The following comment was submitted today to the EPA in support of the proposed Clean Power Plan rule. You can learn more about this rule here.
Here is the information for sending your own comment. Email A-and-R-Docket@epa.gov: Include docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OAR-2013-0602 in the subject line of the message
The South Carolina Small Business Chamber of Commerce supports the EPA’s proposed regulations to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in every state including our own.
South Carolina has a vibrant small business coastal tourism economy which is threatened by sea-level rise resulting from carbon-pollution induced climate change. Our work with small businesses along our coast (www.scbars.org) clearly shows that small business owners are concerned about rising seas that threaten their local economies and they support transitioning to a clean energy economy to reduce those carbon emissions.
According to a recent Winthrop University poll 68 percent of our residents living in our coastal counties say that they are very sure or somewhat sure sea-level rise is or will be happening. Statewide 57.3 percent said that sea levels will rise with only 8% saying that sea levels are and will not rise.
The impending threat to our state from rising seas is not viewed as a far distant concern. The Winthrop poll found that over 46% of South Carolinians surveyed believe that the impact of rising seas will happen within 25 years, well within the average lifespan of most of our state residents.
We are taking our responsibility for sea-level rise resiliency planning seriously. This poll showed that over 73 percent of South Carolinians support state and local governments taking actions to make our coastal communities better prepared for sea-level rise and its impacts. In fact, our organization has been encouraging coastal municipalities to begin this planning process with several already taking steps to move forward with this effort.
However, no small business, local government or citizen wants to face the scientific projections of the highest sea level rise that would overwhelm our best resiliency planning efforts. The newest interactive platforms for assessing inundation threats from different sea-level rise scenarios clearly show that resiliency planning must go hand in hand with strong efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions if we are to effectively protect our coastal economies.
While each small business and resident can contribute to carbon emission reduction, only a federal effort can truly address the magnitude of the problem in the timeframe needed. Much of the articulated concern by utilities, big industries and even some small businesses is either unfounded or the result of fear tactics of opponents of the proposed EPA rules.
Having successfully intervened in utility energy rate cases in South Carolina for over 12 years, our experience is that dire warnings from energy companies about the need for higher rates is in every case vastly overblown. For example, in 2012 South Carolina Electric & Gas (SCE&G) requested an average 6.6 percent general electricity rate increase but finally agreed to only a 1.38 percent net increase. The following year SCE&G’s profitability drove its parent company, SCANA, to a 12 percent increase in earnings.
While any legitimate concern about the EPA proposed carbon rules should be addressed, they should not distract us from the essential goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions being produced by this country, an effort that will be replicated by other nations facing similar threats from climate change.
Our organization stands ready to work with the EPA to achieve our state’s carbon reduction goal. We do so for the preservation of our small business coastal tourism economy.
Frank Knapp Jr.
President and CEO
South Carolina Small Business Chamber of Commerce
1717 Gervais Street
Columbia, SC 29201