Gov't audit: Stimulus funds for energy go unspent

By MATTHEW DALY | September 7, 2011 | 11:40 AM EDT

WASHINGTON (AP) — Two years after the economic stimulus plan, a new government audit finds that about one-third of the money authorized for an energy efficiency program has not been spent.

The Energy Department's inspector general says that state and local governments have left as much $879 million unspent from a $2.7 billion program intended to boost energy efficiency and create jobs.

Inspector General Gregory Friedman says the unspent money undermines a basic premise of the 2009 stimulus law: "to promptly stimulate the economy and create jobs."

The Energy Department acknowledged a slow start, but said aggressive outreach to state and local governments has boosted spending from $270 million last year to about $1.4 billion as of last month. The program has helped pay for more than 5,400 jobs.