SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska


Senators Urge Acceptance of $28.6 Million Based on New Information
Alaska May Already Comply with Requirements
to Accept $28.6 Million in State Energy Program Funds


May 13, 2009

Senators Bill Wielechowski (D-Anchorage) and Lesil McGuire (R-Anchorage), Co-chairs of the Senate Resources Committee, on Monday revealed new information to Governor Sarah Palin, again urging her to accept $28.6 million in energy funds to address Alaska's ongoing energy crisis and to position Alaska as a world leader in renewable energy.

Last Friday, legislators received new information from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), confirming that Alaska can meet State Energy Program funding requirements through local energy standards, rather than a "one-size-fits-all" statewide code. In fact, Missouri submitted a letter to DOE stating that it will meet the requirements through local codes and is now set to receive its share of the funds.

"This new information should satisfy the Governor's concerns about a universal energy code," Senator Wielechowski said. "Alaska may already meet the requirements for receipt of these funds on local levels throughout the state, and local codes are enough to satisfy the Department of Energy. It is clear that many communities across Alaska have energy codes and feel these funds are important."

New data from municipalities and communities across the state indicate that Alaska is most likely already meeting the State Energy Program funding requirements. Of the 92% of Alaskans who live in communities with populations of 2,500 or more, 52% live in communities with energy codes in place and 68% live in communities with building codes in place. Communities with energy codes include Anchorage, Fairbanks, Juneau, Nome, Petersburg, Palmer, Seward, Valdez and Skagway. Ketchikan, Soldotna and Wrangell are in the process of adopting energy codes. The Mat-Su Borough does not have an official energy code, yet most homes there are built to meet five star energy rating standards, according to Rich Boothby, Fire Code Official for the Mat-Su Borough.

Including structures funded by the Alaska Housing Finance Corporation and the Denali Commission, Alaska is very likely already in compliance with the State Energy Program funding requirement that 90% of new and renovated building spaces meet energy efficiency standards.

"I appreciate the Governor's reluctance to accept federal funding if there are costly and burdensome strings attached, but we have taken a closer look at our communities and found that we already meet or are near meeting the energy program requirements. There's little reason to decline millions in funding that could help curb energy costs in Alaska, the state with the highest energy costs in the nation," said Senator McGuire. "With eight years, we most certainly will be there, if we aren't already."

Letters requesting acceptance of these funds have been received from the Alaska Municipal League, AARP, the Municipality of Anchorage, the City of Ketchikan and the City of Juneau. According to the news release, more letters are coming, including one the Mat-Su Borough.



Source of News:

Alaska State Legislature - Senate Resources Committee


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Ketchikan, Alaska