Veto by governor of $28.6
million in energy funds
in direct conflict with state energy goals
May 23, 2009
Senate Energy Chair Lesil McGuire, R-Anchorage, confirmed Friday
that she provided new information a week ago to resolve Governor
Sarah Palin's concerns about accepting more than $28 million
in federal stimulus funds to address Alaska's ongoing energy
"This funding would advance Alaska as a world leader in
renewable energy," McGuire said. "To date, Alaska is
the only state that has not accepted these funds."
On Thursday (May 21) the governor announced that she would veto
$28.6 million in federal economic stimulus funding, "apparently
disregarding the facts we provided," McGuire said.
"The governor's decision overlooks the fact that the requirement
for meeting energy efficiency requirements can be met by local
communities. The majority of larger communities have energy codes
in place or are in the process of adopting them, including Haines,
Anchorage, Fairbanks, Juneau, Nome, Petersburg, Palmer, Seward,
Valdez, Skagway, Ketchikan, Soldotna and Wrangell," McGuire
"In addition," the Anchorage senator said, "the
governor disregarded the advice of many organizations and Alaska
shareholders including Commonwealth North, AARP, SWAMC and the
An estimated 198,000 homes need weatherization statewide in order
to get to five-star rating energy efficiency. Some $360 million
in appropriated funds will cover about 15-20 percent of those
homes this year. "Building homes to be efficient from here
on out would be a wiser use of state funds over the long term,"
The state energy program funds would have been used for multiple
energy related goals including whole community retrofits, residential
renewable energy rebates, adding weatherization curriculum to
the construction academy, community energy planning and commercial
auditor training. "These projects would create many jobs
in the energy efficiency and construction industries," the
"In addition," she said, "community energy planning
is a core piece of a state energy plan. Community energy resources
and energy consumption patterns vary and must be assessed and
addressed individually to meet the unique needs of each region
"In order to meet these goals now, the $9.6 million in Energy
Efficiency Conservation and block grant funds allocated to the
state must be used which would reduce the amount of those funds
available for making homes more efficient in communities across
Thursday's decision by Governor
Palin to veto $28.6 million in federal stimulus funds for renewable
energy projects and weatherization programs from the state budget
was greeted with disappointment by House Special Committee on
Energy Co-Chairs Bryce Edgmon, D-Dillingham, and Charisse Millett,
"This issue has been researched thoroughly by legislative
staff and we couldn't find one string attached to those funds,"
said Representative Millett. "The governor wants the state
to have 50 percent of its power generated from renewable sources
by 2025. Her decision takes us a step further away from that
"This is especially bad news for rural Alaska," said
Representative Edgmon. "Every dollar we invest into rural
Alaska that saves energy and reduces energy bills is money well
spent. It also makes the energy committee's job that much harder
as we try to craft a statewide energy plan over the next year."
Representatives Millett and Edgmon hope the governor will reconsider
her decision and are always open to discussing the issue further
with the administration.
Quoting a news release from the Alaska House Special Committee
on Energy, more affordable energy is the most important issue
facing Alaskans. The House Special Committee on Energy notes
they will continue to take the lead on this issue by holding
field hearings around the state and continuing its work on a
statewide energy policy and plan.
Today (May 23rd) gubernatorial candidate Bob Poe also challenged
Governor Palin's recent decision to veto over $28 million in
federal stimulus funds for energy efficiencies saying Alaska
should be the governor's highest priority.
Poe said, "Once again
Governor Palin has demonstrated her narcissistic governance of
Alaska by becoming the only Governor in America to reject federal
stimulus funds to promote energy efficiency. These are funds
that not only help stimulate a growing base of alternative energy
companies in Alaska, but which would pay dividends in additional
energy cost savings for many years to come."
Poe added, "This is just
a cynical way for Palin to save a little face nationally in her
earlier much touted stand to reject as much as 40% of the federal
stimulus funds. Considering that one third of Alaska's current
economy depends on federal spending, it further underlines the
Governor's remarkable lack of understanding of the economic underpinnings
that have helped our state avoid many of the economic difficulties
currently experienced by many others."
"But perhaps the most
striking aspect of this veto is to contrast it to $1,200 Palin
paid out last year to every man, woman and child in Alaska for
energy assistance, boosting everyone's Permanent Fund dividend
to $3,200, and raising her popularity to record levels helping
secure her as the Vice Presidential running mate pick with Senator
John McCain. Apparently, when it suits the Governor's purpose
she will happily spend Alaska's resources, and again when it
meets her political needs she will reject very useful federal
stimulus funds for Alaskans," Poe said.
Poe concluded his comments
by saying, "Governor Palin's choice to veto federal stimulus
funds for energy efficiency should leave no doubt in voters'
minds that her highest priority is not Alaska, but her run for
President in 2012."
Governor Maintains Stance on Stimulus
Funds, Favors Local Control on Building Codes - Alaska Governor Sarah Palin announced
today that, as previously stated, she will veto the $28.6 million
in federal "stimulus" funds tied to adoption of building
codes by municipalities.- More...
Thursday - May 21, 2009
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Alaska Legislature: House Special
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