The Beacon

Blog Tags: Big Oil

CEO Note: No More Handouts For Oil Companies

Andy Sharpless is the CEO at Oceana.

What will lower your gas prices at the pump?

If you were to listen to national politicians and the marketing of the oil and gas industry, they would tell you that increased domestic drilling will lower your gas prices – and that tax breaks for oil companies will help get us there.

But this simply isn’t true, and it’s been proven time and time again. Oil is a global commodity hunted and extracted by multinational corporations who will sell the oil to the highest bidder, not simply to the citizens of the country where the oil was found. What’s more, the U.S. is a relatively oil-poor country – estimated to have 2 percent of world oil reserves – so even extracting all its oil resources will affect pump prices only by pennies, and will take a decade to be realized.

The oil industry is currently enjoying $4 billion a year in tax breaks from the U.S. government. Surging profits this year for the industry – up 74 percent to more than $100 billion – show that it could easily pay its fair share of taxes. Even if we weren’t currently having a national conversation about balancing the federal budget, this policy is not sensible.

So it was with pleasure last week that I stood outside the U.S. Capitol along with five U.S. senators, six representatives and the Sierra Club to speak out against tax subsidies for oil companies.

By ending billions in tax breaks for oil companies, the U.S. government will protect American taxpayers as well as our beaches, paving the way for a clean energy future.

We'll continue to fight for this crucial change. Your support makes it possible.


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It’s Time to End Handouts to Big Oil

andy sharpless

Oceana CEO Andy Sharpless speaks to a crowd at the Capitol. © Oceana/Heather Ryan

Yesterday Oceana CEO Andy Sharpless joined members of Congress and other clean energy advocates in urging an end to oil industry tax breaks and subsidies

The five biggest oil companies – including Chevron, Shell and ExxonMobil -- took in 70 percent more profit this quarter than they did in the same quarter in 2010, and their earnings for 2011 are projected to go up by 74 percent to $132 billion. And yet U.S. policymakers have consistently voted to continue tax breaks and subsidies for these corporations.

In other words, we are essentially paying these companies to take big risks in our oceans. What’s wrong with this picture?

As Sharpless noted, ending these tax breaks will protect vital economic programs for hard working Americans and veterans, while reducing the federal deficit.  “Ending giveaways to oil companies is a no-brainer,” Sharpless said. “Oil companies should pay their fair share of taxes like the rest of us – they doggone sure have the money.”

 

Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ), one of the speakers at yesterday’s press conference, has been a longtime leader in the fight to close tax loopholes for Big Oil. Just last month, Sen. Menendez led a letter with 13 Senate colleagues to the The Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction, often called "the Supercommittee," urging consideration of his “Close Big Oil Tax Loopholes Act.”  The bill calls for the elimination of more than $21 billion in oil subsidies. The bill received a majority vote in the Senate but did not pass due to a Republican filibuster. 

“Isn’t it time we asked Big Oil – the folks who made $100 billion in profits so far this year – to pay their fair share?” Menendez said. 

We couldn’t agree more.

The Obama Administration has proposed cutting harmful oil and gas subsidies by $4 billion per year.  The President’s proposal would net over $40 billion over 10 years.

We’ll continue the fight to end these harmful subsidies and promote investment in clean energy. Thanks as always for your support and stay tuned! (In the meantime, you can check out more photos from yesterday's presser.)


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Hey Big Oil, Clean Up Your Mess

Today, Congress returns from elections to wrap up its work for this session, which means that time is running out for the Senate to pass any legislation in response to the Gulf of Mexico oil spill. The House of Representatives already passed their version of a spill response bill back in July, and now it is the Senate’s turn to act.

The Gulf of Mexico needs help, and it needed it yesterday. Of course, the only way to prevent another catastrophe like the Deepwater Horizon oil spill is to ban new offshore oil and gas drilling. In the meantime, the least we can do is pass a bill to clean up and restore the devastation that the oil industry has inflicted upon our oceans and coasts.


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Tell the Senate To Say No To Big Oil!

Thanks to the Deepwater Drilling Disaster, the issue of dependence on oil is more important than ever.

Tell your Senators to Vote NO on the Murkowski Resolution, S.J Res. 26, on June 10th!

While oil spill covers the beaches and marshes of the Gulf of Mexico, Big Oil goes after the Clean Air Act and tries to defeat action on climate change.

The Senate will vote this Thursday, June 10, on legislation that would increase America’s dependence on oil by blocking just-finalized rules that require new cars to use less oil. Senator Lisa Murkowski of Alaska is spearheading the effort, backed by Big Oil.

Efforts to block all or part of the Clean Air Act and EPA's ability to use this keystone environmental law to address climate change would seriously undermine the overwhelming science of climate change and further exacerbate impacts to national security and public health and welfare. Additionally, these efforts hold back billions of dollars in job-creating clean energy investments all across the country. America has the ability to lead the world in growing the clean energy economy but our continued dependence on fossil fuels does nothing to drive investments in the clean energy and efficiency programs needed to spur local economic development and job growth.

The Clean Air Act has cost-effectively protected our citizens and the environment for decades. In a 2007 landmark decision the Supreme Court ruled the Clean Air Act covers greenhouse gases and now is the time to put this law to work to fight climate change.

The Murkowski Resolution would undermine long-overdue action to protect Americans citizens and our oceans from climate change impacts and jeopardize growing a vibrant clean energy economy.

Click here to tell your Senators to Vote NO on the Murkowski Resolution, S.J Res. 26, on June 10th!


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Spills Happen!

Image via Wikimedia Commons

...And more often than people think. Just days after the President offered up more of our coasts to the oil industry, an oil pipeline operated by Chevron Pipe Line Co leaked at least 18,000 gallons of crude oil into the Delta National Wildlife Refuge in Louisiana.
 
This is another example of how dangerous exposure to an oil spill can potentially be to coastal wildlife and habitat, in a national wildlife refuge no less. Spills happen at every stage of oil production. Whether it is from drilling, pipelines, tankers, or refineries; a spill can occur at every stage of the oil production process. Then when we burn the oil, it contributes to climate change.

Big Oil would have us believe that spills are a thing of the past thanks to modern technology. Unfortunately, the facts play out otherwise. Oil spills are not rare occurrence. Almost one million gallons of oil enter the oceans of North America every year through extraction activities alone.


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