Saturday, June 6, 2009

DOE Stimulus Strings Could Cost Thousands of Dollars Per New Home

Alaska Governor Sarah Palin vetoed the $28.6 million in federal stimulus funds because of concerns about the strings that would be attached. Now, those strings are becoming more clear and Governor Palin was right to be concerned.
From the Office of Governor Palin:
June 5, 2009, Anchorage, Alaska - The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) confirmed today there are strings attached to stimulus package funds. DOE is now inviting states to comment on a draft document that they developed for measuring and demonstrating compliance with those strings attached to universal building code provisions of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). Last month, Governor Sarah Palin vetoed the $28.6 million in federal stimulus funds tied to adoption of building codes by municipalities.

DOE has repeatedly stated some energy funds are directly tied to the statewide adoption of new federal energy-efficiency codes. [Section 410(a)(2); March 12, 2009, DOE Guidance Manual, p.8, p.10, 25-26, p.33-34, Attachment 3; April 24, 2009, DOE Guidance Manual, p.8, p.10, p.25-26, p.33-34.] The codes in question are the 2009 International Conservation Code for residences and the 2007 American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers’ code for commercial buildings throughout the state.

As there is no statewide energy code, compliance by all local jurisdictions would include even Alaska’s 114 second-class and mostly rural communities. Full compliance with the strict new codes, which regulate even the type of lighting that can be installed, would cost Alaskans thousands of dollars per new home or renovation.

“We took issue with Washington's universal building codes mandate and said they were unacceptable for Alaska,” Governor Palin said. “Eventually, bureaucrats at DOE admitted the requirements were ‘not appropriate’ and offered funding if I would just push the codes on all our communities. I believe in local control, so I said no. Now, in the most recently issued statement on the subject by DOE, the requirements are back, clearer than ever.”

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