Jackson County Times

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Friday, January 8, 2010

FDEP Regulations Impact Another Local Business

Small independent gas stations are suffering under new EPA requirements By Sid Riley

As was recounted in our earlier story about the closing of Gary Jackson’s BP Station on Highway 90 E, there were once thirty filling stations located on Highway 90 through Marianna, between the Mill Pond on the East side and the railroad underpass on the West end. Today, only five remain, with the latest victim, the “87 Depot” discontinuing gasoline sales as of December 31. We have been told the store will remain open as a “mini-market”, but the pumps will be idled.

All of these small businesses and the many jobs they once provided have been lost through the years, primarily due to the steadily increasing costly requirements imposed on their businesses by government regulations. The latest of these requirements was a December 31 deadline for installing the latest generation of storage tank systems, at a cost of around $250,000. The stations had to convert their old underground tanks with the new design (even if their tanks were in excellent condition), by January 1, or they must have an executed contract for the installation project. Most small, independent stations can not afford this type of expense……so they are forced out of business.

Then, after they have ceased operations, their property is essentially rendered unsalable because of the potential liability for future discovery of underground pollution from the station’s operation. Many such neglected and deteriorating properties already adorn the highways in every town because of this unrelenting government oversight. Billions of dollars of net worth in real estate values across the nation are thus lost.

So, remember as you next fill up your vehicle at one of the remaining chain operations…..within the cost of each gallon you use you are paying part of the $250,000 in cost for their shiny new tanks.

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