published Wednesday, June 29th, 2011

A dose of financial reality

It is easy for the government to impose strict environmental rules on how businesses must be run, because the businesses, not the government, have to pay the cost of meeting those rules.

So it was refreshing recently when multiple Chattanooga-area business leaders and public officials pointed out during a forum on “green” initiatives the impracticality and even unpopularity of so many of those initiatives.

n Wejun Robinson, the general manager of Top Flight paper products company, based in Chattanooga, said companies often cannot justify the high cost of projects such as installing solar panels. Only with government subsidies will most businesses consider installing solar panels, he noted.

“You can’t do solar on your own,” he added.

n Guenther Scherelis, spokesman for Volkswagen Group of America, said consumers are not willing to face steeper taxes or higher prices for many products that are considered more environmentally friendly. He said that in his native Germany, it has taken “a lot of state intervention” to get the public to embrace green products and practices. In fact, he added, “without the government, in Germany it wouldn’t work.”

n State Sen. Bo Watson, R-Hixson, said that where environmental legislation is concerned, “Every solution you come up with, you discover five or six problems.” He recommended tapping our own nation’s oil and natural gas resources rather than putting them off limits for questionable environmental reasons.

The leaders’ remarks came during a visit to Chattanooga by Democrat former Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm, who wants Congress to use its legislative power to further promote electric vehicles. She also wants our country to get a fifth of its energy from renewable sources by 2025. But that comes with a price. When California tried to set lofty goals for renewable energy, it drove industry out of the state because electricity costs skyrocketed.

Business leaders in Chattanooga certainly are not opposed to reasonable conservation, but they pointed out that somebody has to pay the bills for expensive environmental initiatives.

We can’t wish those bills away. We have to balance conservation with our need for energy. Unfortunately, that cannot be accomplished through imposition of costly “green” schemes by Washington.

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nucanuck said...

The countries leading the way today toward energy solutions will be tomorrow's strongest economies.

When did America become afraid to lead?

June 29, 2011 at 1:14 a.m.
JoeHill said...

When I took economics in college, I learned about the tragedy of the commons, a phrase that resonates with me as I wonder if there is anything more tragic than what happened to the Gulf Coast during the BP oil spill? Ordinary folks and communities pay the cost of lax environmental rules with their health and resources. Just observe the BP oil spill fiasco.

June 29, 2011 at 9:49 a.m.
Plato said...

The roll of business is to maximize profits for it's shareholders which means mitigating costs. I have not problem with that.

The roll of government is to safeguard the health, safety and well being of the public. I have not problem with that.

Each entity has it's roll and they will always clash on issues like that. The thing is to always seek a balance. Fossil fuels are a finite resource. Alternatives are the future. At some point in time we have to quit worrying about paying 50 cents more for a gallon a gas or 50 cents a day more for our electrical power, and start prioritizing what kind of world we are going to leave for our children and grandchildren.

June 29, 2011 at 10:17 a.m.
hambone said...

The reason electricity cost skyrocketed in "Coddy-forn-ya" was de-regulation and the ENRON thugs !

June 29, 2011 at 11:12 a.m.
carlB said...

free press editorials » A dose of financial ... published Wednesday, June 29th, 2011

In my opinion, you have not said anything at all. It was only the "stirring of the pot" to see what the people thought.
Since you did not mention the main goal for everybody should be to get the manufacturing jobs back while decreasing out trade deficit with the global corporate monopolies who are importing their goods for the US consumers to buy while they make high profit margins.
If the people here are not working then they won't have any money to buy/pay for their conveniences regardless of the prices are,

June 29, 2011 at 9:41 p.m.
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