Palin vetoes federal money for energy efficiency

Gov. Sarah Palin is back at war with state lawmakers after vetoing their acceptance of federal stimulus money for energy cost relief. State legislators and U.S. Sen. Mark Begich, D-Alaska, immediately criticized Palin for turning down the $28.6 million. Legislators, who had voted overwhelmingly to take the money, said it will just go to other states to spend while Alaska could have funded weatherization work and renewable energy projects. They said no other state has rejected it.

Palin announced her decision Thursday while signing the state budgets into law. The governor made few other spending vetoes, in contrast with previous years, and accepted the rest of the $930 million in stimulus money that Alaska is eligible for. Palin said she objected to a requirement that would require states to prepare a plan for how they would meet energy efficiency standards for 90 percent of new and renovated commercial and residential square footage by 2017.

Larry Persily, the Legislature's main staffer on the stimulus issue, said the U.S. Department of Energy told him it could be "pretty much a general plan to promote energy efficiency" and there would be no government workers with tape measures out policing the standards. Persily said Alaska could likely qualify through the existing local energy standards in Anchorage, Fairbanks and other urban areas. That is how Missouri qualified for its energy money, rather than promising to impose a statewide code.

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