Small Business Owners Believe Protecting Public Lands is Good for Business and Support ‘All-of-the-Above’ Energy Policy

Small Business Majority
Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Scientific opinion polling reveals small business owners in Arizona, Colorado, Nevada and New Mexico believe protecting their region’s natural assets is one way we can enhance the financial success of small businesses and local economies. 

Furthermore, a sizable majority of entrepreneurs find the president’s ‘all-of-the-above’ energy development strategy appealing, but would be even more supportive if it ensures protection of public lands.

Denver television ad highlights small business support for balanced energy policy that protects public lands

Main Findings

Half of entrepreneurs do business in their state because of opportunities tied to public lands: 48% agree access to parks, public lands and other outdoor opportunities is a large part of the reason they live and do business in their state; 30% strongly agree. Moreover, 4 in 10 agree (32% strongly agree) their state’s national parks, forests, monuments and wildlife habitats aren’t just essential to its culture and quality of life, but reasons to do business there.

Entrepreneurs support the president’s ‘all-of-the-above’ approach for developing energy sources, especially if public lands are guaranteed protection: Three quarters, or 74%, support the Obama Administration’s proposal for an ‘all-of-the-above’ energy policy that would develop a mix of energy sources including solar, wind, biofuels, natural gas, oil and coal. If this strategy took an extra step to protect public lands, 58% would be more likely to support it. That’s more than 2.5 times the number who would be less likely (22%).

Majority support designating additional public lands as national monuments: 75% of owners in Arizona, Nevada and New Mexico support designating more public lands as national monuments, which would ensure protection of these regions. In Colorado, 66% support a current proposal to establish a national monument at Browns Canyon and the Arkansas River Valley.

Small business owners believe protecting public lands would positively impact small business opportunities, local job growth, state economies and more: 65% of owners believe designating new national parks and monuments would enhance local jobs and the economy, 57% say it would impact small business opportunities tied to public lands and 52% agree it would help their state attract and retain new business and entrepreneurs.

A vast majority agree public lands drawing visitors positively impact local businesses, and they do not support private development of these lands if it would limit public’s enjoyment of them: A sweeping 90% believe public spaces that draw tourists can boost business for local restaurants, hotels, grocery stores and more; 63% believe allowing more private companies to develop such lands would limit the public’s enjoyment of them.