This afternoon, the US Senate will vote on a bill designed to end $4 billion a year in subsidies to the oil industry. The bill is unlikely to pass, but it’s a clear sign that momentum for ending fossil fuel subsidies is increasing. While the $4 billion in oil subsidies are only the tip of the ice berg when it comes the all the public money our government is handing over to the oil, gas and coal industry, reppealing these subsidies to Big Oil is a big step in the right direction. It’s opened up the door just a crack — now it’s our job to get a foot in there and start opening it even wider. 

Here’s how outrageous the situation is. Last year, the Big Five oil companies here in the US made a record $137 billion in profits. Every penny more Americans pay at the pump increases Big Oil’s profits by another $200 million. When you look up “companies that don’t need more money” in the Dictionary, a photo of the oil companies comes up. And yet, year after year, these industries make enough campaign contributions and spend enough money lobbying Washington that politicians vote time and again to preserve these subsidies — and preserve them at our expense. 

Over the next year, is going to be a running an international campaign to end these gifts to the fossil fuel industry. Here in the United States, we’ll be pushing on Congress and all of our elected officials to tell us who’s side they are on, the people or the polluters. Internationally, we’ll be gearing up for the upcoming G20 and Rio+20 meetings to try and put ending subsidies on the agenda and secure a firm commitment from world leaders that they are moving in this direction.

Today’s vote — symbolic as it may be — helps kick off that fight in a major way. Cutting fossil fuel subsidies is on the agenda and together we can make sure it stays there. 


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