WASHINGTON Senator John F. Kerry (D-Mass.), Chairman of the Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, today held a hearing to focus on the important nexus between small businesses, job creation and environmental protection.

"Too often, government regulation is portrayed as the enemy of small business, the long arm of Washington pushing small companies over the financial brink to comply with burdensome regulations. It doesn't have to be that way. If we're creative and if we listen, protecting the environment and creating jobs can go hand in hand - we need not choose one over the other. Small businesses and government can come together to create innovative technologies that help businesses run environmentally-friendly operations, and that means more jobs and a nation not only setting the standard for environmental policy, but also for environmental technology. We need to commit ourselves to that goal with a new energy."

Small businesses are sources of constant experimentation and innovation - an integral part of the renewal process that defines market economics and changes market structure. It is this ability that links small businesses with environmental protection. Federal environmental laws have created an enormous demand in new technological fields, and small businesses - which excel at innovating in new technical fields - have helped the nation meet that demand in a cost- effective and environmentally sound manner.

Today, more than 116,000 firms and quasi-government agencies across the nation provide regulatory compliance, assessment, pollution control, renewable energy or other green technologies. Small businesses are a vital part of this industry - more than 33,000 firms operating with revenues more than $52 billion. The hearing today addressed the role of technological innovation in meeting environmental goals, the role of small businesses in producing that technological innovation, and issues facing small businesses in the environmental field.