Both presidential campaigns have talked about the importance of achieving energy independence. 

Although their approaches may differ, we can all agree that government should not take steps that result in raising energy prices and eliminating jobs, which hurts all Americans.  

Under the Obama Administration, we have already seen an aggressive approach by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to implement more regulations, which is hurting our economy.

These government decisions directly impact Hispanic-owned businesses, which are facing even higher energy prices --from the trucker who uses diesel fuel to the Latina business owner who struggles to keep the lights on.

We need to ensure that the government does not stand in the way of all energy sources, to compete and help America achieve energy security.

So it’s concerning when certain interest groups try to ignore the economic consequences of the EPA’s excessive regulations. 

I was particularly concerned about a recent poll released by the Sierra Club and the National Council of La Raza (NCLR) which stated that 72 percent of Latino voters believe that environmental regulations protect our health and our families. 

Such a poll is entirely misleading, as it asks a seemingly non-controversial question that most Latino voters would agree with -- then the pollsters use the high percentage answer to infer that Latinos would like to further weaken our economy by encouraging more destructive EPA regulations.  

The more honest question to ask is: How many of your friends should lose their jobs or how much more do you want to pay for goods due to increases in energy costs? 

My guess is that most Americans feel that our economy and our families have suffered enough. 

A recent study by National Economic Research Associates found that just four of the recent EPA regulations would cost the United States more than 180,000 jobs every year through 2020. 

As a result, Hispanics would suffer, as their unemployment sits at a staggering 10.2 percent, and this is contributing to historic levels of Hispanics living in poverty.

With gasoline and electricity prices soaring, Hispanic-owned businesses are already feeling the financial burden of higher costs and are forced to adjust their budgets to pay for these necessities. Every dollar we spend on higher energy prices is a dollar that can’t be used to invest and create jobs.

The American Dream includes the ability of start-up entrepreneurs to compete fairly for customers. 

This dream is at risk for many in the energy sector, whose ability to compete is being curtailed by the government as it picks winners and losers in the energy market through abusive regulation. 

We need to ensure that the government does not stand in the way of all energy sources, including fossil fuels, to compete and help America achieve energy security. By supporting diverse energy sources, including clean coal technology, electricity prices can remain affordable and small businesses can thrive.

Businesses aren’t the only ones who believe the EPA is overstepping its authority. 

The courts agree. 

Recently, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia threw out the EPA’s “Cross-State Air Pollution Rule" over concerns that the agency exceeded its authority.

The government should not play favorites and choose one energy source over the other. 

To meet the growing demands on energy and reduce energy prices, America should continue to embrace the clean coal industry, which produces affordable and reliable electricity while still securing a clean environment.  

Hispanic small businesses will be better off if they need to worry less about paying for higher energy prices and able to invest their money in helping to grow their businesses and the overall economy. 

At this critical time in America’s economic history, we have to get this one right if we are to compete and win in the global market.

Hector Barreto is the chairman of The Latino Coalition and the former U.S. Small Business Administrator. He has invited both presidential campaigns to send a representative to The Latino Coalition’s West Coast Small Business Summit.

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