Despite record oil profits and apocalyptic talk about the federal budget deficit, the Senate has voted to continue handing billions of dollars every year to the five largest oil companies.
Although a majority of senators -- 52, including two Republicans -- voted for the Closing Big Oil Loopholes Act, the Senate’s filibuster rules prevented the bill from making it to the floor for debate. American taxpayers will continue handing $4 billion to the oil industry each year, but the good news is that we’re making progress -- most of the Senate voted with us to end oil subsidies.
Take this opportunity to send a message to your senators and, depending on how they voted, thank those who sided with the public -- and hold those who sided with Big Oil accountable.
Thanks to lavish campaign contributions and high-powered lobbying, oil companies enjoy multi-billion dollar tax breaks every year for everything from searching for oil to “intangible drilling expenses” -- plus they avoid more taxes by hiding their profits in other countries. Oil companies are resisting any effort to end their profit-padding tax breaks.
In 2005, ConocoPhillips CEO James Mulva told the Senate that with oil prices at $55 per barrel, subsidies were unnecessary. But last week, as senators and oil executives squared off in a Senate hearing, he said the subsidies are necessary and that it would be unfair to eliminate the giveaways, even though oil prices are nearly double what they were in 2005. The day before the hearing, his company, ConocoPhillips, said in a press release that ending giveaways to the industry is “un-American.”
You and I know what’s really unfair -- continuing to provide Big Oil its slush fund at our expense. Let your senators know that they should care about more important things -- like their constituents. Senators need to hear how much ending these environmentally destructive subsidies means to you.
There are responsible ways to run our government that rely on ensuring big polluters pay their fair share, rather than putting essential safeguards and protections on the chopping block. Seventy-four percent of Americans support ending subsidies for oil companies,1 and stopping these handouts just makes sense.
The senators who voted for the provision, especially Senators Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe of Maine who voted based on principle instead of party, took a bold first step to end Washington’s wasteful and dangerous handouts to polluting corporations. Let your senators know that you care about this important issue, and that you will not let them get away with putting polluters' interests ahead of the people!
Please take action today and help us keep the spotlight on this important issue. Tell your senators you know how they voted -- thank the senators who voted to close big oil tax loopholes, and admonish those who didn’t!
Climate and Tax Analyst, Friends of the Earth
1. Wall Street Journal, "Poll Shows Budget-Cuts Dilemma"