All around the world, citizen activism is starting to pay off in unexpected ways. Grassroots movements are forcing governments to listen – finally making government do what it was elected for.

 

The End Polluter Welfare Act 

The End Polluter Welfare Act is a new piece of legislation introduced by Sen. Bernie Sanders  in the US Senate and by Rep. Keith Ellison in the House. At a time when we have record debt, Congress should not continue to give away taxpayer money to the established, highly profitable fossil fuel industry.

  • Fossil fuels are subsidized at nearly 6 times the rate of renewable energy. From 2002 to 2008, the US Government gave the mature fossil fuel industry over $72 billion in subsidies, while investments in the emerging renewable industry totaled $12.2 billion.
  • The fossil fuel energy industry does not need taxpayer subsidies. In 2011, the Big Five oil companies alone made $137 billion in profits. During the first quarter of 2012, the Big Five oil companies earned a combined $33.5 billion, or $368 million per day.
  • Unlike renewable energy incentives which periodically expire and require Congress to approve extensions, the fossil fuel industry has dozens of subsidies permanently engrained in the tax code from decades of successful lobbying. In 2011, the oil, gas, and coal industries spent a combined $167 million on lobbying the federal government.

This bill would comprehensively abolish fossil fuel subsidies, saving taxpayers billions of dollars. It ends tax breaks, eliminates special financing, does away with taxpayer- funded fossil fuel R&D, and sets fair royalties policies to ensure the fossil fuel corporations pay their fair share. Examples of these giveaways include:

OIL, GAS, and COAL TAX BREAKS

  • $14 Billion Saved by eliminating the intangible drilling deduction.
  • $12 Billion Saved by repealing a 2004 law that allows fossil fuel corporations to take deductions aimed at helping American manufacturers by claiming they are manufacturers.
  • $6.8 Billion Saved by closing the loophole that allows corporations like BP to deduct money they spend cleaning up their own oil spills and paying damages.

SPECIAL FINANCING

  • $2.4 Billion Saved by stopping fossil fuel companies from investing through Master Limited Partnerships, an option not available to clean energy businesses.

TAXPAYER FUNDED R&D

  • $3.7 Billion Saved by shutting the federal Office of Fossil Energy.

ROYALTIES

  • $10.6 Billion Saved by recouping lost royalties for offshore drilling in public waters.

Want to see all the different subsidies that this bill would eliminate? Here’s a PDF of the full list.

Campaigning to End Fossil Fuel Subsidies

Almost everyone in the country opposes handing cash over to big oil, big coal, and big gas—the numbers are in the 80% range among Republicans, Independents, and Democrats. That means that we’ll be working to get all sorts of people on board with this fight, maybe even that cranky Unkle of yours who doesn’t believe in global warming but wants to cut government spending.
This won’t be any normal legislative push. First, that’s just not how we do things here at 350.org. But more importantly, we know that if we confine this effort to Capitol Hill, the fossil fuel industry will just drown us in dollars — they could spend $100 billion fighting this thing and still come out on top. So, we’re going to have to find other currencies to work in: our creativity, energy, and grassroots organizing power. This needs to be a people’s bill through and through.
In the coming days, we’ll be getting out more info about how everyone can get involved in this fight, from getting your member of Congress on the record, to helping beat back industry propaganda, even a way to give recalcitrant politicians special blazers, outfitted with the logos of the companies that give them cash. We’re going to have fun with this.

(Source: 350.org)