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                     Office of the Press Secretary
                        (Fayetteville, Arkansas)
For Immediate Release                                      July 25, 2000


President Clinton today directed the Department of Health and Human Services to release $41.75 million in Low Income Home Energy Assistance (LIHEAP) emergency funds for eight states that have been affected by the heat wave in the South and Southwest, and to help with fuel costs in Alaska in light of the recent fisheries disaster that has caused severe problems for low-income Alaskans.

The following Southern and Southwestern states will receive a total of $35 million: Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Texas. Temperatures in these eight states have been much higher than normal, posing grave risks to the elderly, the very young, the disabled and the ill.

States can use the funds to pay cooling bills, buy air conditioners, or provide other means of assistance to help low-income families and individuals. The $35 million is allocated to the eight states that have been most affected by the extreme heat, based on the severity of the heat wave and the number of low-income households in the state.

Today's LIHEAP release also includes $6.75 million for low-income individuals in Alaska who have been affected by the recent fisheries disaster. Record low salmon runs have prompted Governor Tony Knowles to declare a disaster for parts of Western Alaska. Low-income Alaskans living in this region depend on salmon both for subsistence and for their primary source of income. Because these low-income Alaskans are unable to purchase fuel supplies in the summer season, as they normally would, the Administration is releasing these funds today, rather than waiting until later in the year when frozen rivers and other transportation problems associated with extreme cold make the cost of shipping fuel to this region far higher.

LIHEAP helps eligible families pay the costs of cooling their homes in the summer, and heating and insulating their homes in the winter. This is the first release of LIHEAP emergency funds made available under the FY 2000 Emergency Supplemental Act. The Emergency Supplemental Act replenished the emergency fund which had been exhausted in response to oil price increases this past winter.

The state allocations follow (these totals include funds that HHS will provide directly to tribes in these states): Alabama, $5,852,502; Alaska, $6,750,000; Arkansas $994,885; Georgia, $4,679,843; Louisiana, $4,215,913; Mississippi $2,812,167; South Carolina, $1,250,024; Tennessee, $826,224; Texas, $14,368,442.