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Small Business Owners' Guide to the Election

By: Kent Hoover, Bizjournals
Posted: October 17, 2008

page 9 of 13

"We can drill all we want, but if we can't refine our product, it doesn't matter," Donaldson said.

No new refineries have been built in the U.S. since the 1970s, a situation that McCain blames on excessive regulation. Environmental groups, however, contend oil companies are limiting refining capacity to keep the price of gasoline high.

Obama, meanwhile, has proposed federal incentives for investment in ethanol and biodiesel refineries, but building more oil refineries doesn't appear to be a priority for him.

Both candidates also are neglecting the role small businesses can play in solving the nation's energy problems, said Scott Hauge, who owns a business insurance agency in San Francisco and serves on a state committee implementing California's law capping greenhouse gas emissions.

"I don't see either one talking about it," said Hauge, who also is president of Small Business California, an advocacy organization.