12/02/2014 02:28 pm ET Updated Feb 01, 2015

Businesses: EPA Clean Power Plan Is Good for Economy, Environment

If you want to know what American businesses think about the Environmental Protection Agency's new carbon pollution standards and what they'll do to our economy, ask somebody who has built a business.

On Monday, more than 350 entrepreneurs, CEOs, investors and others who belong to Environmental Entrepreneurs (E2) delivered the message loud and clear: Cutting carbon pollution and increasing clean energy through the EPA's Clean Power Plan is good for our economy - and good for our environment. See E2's comments to the EPA here.

These E2 members are on the front lines of entrepreneurship and the American economy. They include the founders and former chairmen of Silicon Valley giants like Google and Sybase; owners of solar companies in Illinois and Iowa; hoteliers in New England and real estate investors in North Carolina.

Collectively, our members have founded or funded more than 1,700 companies that have created 500,000 jobs. Investors in our group manage or help manage more than $100 billion in private and venture capital that will flow into the companies of tomorrow.

Members of other business groups voiced their support for the Clean Power Plan too. More than 220 companies ranging from Nestle to IKEA signed on to comments submitted in support of the plan by the nonprofit business advocacy group CERES.

Of course businesspeople aren't the only ones who support the federal Clean Power Plan, which will cut carbon pollution by 30 percent by 2030 in part by increasing renewable energy and energy efficiency.

In all, more than 8 million comments were delivered to the EPA in support of carbon standards in advance of the Dec. 1 deadline for submissions.

In just one sign of the breadth and broad support for the plan, E2 publicly released our comments along with evangelical Christians who belong to the Evangelical Environmental Network (EEN). See the Deseret News story here and Progress Illinois here for coverage of the press conference we held with my friend Rev. Mitch Hescox, who worked in the coal industry for 14 years before becoming a pastor and president of EEN.

Smart businesspeople know that setting commonsense standards for carbon pollution emissions will send a market signal that America wants clean energy - a signal that will drive job creation and economic growth.

They know we need to cut carbon pollution if we want to have a chance at reducing costly hits to our economy that come with every weather-related disaster and every lost workday due to pollution-related health issues.

And they know that clean energy already works for America, and is already creating jobs in every state in the country. More than 18,000 clean energy jobs were announced in the third quarter of this year alone, according to E2's latest jobs report available at These are good-paying jobs that are making a difference in states and communities across America.

E2 member Emily Rice, an energy efficiency executive in Des Moines, Iowa, describes the Clean Power Plan like this:

"This gives us the best shot at reducing our carbon pollution with smart solutions that directly serve Iowans and our economy."

Business people also know the Clean Power Plan is just the start. We need to make sure the final standards that come out of the plan are as strong as possible, and that the EPA and states implement these standards quickly and in ways that will benefit businesses and consumers the most.

Illinois E2 member Kevin Johnson, a retired U.S. Army captain who now is in the solar business, put it this way:

"The Clean Power Plan provides an opportunity for Illinois to help lead our country to a clean energy future - but the EPA can make the plan better.

"To put us on a path to curbing the most serious effects of climate change while creating jobs and growing our economy, the EPA must implement the strongest plan possible," he says.