Ending Fossil Fuel Subsidies
On May 10, 350.org joined Sen. Bernie Sanders and Rep. Keith Ellison to announce a new piece of legislation in the US Congress to end all fossil fuel subsidies. This page has some more information about what's in the bill, some information on why we're so excited about this campaign, some great graphics that you can use to spread the news online, and some more resources on subsidies.
Here's some more information about the bill from Sen. Sanders' office (see the paragraphs below in PDF form here). The End Polluter Welfare Act is a new piece of legislation introduced by Sen. Bernie Sanders in the Senate and by Rep. Keith Ellison in the House. At a time when we have record debt, Congress should not continue to give away taxpayer money to the established, highly profitable fossil fuel industry.
- Fossil fuels are subsidized at nearly 6 times the rate of renewable energy. From 2002 to 2008, the US Government gave the mature fossil fuel industry over $72 billion in subsidies, while investments in the emerging renewable industry totaled $12.2 billion.
- The fossil fuel energy industry does not need taxpayer subsidies. In 2011, the Big Five oil companies alone made $137 billion in profits. During the first quarter of 2012, the Big Five oil companies earned a combined $33.5 billion, or $368 million per day.
- Unlike renewable energy incentives which periodically expire and require Congress to approve extensions, the fossil fuel industry has dozens of subsidies permanently engrained in the tax code from decades of successful lobbying. In 2011, the oil, gas, and coal industries spent a combined $167 million on lobbying the federal government.
This bill would comprehensively abolish fossil fuel subsidies, saving taxpayers billions of dollars. It ends tax breaks, eliminates special financing, does away with taxpayer- funded fossil fuel R&D, and sets fair royalties policies to ensure the fossil fuel corporations pay their fair share. Examples of these giveaways include:
OIL, GAS, and COAL TAX BREAKS
- $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.
TAXPAYER FUNDED R&D
- $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.
Want to see all the different subsidies that this bill would eliminate? Here's a PDF of the full list.
What Else Could We Use This Money For?
The money saved by this bill will help reduce the federal deficit, saving the United States money during a difficult economic period. Here are just a few other examples of what we could do with $113 billion:
- Give $807 to every American taxpayer (there are about 140 million taxpayers)
- Buy 2.8 million Chevy Volts (at $40k per car)
- Weatherize about 45 million US homes (at $2500 per home)
- "Fossil Fuel Subsidies: Helping the Rich Get Richer" (article by Bill McKibben in the LA Times)
- Shiftthesubsidies.org (a website run by Oil Change International)
- "How Global Fuel Subsidies Make Everyone Worse Off" (blog by Brad Plumer in the Washington Post)
- A Guardian article on how cutting subsidies would help cut carbon
- "Fossil Fuel Subsidies Are the Real Job Killers" (a blog by 350.org executive director May Boeve and co-founder of the Labor Network for Sustainability Brendan Smith)
- A Bloomberg article on how fossil fuel subsidies are 6 times more than renewable energy subsidies
- A Center for American Progress article on getting off of oil and the role that cutting subsidies plays a big role