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SunshineStateNews: EPA Overreach Will Pummel Florida Economy and Jobs

Wednesday, October 08, 2014

As most already know, the energy growth in the U.S. during the early and mid-20th century has been overwhelmingly positive. It has led to high productivity, rapid economic growth, and unimagined technological progress raising our standard of living across the board.

Reliable electricity is essential to keeping schools, businesses and homes up and running. The low cost and abundance of electricity have contributed greatly to the economic prosperity of our country.

However, pending policies may jeopardize the success of American industry across our nation. Months ago the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed the Clean Power Plan, which would require power plants to reduce carbon emissions 30 percent by 2030.

According to an article in The Wall Street Journal, the proposed rule is “unquestionably the most controversial rule the agency has proposed.”

If adopted, the EPA’s regulation would provide minimal benefit to the environment and could put industry jobs at risk. In addition, the implementation of this plan will inevitably extend into other sectors of business and the public. As our economy continues to strive for better results, it is unwise to hinder current growth by implementing policies that would increase costs for all Americans.

National Economic Research Associates’ (NERA) proposal, similar to EPA’s proposal, shows this type of plan could cost consumers $13 billion to $17 billion per year in higher electricity and natural gas prices. NERA also found that such a plan could lead to the loss of up to 2.85 million jobs.

Small businesses would be severely affected. The Florida Petroleum and Convenience Store Association represents small-business owners throughout Florida. More than 90 percent of gas stations and convenience stores in Florida are privately owned. They are not owned by big companies. These small businesses operate on thin margins and have to use large amounts of electricity for pumping gas, refrigeration, air conditioning, lighting, car washes and many other functions. Electricity cost increase will translate into higher prices for their businesses and ultimately for consumers.

The U.S. does and always should lead the world in smart energy solutions. Many foreign countries are major contributors to greenhouse gas emissions and have minimal regulation to prevent harming the environment. Harming our economy for negligible benefit will make us less competitive and cost everyone.

The EPA must reconsider the current Clean Power Plan and work with lawmakers to craft greenhouse gas regulations that ensure effective policies for our nation. We need comprehensive and realistic environmental regulations that recognize fiscal consequences and strive to achieve American energy and economic security.

This plan will not only affect the industry I represent, it will affect everyone who drives a car or wants to have their lights on at home. We urge everyone, lawmakers and the public, to be proactive and submit comments to the EPA regarding the Clean Power Plan before the Dec. 1, 2014, deadline.

Ned Bowman is executive director of the Florida Petroleum Marketers and Convenience Store Association.

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