NSBA’s Cookie Driscoll Testifies on Gas Prices

May 9, 2012

On Wednesday, May 9, C. Cookie Driscoll, Vice Chair of Membership for the National Small Business Association (NSBA) and owner of Whodathunkit Farm in Fairfield, Pa., testified before the House Committee on Small Business about the effects of rising gasoline and diesel prices. Given that the cost of fuel affects every aspect of running a horse farm, Driscoll has seen her expenses skyrocket.

“Currently, the cost of diesel fuel in our small farming community varies from $4.15 per gallon to roughly $4.39 per gallon and gasoline varies from $3.69 per gallon to approximately $3.99 per gallon.” stated Driscoll.

During her testimony, Driscoll highlighted several areas of her business which have been negatively impacted by the cost of fuel, including the planting and harvesting of feed, the transportation of horses to and from competitions and breeding operations, and even the veterinarian and farriers that have to charge trip fees to cover their travel expenses. She emphasized to the Committee, however, that her issues aren’t unique to her business or any one industry. “We all are hurting from volatile and rising gas prices and America’s small businesses need some kind of relief.”

Driscoll, as a Trustee of NSBA, helped craft NSBA’s new energy and environmental policy which, in short, calls on lawmakers and regulators to embrace five key policy objectives: 1) ensure clean air and water; 2) promote adequate and affordable energy; 3) end U.S. reliance on foreign energy; 4) simplify regulatory requirements and accelerate approval process; and 5) support federal energy research dollars for small firms.

Several Members attended yesterday’s hearing, including, but not limited to, Chairman Sam Graves (R – MO), Ranking Member Nydia Velazquez (D – NY) and Congressman Scott Tipton (R – CO), Chairman of the House Small Business Subcommittee on Agriculture, Energy and Trade.

“One in ten small business owners say that energy is their single greatest cost. High gas prices are hindering economic recovery, stunting job creation and increasing the burden on many small businesses in an already challenging economy,” Tipton said. “As we have heard in this hearing, this problem is largely preventable. There is much that can be done to lower energy costs and decrease dependence on oil from volatile foreign regions if Washington bureaucrats would stop standing in the way and allow for increased responsible production of domestic resources, and advance common sense projects like the Keystone pipeline,” Tipton added.

“Small businesses are the historic source of new job creation in the economy, but are currently facing many challenges, including the burden of high fuel prices,” said Chairman Graves. “While it is good to see the price of gasoline falling in recent weeks, $3.75 per gallon gas is nothing to celebrate, especially considering it was under $2 per gallon a few years ago. Oil is a volatile commodity and gas prices will go back up, it’s just a matter of time. It is important to have hearings like this to discuss the need to increase domestic supplies before we are facing $4 gallon gas again. Small businesses need certainty to run their businesses, hire more employees, and plan for the future, and they can’t do that if they are consistently subject to the volatile global oil market.”

Driscoll concluded her comments thanking the Committee for their efforts to address the issue and urged Congress to work toward a long-term energy policy that that does not place a disproportionate burden on America’s small businesses.

Please click here to read the testimony.