Alaska governor Sarah Palin has rejected $28.6 million dollars in federal stimulus money for Alaska’s State Energy Program. However, Gov. Palin did accept all other federal stimulus money that her state is eligible for ($930 million). Palin’s rejection of the funds is founded in her opposition to strengthening state building codes and making energy efficiency and renewable energy top priorities when spending the money.
Although other governors have voiced opposition to the stimulus package, Gov. Palin is the only governor who has not signed a letter of reassurance to Steven Chu (US Energy Secretary) that her state intends to accept the funds and will comply with the policies associated with the money for state energy departments.
Governor Palin has argued that mandating a statewide energy building code throughout her region does not serve the interests of Alaskans due to the fact that once the federal funds are exhausted through initiating programs, state funds will be required to continue the new programs and activities. However, Palin did accept $28 million for home weatherization and home energy-efficiency programs.
Rejecting the additional $28.6 million for the State Energy Program will put Alaska behind other states in terms of adopting more stringent building codes to conserve energy. Additionally, the rejection of the federal stimulus money for energy delays progress towards state-driven initiatives to encourage utilities to develop incentives for residential and commercial customers to adopt energy efficiency practices.
Click here to read the assurance letter submitted by your state to Steven Chu.