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Dirty Energy Dominance: Dependent on Denial

By Janet Redman, et. al. - Oil Change International, October 2017

A new report by Oil Change International reveals that U.S. taxpayers continue to foot the bill for more than $20 billion in fossil fuel subsidies each year. The analysis outlines tax incentives, credits, low royalty rates, and other government measures benefiting the oil, gas, and coal sectors.

While the majority of Americans want stronger U.S. action on climate change, policies at the state and federal level continue to underwrite the ongoing exploration and production of fossil fuels. Every dollar spent subsidizing this industry takes us further away from achieving internationally agreed emissions goals, and maintaining a stable climate.

Key findings include:

  • Fossil fuel subsidies have been defended by a Congress influenced by $350 million in campaign contributions and lobbying expenditures by the fossil fuel industry – which equates to a 8,200% return on investment.
  • The cost of annual federal fossil fuel production subsidies is equivalent to the projected 2018 budget cuts from Trump’s proposals to slash 10 public programs and services that benefit some of the nation’s most vulnerable children and families.
  • Government giveaways in the form of permanent tax breaks to the fossil fuel industry – one of which is over a century old – are seven times larger than those to the renewable energy sector.

The report recommends that climate champions in Congress, statehouses, and governors’ residences concerned about using taxpayer dollars wisely can push back on Trump’s fossil fuel agenda by taking the following actions:

  • Immediately repeal existing tax breaks for fossil fuel exploration and production, and halt efforts to extend and expand tax credits for unconventional fossil fuel production technologies, like carbon capture and storage and enhanced oil recovery.
  • Champion broader legislation that ends investment in fossil fuel expansion, and funds a just transition for industry-dependent workers and communities, while supporting a clean, renewable energy economy.
  • Break the cycle of dirty energy money, particularly by elected officials at all levels of government pledging to refuse campaign donations and other forms of support from the oil, gas, and coal industries.

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