More than 40 groups have come together to call for an end to Big Oil subsidies that have been in place for more than 100 years. In an open letter to Congress from a diverse range or organizations from veterans, to renewable energy to environmental, and more, the groups are challenging Congress to repeal the nearly $4 billion a year in “wasteful taxpayer subsidies” handed to Big Oil and Gas. This despite, say the groups, the industry’s efforts to halt efforts to curb climate change.
The letter was released during a press call: Press Call to End Big Oil Subsidies
“Members of Congress have been a very lucrative investment for the oil industry. For every $1 they put in in campaign contributions, they get back more than $188 in subsidies, even using these very conservative JCT subsidy figures,” said Stephen Kretzmann, executive director of Oil Change USA. “I am sure most Americans wish we could get returns even a fraction that good from our 401k’s. This has gone on for far too long, it is time now for a Separation of Oil and State.”
The U.S. and the world have taken bold steps to address climate change as evidence in the history COP21 last December. Greg Dotson, vice president for energy policy at the Center for American Progress Action fund says there is more to be done and clean energy companies are ready to step up to meet growing need. “The first thing you do when you are in a hole is stop digging. We know today that we are putting too much carbon pollution into the atmosphere – and we should stop using tax payer dollars to encourage even more.”
Brad Woodhouse, president, Americans United for Change, added, “These tax giveaways serve no useful purpose other than padding oil industry profits. We could send 166,000 kids to college every year with the $4 billion that is instead squandered on Big Oil. Over summer recess, we’re going to demand answers from Republicans in Congress who can’t find the money to address the Zika Virus or Flint water crisis, or repair our crumbling infrastructure, but think Big Oil can’t live without these subsidies. Even with persistently low oil prices, which dipped below $30 a barrel earlier this year, ExxonMobil still reported nearly $1.8 billion in profits last quarter, and BP over $500 million. It seems even in the worst of times, Big Oil can make tons of money comfortably without a taxpayer handout. And it seems the only return on taxpayers’ investment is dirty air and 14,000 oil spills every year.”
On the call, Senators were called on to support the FAIR Energy Policy Act, legislation sponsored by Senator Brian Schatz (D-HI) that would phase out special tax breaks for fossil fuels on the same schedule as the law Congress passed to phase out the wind production tax credit (PTC). The Call to Action also came in support of the Democratic Senators who took to the floor this week to condemn ExxonMobil Corp. for spinning a “web of denial” about climate change as part of a profit-protecting scheme to kill any legislative action to address it.