Green Scissors: Cut Subsidies to the Polluters
|February 3, 2002||Posted by Staff under Progress Report, The Progress Report|
Handouts Keep US Weak, Dependent on Foreign Energy
Energy Polluters Poised to Reap $62 Billion in Taxpayer Handouts
One of the best ways that the US can strengthen itself in the fight against terrorism, is to become independent from Middle East energy sources. Unfortunately, the federal government instead is shoveling welfare handouts at the energy industry, making us weaker and more dependent than ever. Some politicians would rather risk terrorism than disappoint their campaign contributors.
Below is a news announcement from the Green Scissors Coalition (Friends of the Earth, Taxpayers for Common Sense, U.S. Public Interest Research Group).
Out-of-Control Government Giveaways to Oil, Coal and Nuclear Power Could Double, Groups Say
Government subsidies to oil, coal and nuclear power industries could double if the Senate passes the House energy bill (H.R. 4), according to a report released today by the Green Scissors Campaign. “Running on Empty: How Environmentally Harmful Energy Subsidies Siphon Billions from Taxpayers” details new and existing subsidies to oil, coal, gas and nuclear power industries that would total $62 billion over the next 10 years.
“The richest polluters in the land are already raking in enormous, mind-boggling handouts,” said Erich Pica, Friends of the Earth, Director of the Green Scissors Campaign. “And our leaders want to give them more while our economy is struggling? It’s time for President Bush and Congress to put a stop to this outrageous waste of taxpayer dollars,” he added.
“Running on Empty” estimates that existing subsidies and tax breaks to polluting energy industries totaling $33 billion will nearly double, to $62 billion, if the House energy bill (H.R. 4) is signed into law. Coal, oil and nuclear industry allies in Congress are promoting these new subsidies despite the erosion of a four-year budget surplus into a $100 billion deficit.
The report documents some of the tax breaks and subsidies that energy giants such as Enron, which paid no corporate income tax in four of the last five years, lobbied for and got in the House energy bill. Enron — what remains of it — would benefit enormously from tax breaks on pipelines as well as royalty subsidies in the House bill. These handouts, combined, total $4.9 billion dollars to industry over ten years.
But Enron is just the tip of the iceberg. Both ChevronTexaco and British Petroleum have vast assets in the Gulf of Mexico and could potentially benefit from royalty relief and research and development programs targeted towards activities in the Gulf.
The Senate is poised to begin debate on its own energy bill (S. 1766) in the next few weeks. While the legislation is currently incomplete, some dirty energy subsidies are already emerging.
“Profitable energy companies are gunning for this money at a time when we have a growing budget deficit, ” said Cena Swisher, Senior Program Director for Taxpayers for Common Sense. “The fuel gauge for the Federal Treasury is on empty and we can’t afford these outrageous giveaways to big energy.”
“The subsidies and tax breaks in H.R. 4 reward the oil, coal and nuclear industries that dirty our water and foul our air,” said U.S. PIRG Staff Attorney Pierre Sadik. “The Senate should reject these enormous polluter giveaways, and move us toward a cleaner, smarter, and more secure energy future.”
Since 1995, the Green Scissors coalition, led by Friends of the Earth, Taxpayers for Common Sense and the U.S. Public Interest Research Group (PIRG), has produced analyses of the federal budget that identify wasteful spending that harms the environment. Over the last eight years, the Green Scissors coalition has helped cut or eliminate $26 billion of environmentally harmful spending programs from the federal budget. The new special report focuses on energy programs already in the federal budget in addition to those included in the energy bill passed by the House of Representatives last August.
For more information and a copy of the report, visit http://www.greenscissors.org/publications/
Instead of fighting terrorism by strengthening the US energy policy, politicians seem to want to keep domestic energy producers fat and flabby. What’s your opinion on the Green Scissors initiative? Tell your views to The Progress Report!