Administration Urged to Invest More in Energy Efficiency for Small Businesses

Sens. John Kerry (D-MA) and Olympia Snowe (R-ME), chairman and ranking member of the Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, urged the Bush administration to invest more resources to help small businesses become more energy efficient and reduce their greenhouse gas emissions.

Although small businesses represent half of the nation's economy and are responsible for half of the country's energy consumption, the government spends less than two percent of the Energy Star program's $50 million annual budget reaching out to help small businesses, the senators stated.

"There's no greater threat to the earth than global climate change, but by leaving small businesses out of the solution, the Bush administration shows they're not serious about tackling the problem," Kerry said. "Small businesses can lead the way toward a cleaner, greener future, so the least the federal government can do is dedicate $2 million -- just 4 percent -- of Energy Star funds to help entrepreneurs reduce their energy costs and foster green innovation."

"As the ranking Republican on the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship and as a longstanding steward of the environment, I am alarmed by the administration's lack of commitment to promoting small business energy efficiency," Snowe said. "According to a National Small Business Association survey, 40 percent of small businesses are still not familiar with the Energy Star product label and technical support programs that are available. And at a committee hearing last year, EPA testified that it has only two full-time employees devoted to the Energy Star small business program. I am pleased to join my bipartisan colleagues in urging the administration to properly fund the EPA's Energy Star small business program."

In a letter sent to EPA, which implements the Energy Star program, the Senators urged the Bush administration to increase funding for the Energy Star small business program to $2 million a year, in order to provide technical assistance and resources necessary to small businesses.

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