Photo via LeHigh Valley Live
Governor Sarah Palin is notorious for not accepting, and then accepting federal funding--who could forget the good ol' bridge to nowhere debacle? Well something similar is happening again: Palin has decided to accept all the stimulus funds eligible to Alaska--except the $29 million that would go to her state energy office. Why say "thanks, but no thanks" to $29 million dollars? Because she's afraid it would require her to make Alaskan buildings more energy efficient. According to the NY Times, Palin said off the decision:
"Alaska's vast expanse and differing conditions are not conducive to a federally mandated, universal energy code . . . Mandating universal energy building codes throughout our state is not in Alaskans' common or individual interests."
She's right about one thing--taking the stimulus money would mean more stringent, energy efficient building codes, and that some of the money would be spent on renewable energy initiatives.
Basically, Palin has turned down just about the greenest component of the stimulus bill. The Times explains:
To be eligible for the money, governors must offer assurances that their state will not only strengthen its building code, but also that they will make energy efficiency and renewable energy a priority when spending the funds. The states are also supposed to make sure that utilities have incentives to help their customers make their homes and businesses more energy-efficient
I know it sometimes seems like we're too harsh on Palin--and hey, at least now she's changed her mind about global warming. But this move will in effect deprive Alaskans incentives to have greener homes and more energy efficient buildings, and will prevent her state from making major strides towards efficiency in general. This is the initiative that could help spur green job growth in Alaska--people were going to be employed to make all those fixes to meet the better building codes, after all. I bet a lot of unemployed Alaskans feel that getting a job greening federal buildings would be in their "individual interests."
In fact, Palin is the only Governor to not take the funding and opt for energy efficiency--even Gov. Bobby Jindal, who made more noise than anyone about not taking stimulus money, ended up opting for the energy funds.
But what does Palin say? "Thanks, but no thanks."
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