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Press contact: Patrick Mitchell at 703-276-3266 and pmitchell@hastingsgroup.com; or Jeff Benzak at 202-513-6248 and jbenzak@e2.org.


New Poll Shows Majority of Small Businesses Support Expanding Energy Efficiency Programs, More Renewable Energy and Stronger Environmental Safeguards

RALEIGH, NC (May 13, 2014) - As the N.C. General Assembly reconvenes in Raleigh, a new poll shows the vast majority of small business owners in the state want lawmakers to support clean energy and energy efficiency, and better safeguard the state's air, water and quality of life from fracking and other threats.

Nearly 90 percent of small business owners said protecting North Carolina's good environment and quality of life is important to the state's economic growth, according to the survey conducted by Raleigh-based Public Policy Polling (PPP) for Environmental Entrepreneurs (E2), a national nonpartisan group of businesspeople and others who advocate for smart environmental policies that can lead to economic growth.

"As somebody who grew up in a family business in North Carolina, I know there are good reasons why the state is such a great place to start a business, raise a family and call home," said E2 Executive Director Bob Keefe. "From Murphy to Manteo, North Carolina is a special place, and safeguarding its environment is key to its economic prosperity."

Available online at www.e2.org, the survey of nearly 400 NC small business owners shows:
  • 86 percent of survey respondents believe that protecting North Carolina's environment and quality of life is important to the state's economic growth.
  • 75 percent say it is important for the state to continue to support energy efficiency programs.
  • 67 percent say it is important to expand the state's renewable energy sources.
While small business owners say protecting the state's environment is crucial to the economy, they give poor ratings to NC lawmakers who are responsible for protecting the state's clean water, air and quality of life.

About 58 percent of small business owners give the NC General Assembly a grade of "poor" (39 percent) or "fair" (19 percent) when it comes to protecting the state's water, air and overall environment. Only 24 percent rated the General Assembly "good" on environmental issues and 16 percent rated it "excellent" according to the poll.

"Reliable data confirms that addressing pollution and energy inefficiency with the right solutions will create jobs, lower energy bills over time and drive leadership and innovation in clean energy in North Carolina," said John Robbins, president of Greathorn Properties in Concord.

"This survey shows that our businesses get it," Robbins said. "Why don't our legislators?"

Over half (53 percent) of small business owners surveyed said they disapprove of efforts by Gov. McCrory and the General Assembly to expand hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, for natural gas.

At the same time, only about a third (35 percent) have a favorable view of fracking.

"If we want our state to continue to be attractive for businesses, workers and investors, our lawmakers need to make sure they protect our natural assets," said Peter Krull, founder and president of Asheville-based financial services company Krull & Company.

"They can't do that by bowing to out-of-state interests who want to pull the plug on renewable energy, rollback basic environmental safeguards and open our state to fracking just for short-term profits," Krull said.

Survey respondents were 39 percent Democrats, 37 percent Republicans, and 24 percent self-identified as independent or having other political views.

"This poll shows North Carolina's small business owners strongly support increased investment in renewable energy; they're wary of fracking, and they believe Gov. McCrory and the legislature need to do more to show out-of-state businesses who may want to relocate to North Carolina that they're serious about protecting North Carolina's environment and economy," said Jim Williams, polling analyst at Public Policy Polling.

The poll of 396 North Carolina small business owners was conducted by telephone May 2-4, 2014, with a margin of error of +/- 4.9 percentage points.

See the full survey results online at E2 here: http://www.e2.org/jsp/controller?docName=NCSmallBizSurveyResults

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Environmental Entrepreneurs (E2) is a non-profit, non-partisan group of business leaders, investors and others who promote smart environmental policies that drive economic growth. Our members, active in nearly every state in the country, have built or financed more than 1,700 companies that have created more than 570,000 jobs, and manage more than $175 billion in venture and private equity capital. For more information, see www.e2.org.

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