AUGUSTA — Maine officials say they’ve been told by the federal government that the state will receive a major reduction in heating assistance funding this season.

The Maine State Housing Authority said Tuesday it’s joining Maine’s congressional delegation in urging Congress to approve more funding for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program.

Maine Housing says the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services notified them last Friday that it should expect to receive $23 million to apply toward the program obligations, down from $55.6 million last year.

Maine Housing Executive Director Dale McCormick calls the reduction “devastating.” She says that with heating fuel costs already nearly $1 per gallon higher this year, that drastic of a reduction could prove to be tragic.