heat their homes or pay their energy bills," said Sen. Snowe. "Working with the states, we can lay the groundwork now to have assistance in place to help our families, seniors and small businesses overcome the potentially devastating impacts caused by rising energy prices." Grants to pay the Federal share of the response plan would be allocated by Secretary of Energy based on a formula that weighs state population and per capita energy costs. The bill restricts the federal cost share of the program to not exceed 50% of each state's plan. The bill authorizes $1 billion a year from 2009 to 2013.
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