Thursday, June 4, 2009

Palin was right to reject energy stimulus funds

This surprised me. The ADN actually ran a positive story about Palin. They ran this piece by David Moore, who is an architect, according to the byline. So...none of their trained journalists on staff could bring themselves to report any type of positive or objective viewpoints. They decided to bring in a guest columnist, someone who lives and works in the real world, to write something that was apparently very painful to them - actually admitting Palin is doing something good for Alaska. Way to go, ADN! You're a shining example to newspapers everywhere. Keep up the good work and maybe you'll go bankrupt like the rest of them. David Moore, though, gets major props for this.

Palin right to reject energy stimulus funds
Published: June 3rd, 2009 05:28 PM
Last Modified: June 3rd, 2009 05:29 PM

Governor Palin is right to reject energy stimulus funds with strings attached.

The federal stimulus act mandates state adoption of the International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) or related ASHRAE standards and that the state verify 90% compliance statewide. This would expand the state fire marshal's plan review department to include residential construction.

It would require the fire marshal's office to expand its duties beyond issuing building permits to include inspections to verify compliance. Alaskans would pay for these added duties and authority. Over the next 10 years this would cost us much more than the $29 million available in stimulus money. MOA's plan review and inspection department budget alone is over $9 million. Expand this type of enforcement statewide, add travel cost for inspections, and imagine the total cost.

Adoption of this code for commercial construction would have very little effect toward reducing fuel consumption statewide. Anchorage and Fairbanks already have adopted this code. In commercial construction statewide, most buildings comply with this code and ASHRAE standards already. In residential construction, even in the bush, many of the requirements are exceeded simply because we live in a cold place. We've been building energy efficient buildings here for longer than rest of the country by necessity.

So what this amounts to is solely a new regulatory requirement to verify compliance. It does little beyond what we are already doing to save fuel, but does a lot to grow government. We each have an inherent benefit in reducing our utility bills. I doubt that a government mandate to do so is better motivation than our own pocketbooks.


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