Commentary: Palin should reconsider forfeiting $28.6 million in stimulus

This editorial appeared in The Anchorage Daily News.

The decision Gov. Sarah Palin announced last week to accept all but $28.6 million of the $930 million in federal stimulus funds available to Alaska was a relief to some – she could have rejected more – but still hurts Alaskans. There's no need to turn down that last chunk of money.

What continues to bother Gov. Palin is the funding for a "State Energy Program." It can be used to retrofit buildings so they use less energy, to give grants and loans for energy saving steps or renewable energy, and for a broad range of other energy-saving purposes.

The governor objects because the energy money comes tied to a requirement that well into the future -- by 2017 -- 90 percent of the square footage of new and renovated buildings must meet national standards for energy efficiency. "Alaska's vast expanse and differing conditions are not conducive to a federally mandated, universal energy code," the governor said in a written statement.

In fact, Alaska is the state with the highest energy costs, and we are most in need of the help this federal money would bring.

Republican Lesil McGuire and Democrat Bill Wielechowski, the Anchorage senators who co-chair the Senate Resources Committee, both say adopting a state energy code is not the onerous roadblock that Gov. Palin makes it out to be but is workable. They are urging Palin to take the money.

To read the complete editorial, visit The Anchorage Daily News.

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