|Rep. Keith Ellison and Sen. Bernie Sanders Announce Bill to End Fossil Fuel Subsidies|
|May 10, 2012|
WASHINGTON—At a news conference today outside the U.S. Capitol, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) announced they are introducing legislation that would eliminate billions of dollars in oil, coal and gas subsidies.
“Big oil companies alone make more than $300 million every day but the oil, gas, and coal industries still have their hands in the taxpayer’s pocket,” said Rep. Ellison. Why should Americans prop up these companies with tax dollars and have to pay ridiculous fuel prices?
“We need to get off the fossil fuel bandwagon that keeps us dependent on oil and contributes to climate change. The $113 billion in taxpayer handouts that oil, gas, and coal companies receive should be used to invest in green jobs. It’s time for this corporate welfare to end,” Rep. Ellison added.
“How can it be that at a time when so many in Congress are calling for savage cuts to Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security, that we could afford to continue to pump tens of billions in taxpayer dollars into hugely profitable fossil fuel corporations,” Sen. Sanders asked attendees. “It is sickening that some of the same folks who want to cut food stamps for the hungry fight tooth and nail to preserve federal tax breaks that go to Exxon Mobil.”
The measure would do away with tax breaks, financial assistance, royalty relief, direct federal research and development and many loopholes that benefit the fossil fuel industry. Under current law, more than $113 billion in federal subsidies would go to oil, coal and gas industries in the coming decade.
The five largest oil companies in the United States earned about $1 trillion in profits over the past decade. Meanwhile, in recent years, some of the very largest oil companies in America like Exxon Mobil and Chevron paid absolutely nothing in federal income taxes.
Bill McKibben, founder of 350.org told demonstrators “It's bad enough that the fossil fuel industry is doing severe damage to our climate--but that we're paying them tax dollars to do it adds insult to injury.”
Ryan Alexander, president of Taxpayers for Common Sense said “With the federal government facing a $1.3 trillion deficit and $15 trillion debt, the time to trim the fat is now. The Sanders-Ellison bill helps us get there by eliminating more than $113 billion in outdated and unnecessary subsidies to the fossil fuel industry.”
“If we are to have any chance of avoiding climate catastrophe the first thing we need to do is stop paying corporations to pollute – and this landmark legislation does just that,” said Brent Blackwelder, president emeritus, Friends of the Earth.
The bill is supported by 350.org, Taxpayers for Common Sense, Friends of the Earth, Sierra Club and Defenders of Wildlife, Oil Change International and Earth Justice.