Vt. panel OKs $8.8 million for heat help

MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) — A special Vermont state panel that has the authority to spend money when lawmakers aren't in session has approved $8.8 million in funding to help low-income residents heat their homes this winter.

It would be the second year in a row that the state has had to step up to fill in where the federal government has left off in funding for the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program, or LIHEAP.

The Vermont Emergency Board met Wednesday to approve state funding for the program, to alleviate concerns that while federal support is being level-funded, heating fuel costs are rising.

The Emergency Board is made up of the four legislative money committees, as well as the governor.