WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship Ranking Member Olympia J. Snowe (R-ME) recently received the first-ever “Small Business Hero Award” from Small Business California.  Snowe was cited for her efforts to mitigate climate change, as well as to promote small business energy efficiency. 


“I am deeply honored to receive this award from Small Business California, which has worked to promote greater energy efficiency from small enterprises not just in California, but all across the nation,” said Senator Snowe.  As the leading Republican on the Small Business Committee and as a longstanding steward of the environment, I firmly believe that small business has a pivotal role to play in finding a solution to global climate change.  According to a recent survey conducted by the National Small Business Association, 75 percent of small businesses believe that energy efficiency can make a significant contribution to reducing greenhouse gas emissions.  And yet, only 33 percent of those had successfully invested in energy efficiency programs for their businesses.


“It has been my continuing honor and pleasure to work with Small Business California to fashion bipartisan small business solutions to the climate change debate.”


In June, Senator Snowe and Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee Chairman John Kerry (D-MA) introduced the “Small Business Energy Efficiency Act of 2007” (S. 1657).  Dedicated to promoting energy efficiency and ensuring that the Small Business Administration (SBA) fulfills its requirements under the Energy Policy Act of 2005, the full Senate later in June passed the measure as part of comprehensive energy legislation, the Renewable Fuels, Consumer Protection, and Energy Efficiency Act of 2007 (H.R. 6).  Senator Snowe is now working to ensure that any final energy legislation sent to President Bush includes provisions from the Small Business Energy Efficiency Act.


“I truly appreciate Small Business California’s assistance in developing the ‘Small Business Energy Efficiency Act,’” said Senator Snowe.  “It is my hope that President Bush will soon sign provisions from that bill into law as part of comprehensive energy legislation.”


The Small Business Energy Efficiency Act would promote effective energy use among small businesses by:


  • Setting up an Energy Clearinghouse that builds on the Environmental Protection Agency’s Energy Star program.  This action was mandated by the Energy Policy Act of 2005 and would have to be completed within 90 days of enactment of the Small Business Energy Efficiency Act;


  • Encouraging innovation in energy efficiency by requiring Federal agencies to give priority to Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer program solicitations by small businesses that participate in or conduct energy efficiency or renewable energy system research and development;


  • Making the SBA’s Express Loan Program available to small businesses who wish to purchase renewable energy systems or make energy efficiency improvements to their existing businesses;


  • Creating the position of Assistant Administrator for Small Business Energy Policy within the SBA.   The duties of this position include: (1) the oversight and administration the Small Business Energy Clearinghouse Program; and (2) the promotion of energy efficiency efforts and the reduction of energy costs for small businesses; and


  • Establishing a Small Business Energy Efficiency Pilot Grant Program through the national network of Small Business Development Centers to provide “energy audits” to small businesses to enhance their energy efficiency practices.