January 21, 2008
Representative Gabrielle LeDoux
State Capitol, Room 412
Juneau, AK 99801-1182
Dear Representative LeDoux:
Thank you for your recent Letter to the Editor (January 18, 2008, Kodiak Daily Mirror.)
At a meeting held tonight, Sustainable Kodiak discussed your ideas pertaining to the State of Alaska budget surplus and your proposal to distribute this surplus to Alaskans in the form of a household heating expense (or similar) reimbursement program. Sustainable Kodiak is a local citizen’s group promoting energy efficiency and environmentally-sound practices for our island community. Our meetings are informal, public, and have been well-attended.
Your idea motivated us to engage in a group discussion about how this budget surplus could be distributed in a way that might bring about a change in the mindset of Alaskan consumers (and legislators), and a more long-term solution to rising energy costs.
In the interest of sustainability and respect to the environment, we recommend the use of this fund surplus to create an incentive program to encourage Alaskans to purchase energy efficient devices, install energy-saving home features, or buy an energy-efficient vehicle. Not only families and individuals but also landlords, businesses, schools and government agencies could be included in such a program.
The State of Alaska already has an insulation and energy-saving program for low-income households that has proved to be extremely cost effective for the state and for the consumer. Wider dissemination of already developed information and ‘how-to’ directions could be accomplished at very low cost using agencies already set up to do this. Rebates or vouchers for materials and/or installation could put surplus fund money to work at the root of the energy problem.
As you mentioned in your letter, the details of such a program would need to be worked out, but this idea could bring us one step closer to reducing our problematic dependence on expensive and depleting petroleum resources. At a time when the world is learning about the urgency for change in human consumption of oil, we feel the program outlined above would offer a long-term and healthy mitigation for the present oil dilemma. In addition to saving money and petroleum, this program would also help alleviate climate change/global warming which is and will affect Alaskans severely. It is a win-win solution, and an excellent example for other states who might be considering similar rebates!
We thank you for your representation in Juneau, your dedication to Kodiak, and for your thoughtful consideration of our proposal. Please let us know if you and/or your staff would like to be added to our e-mail list to be informed of upcoming Sustainable Kodiak meetings. We would look forward to your participation.
With warm regards from your constituents and neighbors,
For Sustainable Kodiak,
Donna Elizabeth Jones