Thursday, 24 May 2012 20:35

Bill to End Fossil Fuel Subsidies Introduced to Congress

‘Brown energy’ is subsidized much more heavily than ‘green energy.’ Many consumers and business owners, especially those skeptical of the green energy movement, are not aware that the fossil fuel industry gets far more in subsidies than does the renewable energy industry.

Oil and gas companies are subsidized at almost six times the rate of renewable energy. From 2002 to 2008, the federal government gave the fossil fuel industry over $72 billion in subsidies while the renewable industry received about $12.2 billion.

The End Polluter Welfare Act would end fossil fuel subsidies, and save over $10 billion a year and more than $110 billion over 10 years. Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Rep. Keith Ellison announced they would introduce the bill to Congress during a press conference with 350.org. The bill would specifically end tax breaks for fossil fuel companies, plus eliminate special financing, end taxpayer funded R&D, and set fair royalties policies. Bernie Sanders describes the End Polluter Welfare Act in an op-ed piece for Reader Supported News as the “most comprehensive ever introduced on this subject.” Sanders added that the Act “ends all the tax breaks, the special financing arrangements, and the federal research and development funding.”

A fact sheet distributed by 350.org lists the money that would be saved by eliminating fossil fuel subsidies:
● $14 billion saved by eliminating the intangible drilling deduction
● $12 billion saved by repealing a 2004 law that allows fossil fuel corporations to take deductions aimed at helping American manufacturers by claiming they are manufacturers
● $6.8 billion saved by closing the loophole that allows corporations like BP to deduct money they spend cleaning up their own oil spills and paying damages
● $2.4 billion saved by stopping fossil fuel companies from investing through Master Limited Partnerships, an option not available to clean energy businesses
● $3.7 billion saved by shutting the federal Office of Fossil Energy
● $10.6 billion saved by recouping lost royalties for offshore drilling in public waters.

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