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Guest column/We must make job creation, affordable energy priorities

October 23, 2011
By JASON WILSON , The Herald-Star

The president of the United States recently announced and presented the American Jobs Act. This is a plan which would help small businesses, build and modernize schools and invest in our nation's infrastructure. As I have said many times, investment is the key to jump starting our local economy and as a small businessman, I can tell you from experience that reducing red tape will help small businesses in Ohio.

However, the U.S. EPA is currently moving forward with environmental regulations that could slow the economic turnaround. We need to get back to work, and for that to happen we need to look at the impact of new environmental standards and the impact on how we can put people back to work.

I think everyone agrees that some basic environmental protections are important to protect our communities and families. Nobody thinks its OK to poison our water supply for example. But we need a balanced approach in order to promote growth and investment. Consensus between business and regulation has worked in the past and will continue to work in the future.

It is very important that we know where and how we are getting affordable energy to power our facilities and keep Eastern Ohioans working. Small businesses and home owners need to be reassured that they are receiving the most efficient, cost-effective forms of energy available. Recently, American Electric Power announced that it would be taking some of its power plants offline because of an inability to meet some of these regulations while keeping energy costs affordable.

As we look to revive our local economy, we have to take a common sense approach regarding policies that could jeopardize jobs.

While Congress moves forward in their discussion of the American Jobs Act, I urge all parties to come together to make sure job creation is our top priority. Job creation and access to affordable energy are connected and the EPA must be aware of the consequences of their actions.

(Wilson, D-Columbiana, represents Ohio's 30th District.)

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