January 29, 2015
On behalf of the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB), the nation’s leading small-business advocacy organization, I am writing you in strong support of S. 1, the Keystone XL Pipeline Act. NFIB is pleased that the House of Representatives recently passed its version of S. 1 with strong bipartisan support and NFIB urges the Senate to follow suit. Final passage of S. 1 will be considered an NFIB Key Vote for the 114th Congress.
NFIB members believe construction of this 875-mile portion of the pipeline is important in helping to lower the cost of fuel that small businesses use every day, and to promote job creation. The Administration’s Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) estimates that over 40,000 jobs will be a result of the Keystone XL project. Many of these jobs would likely be created by small businesses in communities along the pipeline route.
NFIB continues to urge President Obama to grant this project a presidential permit. Unfortunately, even with the president’s final approval, there would still remain the potential for further regulatory and legal delays. S. 1 would address these issues by ensuring the pipeline will move forward in compliance with current law, including the National Environmental Policy Act, the Endangered Species Act, the Clean Water Act and judicial review. S. 1 is critical in getting the Keystone XL project over the finish line; without it, the project could face years of legal delays.
NFIB also supports the findings in the Administration’s Draft EIS, which stated there to be little – if any – additional environmental impact from construction of the Keystone XL pipeline connecting existing pipelines in Nebraska to plentiful crude oil resources in Canada and northern United States. From there, this oil can be sent to refineries in the Gulf Coast for processing.
The cost of energy remains one of the top concerns of small-business owners, who rely on affordable energy to operate their businesses successfully. According to the 2012 edition of NFIB’s Small Business Problems and Priorities, “Cost of Natural Gas, Propane, Gasoline, Diesel, Fuel Oil” ranked as the third-most important priority among NFIB’s members. Nearly 35 percent of respondents cited energy costs as a “critical” issue to their business.
Furthermore, according to NFIB’s Energy Consumption poll, energy costs are one of the top three business expenses in 35 percent of small businesses. Providing more affordable energy will directly help small-business owners reduce the impact of high energy prices.
The Keystone XL Pipeline Act will help spur job creation, decrease the cost of energy and reduce American dependence on Middle Eastern oil. NFIB urges the Senate to pass S. 1 and will consider it an NFIB Key Vote for the 114th Congress.
Vice President, Public Policy