Sen. Sanders, Environmental Groups Call to End Fossil Fuel Subsidies

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Common Dreams

Sen. Sanders, Environmental Groups Call to End Fossil Fuel Subsidies

by
Common Dreams staff

Today, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.), Bill McKibben of 350.org, Brent Blackwelder of Friends of the Earth and Ryan Alexander of Taxpayers for Common Sense held a rally and press conference announcing a new piece of legislation aimed at eliminating all subsidies for fossil fuel production.

The bill, crafted by Sanders and Ellison, would cut $113 billion in subsidies to the coal, oil and gas lobby over the next 10 years.

"The biggest 5 oil companies made 135 billion in profit last year. Why in the world are we giving them at least 10 billion in subsidies while we are closing public schools?" reads a message posted by Sanders on social media site Twitter.

The group announced the legislation at a news conference today.

"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 uncle of yours who doesn't believe in global warming but wants to cut government spending," writes 350.org.

"You see, not only is the fossil fuel industry the richest on earth, but any of us who pay taxes write it a hefty check each year. It’s as if we’re paying them a performance bonus for wrecking the climate. We’ll never get to renewable energy if we keep handing gobs of money to oil and coal and gas," writes Bill McKibben today.

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Sen. Bernie Sanders: Sanders, Ellison File Bill to End Fossil Fuel Subsidies

“We are here today not just to announce new legislation, but to send a message that it is time to end the absurdity of taxpayers providing massive subsidies to hugely profitable fossil fuel corporations,” Sanders told a news conference outside the U.S. Capitol. “In these difficult economic times, it is imperative that we support the taxpayers of this country and not the fossil fuel industry – one of the most powerful special interests in the world,” he added.

Joining Sanders at a news conference, Ellison noted that big oil companies make more than $300 million every day. “Why should Americans prop up these companies with tax dollars and have to pay ridiculous fuel prices?” he asked. “We need to get off the fossil fuel bandwagon that keeps us dependent on oil and contributes to climate change. The $113 billion in taxpayer handouts that oil, gas, and coal companies receive should be used to invest in green jobs. It’s time for this corporate welfare to end.”

The measure would do away with tax breaks, financial assistance, royalty relief, direct federal research and development and many loopholes that benefit the fossil fuel industry. Under current law, more than $113 billion in federal subsidies would go to oil, coal and gas industries in the coming decade.

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A free and independent press is essential to the health of a functioning democracy

350.org: Getting our money back

This morning, 350.org is joining with Senator Bernie Sanders and Representative Keith Ellison to launch a new bill that would cut $113 billion in subsidies to the coal, oil and gas lobby over the next 10 years.

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.

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The Hill: Sanders, Ellison to float bill ending fossil fuel subsidies

A pair of lefty Capitol Hill lawmakers — Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) — will float legislation Thursday that would nix a wide range of subsidies for the coal, oil and natural-gas industries.

“The measure would do away with tax breaks, financial assistance, royalty relief, direct federal research and development and many loopholes that benefit the fossil fuel industry. Under current law, more than $110 billion in federal subsidies would go to oil, coal and gas industries in the coming decade,” an advisory states.

The bill has backing from 350.org, Taxpayers for Common Sense, the Sierra Club, Defenders of Wildlife and Friends of the Earth.

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