A group of 35 progressive climate hawks in the House of Representatives want the special deficit committee to end Big Oil subsidies worth $122 billion over the next 10 years. In a letter to committee chairs Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-TX) and Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA), Reps. Peter Welch (D-VT), Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), and 33 other House Democrats ask for the end of the subsidies because “the United States can no longer afford to give away billions of dollars every year to corporations earning billions of dollars in profits”:
In the current budgetary environment, the United States can no longer afford to give away billions of dollars every year to corporations earning billions of dollars in profits and costing American taxpayers twice: at the pump and through the tax code. We urge the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction to consider eliminating subsidies for fossil fuels as an excellent source of deficit reducing savings. According to a coalition of organizations, eliminating subsidies to the fossil fuels industry could reduce our national debt by up to $122 billion over ten years.
Welch and Blumenauer are members of the House Sustainable Energy and Environment Coalition. Their letter adds their support to the request made by leaders of 52 national and state organizations on Oct. 5 to the super committee to end “government handouts to the oil, coal and gas industries.”
The list of subsidies includes:
$43.5 billion in federal tax subsidies to oil and gas companies
$2.5 billion in federal tax subsidies to coal companies
$1.3 billion tax credit for refineries
$9.5 billion in royalty-free oil and gas leases
$52 billion in “last in, first out” accounting for inventories, a tax credit that disproportionately helps the oil and gas industry
$10.5 billion dual capacity tax credit, which also largely benefits oil and gas companies
Ending these subsidies would not only help restore fiscal health to the nation, but also take a small step towards repairing the health of the planet’s climate. The fiscal committee needs to go farther and place an explicit price on carbon pollution so that fossil companies pay for their pollution, instead of future generations.