Alaskan lawmaker seeks Energy Dept. funds

The $28 million in funds offered by the U.S. Energy Department for Alaskan energy programs are attractive despite concerns from Gov. Sarah Palin, lawmakers say.
Palin in a letter to the Energy Department complained the funding measure had too many strings attached for her to accept the $28.6 million in stimulus funds for Alaska's energy programs.
Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski, however, said despite the objections from Palin, Alaska could use the funds effectively, the Platts news service reports.
"I understand the governor's issues," said Murkowski. "But as it was relayed and conveyed, the concerns that she had in terms of strings attached, perhaps there is a way around them."
Murkowski, speaking on the sidelines of a U.S. energy forum, said the funds could be "well spent" in the Alaskan effort to reduce state energy costs.
Democratic Sen. Mark Begich, a Palin critic, complained that if Alaska does not accept the money, the federal government may pass the state by in later stimulus efforts.
Palin and Begich have traded barbs over plans to develop a natural gas pipeline for the Alaskan North Slope.
Alaskan lawmakers have the authority to trump any decision by Palin over the Energy Department funds, but Murkowski said that will have to wait until the next session in January.