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Sunshine State News: Julio Fuentes, EPA Overreach

Thursday, October 30, 2014

The problems that will affect Florida’s citizens and small businesses have taken a back seat to mudslinging in the gubernatorial race, and important issues, such as greenhouse gas emission regulations, are falling through the cracks.

In the last several years, Florida’s families and small businesses have seen a shift toward more reasonable electricity rates, driven by smart and environmentally-conscious energy regulations. However, there could be drastic changes coming in the near future and our elected officials need to take a stance.

The Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) 45-day extension on the Clean Power Plan for public comments ends Dec. 1.
Drastic changes to this policy are necessary to keep the progress that has already been made in developing energy resources, such as natural gas, that promote lower greenhouse gas emissions and reduce economic tension. Diminishing fuel options will stimulate higher electricity rates and burden Floridians with unnecessary financial strain.

A poll was conducted by Paragon Insights and released by the Partnership for a Better Energy Future last week. This poll showed that the majority of Florida voters believe the U.S. can’t afford new costs and potential job loss from EPA regulations.

Additionally, nearly 50 percent of Florida voters say they are not willing to pay $1 more for energy under these regulations.

As an advocate for the more than 80,000 minority-owned businesses in our state, the Florida State Hispanic Chamber of Commerce supports energy policies that keep utility bills low and predictable. The growing number of Hispanic voters cannot afford to see dramatic spikes in electricity costs, which would hurt our small businesses and gridlock our continued economic success.

In the remaining days of the election season and EPA comment period, I urge our state’s elected officials and candidates to put aside personal criticisms and opponent attacks and actively take a stance on vital issues such as the Clean Power Plan.

We must use this opportunity to make the EPA consider the true costs to our nation’s economy of unrealistic greenhouse gas regulations before they commit to damaging and baseless policies.

Julio Fuentes is president of the Florida State Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.

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