State officials have received the go-ahead to spend $531,000 in oil overcharge funds on energy efficiency programs for the agriculture, residential and driving sectors, Gov. Norm Bangerter said.
Approval came from the federal Department of Energy, which must approve spending of money received in the nationwide Amoco oil overcharge settlement. Several major oil producers have settled charges by the government of overcharging, resulting in high gasoline prices nationwide during the 1970s and 1980s.The state's plan establishes eight one-time programs aimed at agricultural, residential and driving uses of energy.
The agriculture programs, administered by the state's Department of Agriculture, are designed to reduce costs and promote energy efficiency in farm management, Bangerter said.
He said the department will provide energy audits on dry cropland, irrigated cropland, dairy, orchard and hayland farms, an irrigation water management program, a conservation tillage program and educational guides.
Overcharge funds will also help finance a furnace conversion and replacement project for low-income elderly and handicapped residents living in the new natural gas pipeline corridor in central Utah.
Also, a traffic light synchronization project in Ogden and Bountiful will be funded by the overcharge money to help stabilize traffic flow and reduce motor fuel consumption.
Other programs to be implemented are video cassettes available to the public showing methods to reduce residential energy consumption and costs, and training of state weatherization personnel to perform furnace tune-ups for low income elderly and handicapped Utahns.