Are politicians beginning to listen?

The House opened debate this evening on the “Domestic Energy and Jobs Act,” a combination of bills that would expand domestic oil drilling and prevent environmental regulations from going into effect. Needless to say, we don’t like this bill one bit. But one Democratic amendment would end free drilling in the Gulf of Mexico by requiring oil companies to pay for their leases, saving billions. That we do like. 

The bill is nothing more than a political stunt when what we need is real leadership on climate change. There is no way under the sun that a bill like this should pass the House, but as long as some of its members want to give away gifts to the oil industry, they ought to consider taking something back by eliminating special tax breaks. If the Gulf provision does get voted on, we’ll be able to see just who is on our side when it comes to eliminating tax breaks for polluters.
 
This what we’ve been after–getting Congress on the record.  We just put the finishing touches on a cool new online scoreboard that will make it easy for people to find their member of Congress, contact them directly through the website, read through a call script, and record their answer. You can also see the amount of money a politician has taken from the fossil fuel industry listed right next to their name.
 
It’s a good thing to do to put Congress on notice that we are watching. And when Congress is ready to get serious about energy and climate change, they ought to consider picking up something like the Sanders-Ellison bill, which takes an axe to wasteful giveaways to the oil, gas, and coal industry. That could save up to $113 billion over 10 years.
 
In the past few weeks, over a million people have signed a petition to eliminate fossil fuel subsidies, and on Monday 100,00 people tweeted with the hashtag #endfossilfuelsubsidies. People are making a lot of noise on subsidies, right now, and they should be. They are bad policy that is horrible for the climate. Tomorrow we’ll see if the politicians are beginning to listen.
  • HAPPENING NOW: “Years of Living Dangerously” watch-parties and web-chat. More at 350.org/years

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