A pair of U.S. Representatives from Illinois are calling for Congress to pass emergency funding in the wake of the natural gas crisis.
13th District Congressman Rodney Davis and 18th District Congressman Darin LaHood sent a letter to Congressional leadership today urging the passage of a bipartisan emergency appropriation for communities who faced high natural gas prices during recent severe weather.
In the letter, the Congressmen cited the price per unit of natural gas increasing as much as 15 times the cost of what it was weeks ago and say “as the COVID-19 pandemic persists and local communities continue to recover, many are now faced with dauntingly high energy bills, including many that [they] represent.
On Thursday, Davis told WLDS news the sudden surge in natural gas pricing has left many communities that were already struggling in an even bigger financial crunch.
“It’s really hitting the municipal providers the most, and those smaller communities are the ones who can least afford it. That’s’ why the first step was getting that disaster declaration from the feds, and then we will fight the fight as we move forward.”
Davis and LaHood say immediate action is necessary to prevent further compounded financial damages from the Midwest to Texas. They say they are pleased that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has opened an investigation into natural gas markets and the spike in prices, however it does not resolve the financial woes local communities now find themselves in.
They say “while traditionally the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) provides disaster relief for emergency protective measures relating directly to a declared emergency, it does not have authority to provide relief for price variations in markets. Therefore, bipartisan emergency disaster supplemental appropriations are necessary. “
the letter goes on to say “if Congressional leadership fails to address this issue, we run the risk of derailing any amount of progress that our local communities have made in their COVID-19 recovery efforts.”