For Immediate Release: 8.1.2012
POLL: Majority of Colorado Small Businesses Support Government Investments in Clean Energy Even After Being Reminded of Solyndra’s Bankruptcy
Opinion polling shows nearly three-quarters of Colorado small business owners believe government investments in clean energy have an important role in creating jobs and boosting the economy, and they support continued investments in clean and renewable technologies—even when asked specifically about Solyndra: 61 percent agree the failure of the company, which received a $535 million loan guarantee from the federal government, doesn’t mean the government should stop investing in renewable technologies.
"Running our business out of a small farmhouse in Longmont, we make every effort to maximize energy efficiency so we can save money," said Hunter Lovins, president of Natural Capital Solutions, an economic sustainability organization. "It’s crucial for small businesses, the economic engine of our economy, to cut costs. We will fully retrofit the farmhouse with renewable energy when budget allows, and thus far, we've weatherproofed the building and upgraded our heating system. At night, turning off computers and opening the windows helps us avoid wasting money and energy on cooling. These efforts not only help us walk our talk of helping companies and communities implement sustainable practices profitably, but also save us money today."
The poll, released today by Small Business Majority and conducted by Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research, also revealed that 78 percent of small businesses support recently released Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) standards that require new power plants to reduce their emissions of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide. Even more strikingly, a 52 percent majority still support these rules even if it means an increase in utility prices. This support stands despite the fact that 43 percent say their business could be impacted directly by EPA oversight of carbon and other emissions.
“Small business owners in Colorado are eager for pragmatic energy policies that can help them develop new technologies and increase business opportunities,” said John Arensmeyer, founder and CEO of Small Business Majority. “They understand that to survive in this tough economy they need creative solution to curb costs and increase their competitive edge.”
When asked about the biggest one or two problems facing their companies, Colorado small businesses cite the rising cost of doing business, such as higher fuel and electricity costs (32 percent) and higher material and supply costs (29 percent). Government regulation was a lesser concern, ranking fifth out of eight options with only one in five owners saying it’s one of their two biggest problems.
While respondents indicated overall support for government investment in general, specific government actions are even more popular. Across the board, small business owners expressed overwhelming support for 14 separate actions the federal government could take to support moving to a clean energy economy. A strong majority showed support for programs such as establishing minimum recycling standards, offering tax credits and rebates for upgrades, creating a “Green Bank” and increasing fuel efficiency standards.
"I’ve been doing business in Colorado since 1976, and I’m proud to be the first commercial facility that erected a photovoltaic array in Colorado Springs, in 2008," said John Crandall, owner of Old Town Bike Shop. "Knowing we'd receive a city utility rebate and a federal tax credit for installing the solar panels was very encouraging. We’ve saved around $20,000 overall—that’s huge. And although our initial costs were considerably high because our building is 100 years old, meaning we had to put our array over the parking lot, the increased visibility caught the eye of customers and other businesses, driving traffic to our store. Becoming more energy efficient definitely paid off."
Other findings from the poll include:
- 78 percent of respondents support EPA rules to reduce the emissions of mercury, arsenic, chromium, nickel and acid gases from new and existing power plants.
- 70 percent of small business owners favor proposed rules to reduce smog and soot pollution that crosses state lines (the “Good Neighbor Rule”).
- 74 percent of Colorado small business owners believe government should play an important role in creating financial incentives that encourage people to take energy efficiency measures, like installing energy efficient light bulbs. About 7 in 10 believe government should provide incentives through funding and policy efforts.
- Small business owners polled were politically diverse: 47 percent identified as Republican, 31 percent as Democrat, 12 percent as independent and 10 percent as “other.”
For more information visit: http://www.smallbusinessmajority.org/small-business-research/clean-energy/
Poll results in this statement represent findings from an Internet survey of 600 small businesses in Colorado, Michigan, Nevada, Pennsylvania, Ohio and Virginia. The poll was conducted by Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research for Small Business Majority with a margin of error of +/- 4%.
Small Business Majority is a national small business advocacy organization, founded and run by small business owners, to support America’s 28 million small businesses. We conduct extensive opinion and economic research and work with our rapidly growing network of small business owners across the country to ensure their voices are an integral part of the public policy debate. Learn more about us on Wikipedia and follow us on Twitter and Facebook.