Palin urged to reconsider plan to reject some stimulus funds

The Anchorage Daily NewsMay 5, 2009 

Alaska legislators argue Gov. Sarah Palin is overstating the strings attached to federal stimulus money she's planning to reject. But Palin isn't backing down and said she still won't take the $28.6 million for energy programs.

The co-chairs of the state Senate Resources Committee sent Palin a letter Monday urging her to accept the funds, which could go for uses including energy efficiency grants, retrofitting buildings for less energy use and replacing streetlights with LED bulbs that use less electricity and last longer.

It's the only piece of the $931 million federal stimulus package Palin is turning down, saying she doesn't want the money because it requires a state energy code.

Anchorage Republican Sen. Lesil McGuire, one of the lawmakers who wrote the governor, said in an interview that Palin herself set a goal of Alaska receiving 50 percent of its electricity from renewable energy by 2025.

"And then to come back and reject the implementation of an energy saving code the building community hasn't rejected and that other states are readily adopting, I think it sends a hypocritical message," McGuire said.

Palin spokeswoman Sharon Leighow said the governor's primary concern with the funds is that she believes energy codes should be a local government decision that considers local needs – not a state mandate.

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