Home Greenhouse The United States pays Big Oil $ 20 billion a year to emit greenhouse gases. Congress must turn off the tap

The United States pays Big Oil $ 20 billion a year to emit greenhouse gases. Congress must turn off the tap


Every year, Big Oil receives over $ 20.5 billion a year in federal and state grants. Many of these grants are vestiges of another century, adopted when the industry was first rising. One of the most important, a tax deduction for drilling oil wells, dates from 1913. Then there is the oil sands loophole, which offers tax relief to companies that import or produce oil from the oil sands. , which is one of the dirtiest fuels on the planet.

Yes, you read that right. The United States is giving the fossil fuel industry a special deduction to help make the planet warmer.

Unlike their creation, these gifts no longer create jobs. Instead, they are filling the profits with a malicious industry. A recent study found that 96% of federal fossil fuel subsidies increase oil and gas company profits beyond the investment barriers needed to start new projects.

Even more appalling is an industry that has spent the past four decades with care research the human impacts of climate change, while deny its existence or that it is a problem, and keep on going to spit greenhouse gases that alter the planet into the atmosphere.

Why are we rewarding them with taxpayer money for this behavior?

On Earth Day this year, a senior official from a fossil fuel industry trade group claims, sworn in at a congressional hearing, that “if you want to take the whole tax code and treat the oil and gas industry like any other industry, we’re happy to do it.”

We should accept this offer.

President Biden call for eliminating “billions of dollars in subsidies, loopholes and special foreign tax credits for the fossil fuel industry” as key policy to help pay for its US jobs plan. However, the current version of the Build Back Better Act circulating in the House is faded away most national fossil fuel subsidies were repealed by the Senate finance committee earlier this year.

The reason?

Despite its platitudes that it is “certainly okay to be treated like any other industry,” the same oil and gas trade group has been in force pressure against the elimination of its lucrative subsidies. Recycling old strategies to influence the climate debate, the American Petroleum Institute and groups like the United States Chamber of Commerce and the American Exploration and Production Council have carried out a coordinated and costly campaign of massive influence by companies.

In recent weeks, the fossil fuel industry wrote letters to congressional leaders and directly lobby our colleagues in the House and Senate. He has published opinion pieces in local newspapers in major oil and gas states such as Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Oklahoma, as well as in national media such as the Hill and the Washington Examiner.

More insidiously, through a bogus popular group called “Energy Citizens”, the American Petroleum Institute has spent millions dollars to run TV and Facebook ads in key states and congressional districts with scare-mongering messages.

Meanwhile, California and other states are suffering from uncontrollable wildfires and their noxious smoke, tens of thousands of Louisianans were without power for more than two weeks after Hurricane Ida, and the 17th tropical storm of the season earlier this month in the Atlantic, an unusually high number for this time of year.

The fossil fuel industry is largely responsible for the climate crisis. A report published in 2017 found that since 1988, active producers of fossil fuels, including U.S. companies ExxonMobil, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, Marathon Petroleum and Occidental Petroleum, are linked to 71% of all industrial greenhouse gas emissions.

At a time when even an international oil regulatory agency declared we must end all new oil and gas exploration today to have any hope of limiting the devastating global warming, and when renewables are set to become a bigger part of the American energy mix than natural gas by 2050, we know that the only ones arguing to line the pockets of oil executives are the oil executives themselves.

Right now, Congress has the power to call the industry bluff. We can end the special privileges accorded to one of our most polluting and worst industries and instead support the clean energy sources of the future. It is time to reject the industry’s bad faith arguments aimed at blocking climate legislation and preserving shareholder profits. Our colleagues in Congress must muster the moral courage to fight for this.

Representative Ro Khanna, D-Fremont, sits on the House Committees on Agriculture, Armed Services, and Oversight and Reform, where he chairs the environmental subcommittee. Rep. Earl Blumenauer, D-Oregon, sits on the House Ways and Means Committee and has spent decades focusing on how to shift the U.S. economy to a clean energy economy.