A depot used to store pipes for Transcanada Corp's planned Keystone XL oil pipeline.
Photograph by Reuters
By Benjamin Snyder
January 15, 2015

Small business owners love the proposed Keystone XL Pipeline and are pushing for its approval.

The project, which would be a potential goldmine for contractors and suppliers, has the strong support of the National Federation of Independent Businesses, a trade group that represents small businesses. In addition to lifting sales, the organization says the pipeline would help bring down energy prices and create jobs.

The Senate could vote on approving the pipeline, a 1,179-mile oil spigot from Canada to Nebraska, this week. Last week, the House of Representatives approved similar legislation.

However, President Obama has promised to veto any bill, saying that the decision about whether to build the pipeline is ultimately up to the State Department, not Congress. It’s almost a forgone conclusion that Congress doesn’t have the votes to override his opposition.

Critics of the controversial $8 billion pipeline say it will create an environmental hazard and increase the U.S. dependency on oil instead of cleaner sources. They also say the economic benefits are overstated.

A Pew Center for Research poll in November found most Americans support the pipeline with 59% saying they were in favor of its construction while 32% said they were opposed.

After the House of Representatives’ vote, the NFIB voiced its approval.

“NFIB applauds the House for passing Keystone XL legislation – taking a big step forward in energy independence, which will directly benefit small businesses,” Amanda Austin, NFIB’s vice president of public policy, said in a statement.

Kate Bonner, the senior manager for the NFIB’s legislative affairs, echoed her colleague. She told Fortune that energy concerns are a big concern for entrepreneurs, not only day-to-day for work, but also at home. Over the years, energy prices have topped business owners’ list of issues, she said.

Bonner also emphasized that job creation could be a boon for business along the pipeline’s route, including those in supporting industries in the area such as restaurants and retail.

“We look forward to seeing how the administration officially reacts,” she continued.

For more, check out Fortune’s recent explainer about the Keystone Pipeline saga.


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