Shaking Off Palin's Shadow, Alaska Embraces Energy Efficiency


Photo via Millionface

With Palin fresh out of the governor's seat, the Alaskan legislature wasted no time in overturning her veto of stimulus funds for energy efficiency. You may recall that Palin had previously said thanks, but no thanks to allotting Alaska $28 million in federal money for statewide energy efficiency improvements--apparently, her state felt differently.In a resounding 45-14 vote, Alaska legislators have definitively decided that the state will be taking the funds, and making buildings more energy efficient after all. Palin had opposed the efficiency funds--it was the only part of the stimulus for her state that she rejected--because she was concerned it would force Alaska to adopt stricter building codes. After the state received a letter from the US Department of Energy stating that this was certainly not the case, however, she remained unconvinced. Even though she's now out of office, she continued to protest accepting the funds from her Facebook page.

According to Green Inc, before the vote to override her veto took place, she left the following message on her profile:

As Governor, I did my utmost to warn our legislators that accepting stimulus funds will further tie Alaska to the federal government and chip away at Alaska's right to chart its own course. Enforcing the federal building code requirements, which Governor Parnell and future governors will be forced to adopt in order to accept these energy funds, will eventually cost the state more than it receives. There are clear ropes attached, and Alaskans will soon find themselves tied down by codes which will dictate how we build and renovate homes and businesses. The state has hundreds of millions of dollars already budgeted for conservation, weatherization and renewable energy development. Legislators don't need to play politics as usual and accept these funds and the ropes that come with them.
Of course, Alaska legislators mostly ignored her rant in the decisive vote that came a few days later. Alaskan energy efficiency advocates and green businesses are thrilled. From Green Inc:
"It shows Alaska is not going to take a backseat on energy issues and underscores the growing bipartisan commitment to energy efficiency and renewable energy in Alaska, the state with coldest climate and some of the highest energy prices in the nation," said Chris Rose, the executive director of the Renewable Energy Alaska Project, in an e-mail message to Green Inc.
It should indeed come as good news to green Alaskans everywhere--and perhaps its a signal that the influence of the renowned global warming skeptic and drill, baby, drill advocate is fast waning in America's largest state.

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Tags: Alaska | Economics | Energy Efficiency | Green Jobs

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