Natural gas has benefits for all
I would like to thank state Sen. Wilton Simpson, R-Trilby, for CS/CS/HB 579, a bill that gives businesses in Florida a five-year tax break if they convert to natural gas. The bill becomes effective Jan. 1.
Pasco County Commissioner Henry Wilson and I have been advocating use of compressed natural gas (CNG) in county vehicles and school buses. It's a good start because natural gas sells for about $1.50 less per gallon than diesel, which is typically used in trucks and school buses. It's a no-brainer for the commissioners to adopt this program to take some tax burden off the taxpayers.
FedEx plans to shift 30 percent of its long distance vehicles to natural gas over the next decade. United Parcel Service, Lowe's, and Proctor & Gamble are on the same track. Waste Management here in Florida has been a leader buying new trucks and retrofitting engines to run on natural gas. The Leon County School District switched its buses to natural gas in 2012.
Our elected officials, from Washington to the local level, should be on board. The U.S. Postal Service plans to raise the price of first class stamps by 3 cents to 49 cents, and it won't stop there. The largest fleet of commercial vehicles belongs to the United States Postal Service. Having its vehicles switch would be great for everyone in America.
The U.S. has enough natural gas for the next 200 years. Construction jobs would flourish, putting in the pipelines and building new filling stations, and new job opportunities would open up to retrofit engines and maintain them.
This natural gas is an American product. It should be a priority to have these engines "made in America." The only member of Congress I have heard speak positively on this matter is U.S. Rep. Dennis Ross, R-Lakeland. I urge the public to contact Rep. Ross and county and city officials. Put America first.
Bill Bunting, Bayonet Point