ACTION ALERT: End Polluter Welfare

June 10th, 2012 - by admin

Credo Action & Sen. Bernie Sanders and Rep. Keith Ellison – 2012-06-10 00:01:35

WASHINGTON, DC (June 2012) — How much money will you give to the fossil fuel industry today?

A lot — even if you don’t fill up your gas tank. $30 million of our tax dollars go to oil, coal and gas polluters every day in the form of subsidies, tax breaks and loopholes.

Last month, Sen. Bernie Sanders and Rep. Keith Ellison introduced the End Polluter Welfare Act to end these wasteful giveaways. Congress’ inaction has already cost us nearly a billion dollars, and the price goes up another $30 million every day.

Tell Congress: It’s time to end polluter welfare. Click below to automatically sign this petition:

“We can not afford to continue giving more than $30 million per day of our taxpayer dollars to cash-rich fossil fuel companies. It is long past time to end polluter welfare.”

Click HERE to sign the petition

Congress’ continued inaction will cost us $110 billion over ten years, in needless giveaways to the most profitable on the planet.

Just the five largest oil companies alone made more than $1 trillion in profits, just in the last five years. Some of these companies paid no taxes for some of these years.1

These fossil fuel companies doesn’t need the extra help. But for them, the math is very simple:

• Oil, gas and coal companies gave $106,993,6862 in direct campaign contributions to Congress, and spent $1,077,417,6933,4 on lobbying over the last 10 years.

• Congress gives them $110,000,000,000 of our money in polluter welfare over the next 10 years.

Polluters get a huge return on their investment. We pay the price.

As Republicans and some Democrats continue using growing budget deficits to call for brutal cuts to vital social programs, it is astonishing and shameful that these same politicians are protecting billions upon billions in wasteful polluter welfare to the richest, most dangerous industry on the planet.

Tell Congress: End polluter welfare. Click here to automatically sign the petition.

The details of these subsidies and giveaways are just unbelievable:

We lose $12 billion dollars by allowing fossil fuel polluters to take deductions aimed at helping American manufacturers, by claiming they are manufacturers. We lose $10.6 billion by not setting fair royalties for oil drilling leases in federal waters — currently we give many leases away for free!

We lose $6.8 billion by subsidizing oil-spills; allowing companies like BP to deduct billions in clean-up costs from its tax bill after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill that did catastrophic damage to the Gulf of Mexico.5

Those are just a few of the $110 billion worth of giveaways that the End Polluter Welfare Act would end. And unlike other tax breaks which expire after a set time period, the fossil fuel industry has rigged the system so that many of their giveaways will continue indefinitely if Congress fails to act.

Of course, the biggest loophole of all remains wide open — that which allows oil, gas and coal companies to freely dump climate-change causing greenhouse gasses into our atmosphere, at no cost to them whatsoever.

Our government is supposed to subsidize programs and behaviors that we want to encourage, for the good of our nation. Yet as our planet heats up, we continue subsidizing the cash-rich fossil fuel companies endangering our future at six times the rate of the renewable energy investments that are our best hope.

We cannot afford any of this. And as many in Congress continue defending these needless giveaways, we must let them know that, for the sake of their jobs, they cannot afford it either.

Click HERE to sign the petition

Eijah Zarlin is Campaign Manager for CREDO Action from Working Assets

1. “Let’s end ‘polluter welfare'” Sen. Sanders and Rep. Ellison, 5/18/12
2. “Dirtiest congresses,” Dirty Energy Money
3. Lobbying: Oil and Gas, Open Secrets
4. Lobbying: Coal Mining, Open Secrets
5. “End Polluter Welfare Act,” 350
Let’s End ‘Polluter Welfare’
Sen. Bernie Sanders and Rep. Keith Ellison

WASHINGTON, DC (May 18, 2012) — At a time when we have a more than $15 trillion national debt, U.S. taxpayers are set to give away roughly $110 billion to the oil, gas and coal industries over the next decade. We cannot afford it.

The five largest oil companies made more than $1 trillion in profits in the last decade, and in some cases paid no federal income taxes for part of that time. They certainly don’t need government handouts.

We need to end this corporate welfare in the form of massive subsidies and tax breaks to hugely profitable fossil fuel corporations. It is time for Congress to support the taxpayers’ interests instead of powerful special interests like the oil and coal industries. That’s why we introduced the End Polluter Welfare Act — which eliminates every subsidy to the oil, gas and coal industries.

The bill already has grassroots support from across the political spectrum, including, Friends of the Earth, Taxpayers for Common Sense and many others.

Some of the same Republicans in Congress who advocate savage cuts to Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security consistently vote to preserve billions in tax breaks for Exxon Mobil, one of the most profitable corporations in U.S. history. While those members of Congress fight to continue fossil fuel subsidies worth tens of billions, they are working overtime to deny a one-year extension of key sustainable energy incentives for the emerging wind and solar industries.

Rather than pass strong legislation to help reverse global warming, Congress continues giveaways to the fossil fuel industry — even as its carbon pollution devastates our planet.

While there have been attempts to remove some of these fossil-fuel subsidies in the past, our bill is the most comprehensive. It would end all tax breaks, loopholes and federal research support for fossil fuels. It would make sure the industry pays its fair share by ensuring royalty collection for all drilling or mining on public land. We also end the loopholes that allow tar sands pipeline operators avoid paying clean-up tax.

It is important that the American people understand just how egregious these fossil fuel handouts are:

* A Tax Deduction for an Oil Spill?
We all remember the tragedy of the BP disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, the worst oil spill in U.S. history. Less well-known is that BP is claiming a $9.9 billion tax deduction on the money it had to spend cleaning up its own mess and paying for damages it caused. That is absurd.

* They Manufacture What?
Coal and oil lobbyists added fossil fuels to a bill aimed at helping U.S. manufacturers with special tax deductions. The added cost for taxpayers: $12 billion over the next 10 years.

* Good Enough for Big Oil, but not Clean Energy
Special financing arrangements, called Master Limited Partnerships, allow oil and gas investors to avoid paying certain corporate income taxes. But these are not available to clean energy businesses. Closing this loophole saves government an estimated $2.4 billion over the next decade.

* Free Federal Oil and Gas Leases?
Fossil fuel corporations are supposed to pay the government fair market royalties in exchange for the right to drill on public lands or in federal waters. But thanks to a loophole, some corporations drilling in the Gulf of Mexico pay zero in royalties. This could cost taxpayers up to $53 billion over the life of these leases, according to the non-partisan Government Accountability Office.

These are some examples of the obscene subsidies that the oil, gas and coal industries reap from the government every year. With the enormous sums these industries spend on lobbying and campaign contributions — made worse by the unlimited corporate campaign spending ushered in by Citizens United — passing a bill like ours will not be easy.

But we also know that the American people are angry and frustrated with a government beholden to special interests. They want their elected officials to stand up for the needs of working families and our environment, not for Big Oil.

The fossil fuel industry may seem to have a virtually unlimited supply of money and lobbyists in Washington, but it can still be defeated. If the American people stand up and demand a fair budget that finally requires the fossil fuel industry to pay its fair share in taxes, we can defeat them.

If the American people demand that we transform our energy system away from polluting fossil fuels, and towards energy efficiency and sustainable energy, we can defeat them.

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) serves on the Senate’s Energy and Natural Resources Committee and the Environment and Public Works Committee. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) co-chairs the Congressional Progressive Caucus.


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