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Senate Energy Chair Pledges, ‘We’ll put DOE funds to good use all across Alaska’


NEWS FOR RELEASE / Tuesday, August 25, 2009

ANCHORAGE -- Senate Energy Committee Chair Lesil McGuire today pledged, “We will put the federal DOE stimulus funds to good use all across Alaska,” as Department of Energy Secretary Stephen Chu announced approval of the state’s application and Gov. Sean Parnell’s certification for State Energy Program funds.

“Our immediate priority in the Legislature -- working closely with the Parnell administration – will be to put every dollar of this money to work meeting Alaskans’ energy needs,” McGuire said.

“Securing the energy stimulus funds has been a long journey, but one that has ended with a positive result for all of Alaska,” McGuire added. 

Secretary Chu’s announcement provided formal DOE acceptance of Alaska’s application and Gov. Parnell’s certification for State Energy Program funds. This followed the August 10 legislative special session in which lawmakers voted to override a veto by Gov. Sarah Palin of $28.23 million in energy stimulus funding.

Larry Persily, stimulus funding specialist for Representative Mike Hawker, co-chair of the House Finance Committee, said DOE officials will soon release half of the energy stimulus funds, with the second half scheduled for release when the state implements its spending plan and meets reporting requirements of the stimulus act.

Senator McGuire said the state will review options for funding energy-efficiency programs and projects, with proposals submitted for final approval by the governor.

In March the Alaska Energy Authority and the Alaska Housing Finance Corporation prepared a draft energy project wish-list. Persily said the list was submitted to DOE as a place-holder measure pending a legislative decision on the veto override and implementation of a final project and spending plan.

“The program funding can be used to reduce energy costs, including building retrofits, energy-efficiency audits, weatherization programs, public education and promoting energy-efficiency standards,” McGuire said.

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