ANCHORAGE, Alaska – Gov. Sarah Palin on Thursday became the only governor to turn down federal stimulus money for energy efficiency, a move that legislators called “disappointing” for a state with some of the country’s highest energy costs.
In announcing the veto of $28.6 million in funds, Palin said she wouldn’t accept money tied to adoption of building codes by local governments. “Alaskans and our communities have a long history of independence and opposing many mandates from Washington, D.C.,” Palin said.
Palin had earlier accepted about $900 million in other federal stimulus funds.
State budget director Karen Rehfeld said the Republican governor was concerned that in accepting the money, she would be required to promote the adoption of local building codes. To qualify for the federal money, 90 percent of new and renovated structures in the state would have to be constructed under energy efficiency standards between 2009 and 2017.
State Sens. Bill Wielechowski and Lesil McGuire, both of Anchorage, had urged Palin to accept the money.
“The way it’s set up if one state rejects the money, it doesn’t go back to federal treasury, it gets divvied up to every other state that accepted it,” he said. “Basically the governor has written a check out to the other states.”