Friday, May 15, 2015

Three Oil Projects Cost Taxpayers Almost $2 Billion in Subsidies; Oil Train Safety Rules Challenged

Three Oil Company Projects Cost Taxpayers Almost $2 Billion in Subsidies

It’s no secret that the fossil fuel industry and the government are horribly intertwined, but a recent investigation by The Guardian reveals just how codependent their relationship really is and just now much it’s costing American taxpayers.

The Guardian examined three specific projects — one each run by Shell, ExxonMobil, and Marathon Petroleum — and found that all three corporations benefited from huge tax subsidies granted, of course, “by politicians who received significant campaign contributions from the fossil fuel industry.

Specifically, the investigation found that:
  • A proposed Shell petrochemical refinery in Pennsylvania is in line for $1.6 billion in-state subsidy, according to a deal struck in 2012 when the company made an annual profit of $26.8 billion.
  • ExxonMobil’s upgrades to its Baton Rouge refinery in Louisiana are benefiting from $119 million of state subsidy, with the support starting in 2011, when the company made a $41 billion profit.
  • A jobs subsidy scheme worth $78 million to Marathon Petroleum in Ohio began in 2011, when the company made $2.4 billion in profit.
Overall, these three projects cost taxpayers nearly $2 billion. There is no reason the government should be giving these hugely successful corporations such huge tax breaks, especially when considering the amount of environmental damage oil production and consumption causes.

“Subsidies to fossil fuel companies are completely inappropriate in this day and age,” Oil Change International’s executive director Stephen Kretzmann. “Climate science is clear that the vast majority of existing reserves will have to stay in the ground, yet our government spends many tens of billions of our tax dollars – every year – making it more profitable for the fossil fuel industry to produce even more.”

Unfortunately for Kretzmann — and the Earth, the politicians doling out these gigantic tax subsidies deny climate change is real and man-made, or at least they publicly say they are. Admitting that it’s real and problem would definitely have an effect on campaign contributions from the fossil fuel industry.

“Big oil, gas, and coal have huge influence on politicians and governments and they get that influence the old fashioned way — they buy it,” said Kretzmann. “Through campaign finance, lobbying, advertising, and super [political action committee] spending, the industry has many ways to influence candidates and government officials seeking re-election.”

“Every single well, pipeline, refinery, coal and gas plant in the country is heavily subsidized. Big Fossil’s lobbyists have done their jobs well for the last century.”

Click here to read The Guardian’s full investigation.

U.S. green groups sue in challenge to oil train safety rules

1 comment:

  1. Don't get me wrong here, I'm glad anyone is filing a lawsuit that may slow down or stop the crude oil "bomb trains" from coming through our communities--in all states--especially Washington State, and specifically Grays Harbor and more finitely to the three proposed terminals at the Port of Grays Harbor. However, with that being said, I can't help but express chagrin at all the twists and turns this movement against crude oil by rail has taken over the last 3 years. Since we discovered the vastness of the plan, profound evidence has been presented through public commenting and legislative hearings showing exactly why this is a bad idea. Most occasions of public commenting and testimony have shown "crude by rail" to be wholly lacking in positive outcomes for man, beast, water and just about everyone and everything, save for Warren Buffet and Big Oil. Why we cannot stop this, or have been unable to so far is beyond me. We make our way through laborious, not to mention time consuming, dances & processes of education and demonstration and legislation--still no stopping. A failure which stems from a system that is arbitrarily skewed against grass roots, 2 minute comments and/or any type of speaking out by the un-monied. (Remember the Red Lion?") The legislative hearings on rail safety bills in Olympia earlier this year, were offered to the public--to the "concerned" groups--many of whom are named above, in this lawsuit. A representative of The Washington Environmental Council spoke at the Senate and House hearings on rail safety bills to no avail--it would appear now. My conclusion being now--the legislative process is apparently skewed, toward the monied? The judicial process will now have an opportunity to show us, through their slowly, costly lumbering labyrinth of procedures--how skewered it truly is...without a doubt. I wonder how long this suing will take? Will we eventually have our day in Court? While Rome is burning--will these concerns/arguments travel speedily and effectively through the courts? WE can hope. We can keep our fingers crossed. Thank goodness the "anti crude oil spokespeople" and green groups have the stamina and the money (?) to speak for does cost money. It does cost time--lots of time. Great Effort? Yes! Thank you! So, Thank you Green Groups...and wishing you good speed, while looking at a beneficial outcome--for all--"No Crude by Rail." Apparently, now, an obscure and idealistic dream but if we: "Shoot for the moon, even if we miss, we will surely land among the Stars! Keep up the good fight for justice for all.