On the Wawa Gas Station in Ormond Beach, FL, Slaughter of Oak Trees, True Costs of Environmental Damage, and Corporate Welfare

This is an email I wrote to Marty Price, President of the Ormond Beach Democratic Club, regarding a comment he made on the new Wawa gas station in Ormond Beach, FL and our recent radio appearances on Big John WELE AM 1380 THE CAT in Ormond Beach.

Nicely done, Marty! I listened to you on the air (1380 AM radio). I also called in before you went on and discussed my candidacy. I’ve copied a few people on this email and written a perspective you may not have thought of, below.


I will say one thing about when Ormond Beach Democratic Club president Marty Price said “we don’t need another gas station” on March 16, 2020 on WELE 1380 AM The Cat with Big John. (This is in regards to the new Wawa gas station on W. Granada Blvd. and Tomoka Ave. in Ormond Beach, FL.) When you say this, you’ll get pushback from Republicans and “free”-market advocates. They will say: Obviously we do need it, because Wawa has decided to put a gas station there and believes the free market demands it (i.e., it will be profitable). However, there is an excellent rebuttal to this argument. When Wawa slaughters 2,000 oak trees and doesn’t have to pay for it, they are receiving massive corporate welfare. They aren’t paying for the ecological, atmospheric, and environmental costs. They aren’t paying the correct amount for the damage they are doing, including increased taxpayer costs due to drainage issues on neighboring parcels.

The business of selling gasoline is further subsidized because there is a high cost in respect to CO2 emissions that is not priced in. ExxonMobil already did secret research on this decades ago and estimated, adjusted for inflation, that there would be a need for approximately a $75 per tonne carbon tax in present dollars. That’s 68¢ per gallon of gas that no one is paying. If Wawa had to pay the actual costs of putting a gas station in Ormond Beach, their calculus might change and they might not have done it.

Another thing not priced into our economy: The public and individual medical costs, as well as loss of life, due to COVID-19 (coronavirus). If Disney World and the proprietors of Bike Week had to pay the resultant medical costs due to being open for business, and for wrongful deaths that may ensue due to a growing pandemic that will strain our healthcare system resulting in triage of care, I can guarantee you they would have closed or canceled MUCH earlier. As Democrats, we are not asking for disastrous central planning and command-and-control economies. We advocate for well-regulated free markets, small businesses, capitalism, and American ingenuity, innovation, and hard work. We advocate for fairness. We need to end corporate welfare, subsidies, tax breaks, and privilege for large corporations and wealthy individuals. When Walmart’s employees receive food stamps and Medicaid, Walmart should pay for that.

Best regards,
Dr. Richard Thripp
Progressive Democrat for U.S. Congress (#FL6)
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