Governor Urged to Accept $28.6
Million in State Energy Program
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
"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
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
"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.
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