SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska


Governor Urged to Accept $28.6 Million in State Energy Program Funds
Money Designed to Address Alaska's Energy Issues
Should Not Go to Other States Say Senators


May 04, 2009

Senators Bill Wielechowski (D ­ Anchorage) and Lesil McGuire (R­ Anchorage), Co-chairs of the Senate Resources Committee, today strongly urged Governor Palin to accept money sorely needed to address Alaska's ongoing energy crisis.

Last week, the Governor announced her decision to forfeit receipt of $28.6 million in State Energy Program stimulus funds designed to help reduce energy consumption and costs throughout the state. Alaska was the only state to miss the initial deadline to apply for State Energy Program funds, but can still meet a May 12th deadline.

"It makes no sense to turn these funds away when they will just be given to other states," said Senator Wielechowski. "Alaskans need this money far more than residents of many other states with milder climates and substantially lower energy costs. People around the state are hurting and this money could help."

Alaska faces some of the highest energy costs in the country, and State Energy Program funds can be used for energy efficiency and renewable energy projects, collectively saving the state, homeowners, and businesses millions of dollars.

State Energy Program funds go hand in hand with addressing statewide energy challenges and implementing energy solutions, issues in which the Governor has expressed interest.

The Governor's rejection of these funds is a result of the requirement for the state to meet energy efficiency standards by adopting an energy code within eight years. This session, Senators Wielechowski and McGuire introduced legislation creating a statewide energy code designed to meet the needs of Alaskans in both rural and urban areas of the state, without growing government.

"With 8 years, we have time to do this right and meet the energy needs of Alaskans while maintaining our Alaskan way of life," said Senator McGuire. Ninety-two percent of Alaskans live in communities with populations greater than 2500, where an energy code would apply. Of those, 67% live in communities with building codes in place and 46% live in communities with energy codes already in place.

Many structures built in rural communities are built with public funds through agencies like the Alaska Housing Finance Corporation, which already have an energy code requirement. Denali Commission funded projects also incorporate energy efficiency standards into their design. Fairbanks, Palmer, Juneau, Anchorage and Skagway have energy codes in place. Ketchikan, Soldotna and Wrangell are in the process of introducing energy codes. In addition, the Alaska State Home Building Association has a resolution supporting a statewide building code that would include an energy code.

Cabins without central heating and/or plumbing would be exempt from the code, as would communities which are already exempt from the plumbing code. Even with these exemptions, Alaska could easily meet the requirements for accepting these federal stimulus funds.

"I hope the Governor will reconsider accepting State Energy Program funds rather than allowing funds designated for Alaska to benefit other states," said Senator McGuire.

"We look forward to working with the Administration on a state energy plan and hope the governor will recognize that these State Energy Program funds go hand in hand with the very energy plan we are putting together for the state and reverse this decision," added Senator Wielechowski.



Source of News:

Senate Bipartisan Working Group


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Stories In The News
Ketchikan, Alaska