Sanders, Omar bill ends fossil fuel subsidies

Ahead of today’s Senate Budget Committee hearing on “The Cost of Inaction on Climate Change,” Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) introduced the End Polluter Welfare Act to close tax loopholes and eliminate federal subsidies for the oil, gas, and coal industries. 

According to a press release from Sanders’ office, American taxpayers today pay $15 billion per year in direct federal subsidies to the fossil fuel industry. In 2020, the oil, gas, and coal industry spent more than $115 million lobbying Congress in defense of these giveaways for an over 13,000% return on investment, Sanders claimed.

The End Polluter Welfare Act, cosponsored by Sens. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Ed Markey (D-Mass.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), and Rep. Nanette Diaz Barragán (D-Calif.), would eliminate save American taxpayers up to $150 billion over the next ten years, Sanders claimed.

“The conduct of oil and gas companies, toward American taxpayers and the distortion of the truth about climate change, is one of the biggest scandals of our lifetime,” said Sen. Sanders. “At a time when scientists tell us we need to reduce carbon pollution to prevent catastrophic climate change, and when fossil fuel companies are making billions of dollars in profit every year, we have a fiscal and moral responsibility to stop forcing working families to pad the profits of an industry that is destroying our planet.”

“Providing corporate giveaways during a time of widespread suffering to fossil-fuel companies is unconscionable,” said Rep. Omar. “Our resources should go to helping the American people get through this crisis—not providing giveaways to the very people responsible for polluting our water and lands. We should be fighting for a greener, more equitable future for all instead of making the fossil fuel industry more profitable. I’m proud to be in this fight to end the welfare system for fossil fuel companies and invest those resources back to the American people.”

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Editor: it is difficult to determine the full extent of U.S. government fossil fuel subsidies, and the impact of stopping them. For example – would these cuts include eliminating the LIHEAP subsidy of wintertime heating assistance for low-income Americans? The image below – credit the Earth Institute – shows U.S. Energy Information Administration data on direct subsidies from the federal government, which includes tax benefits, grants, loans, or other financial assistance awards made directly to recipients, and also grants, loans, and other financial assistance for research and development.

Categories: Energy

4 replies »

  1. I would agree that government subsidies of industries must end, but that should also include an end to subsidizing “renewable” and “other” energy endeavors. Where there are ideas worthy of pursuing/developing then such is best left to free market competition.

  2. There sure are lies, damn lies and politicians who pray on the citizens of our state and the country. Your table reflects direct subsidies. Compared with per unit of energy delivered the skew is even worse. Then, don’t forget the taxes charged on every gallon of fuel. For example, very time you buy 20 gallons of gasoline, the federal government already collects $3.60. This is hidden in the price you pay because they won’t let the pumps show how much each gallons cost are Federal and State taxes.

    If a company claimed facts the way our politician do, their management would go to jail.

  3. It is wonderful to have Bernie Sanders putting forward legislation to stop Federal subsidies for fossil fuel companies. Long overdue, this will help us on the road to sustainable energy, eliminating
    one avenue of corporate welfare. They should also reenact tax credits and rebates for homeowners
    to install solar panels, and sustainable heating systems. Many homeowners would
    love to have solar systems, and non fossil fuel furnaces, but the price tag is too high, so
    it is not an affordable option for them. Another issue that many folks are not aware of is, insurance companies penalize homeowners using pellet stoves by changing higher rates or refusing to insure homes using them. This is very unfair to people who want to reduce their carbon footprint and should be brought to the attention of regulators.

  4. Oh, BernieBernieBernie — As with so much of what’s said…he gives us a great idea…a grand recipe…then he insists on throwing in his delusions. For decades he’s been our voice of fundamental Christianity…our own St. Francis “…what you don’t use for your needs is extra, use it to help others…” Bless his heart, this is when he has a cognitive hiccup and goes off the rails. He wants to define “your needs” and because what you greedy swine do to help others is unsatisfactory, he needs to confiscate your “extra” and have the commonweal do the “helping” in the “right” places. In this new fuel case his grand recipe is to disentangle our tax monies from interfering in the fossil fuel markets. …aside from the messianic delusion that he’s going to correct a global “carbon” cycle catastrophe, the idea of disconnecting our confiscated moneys from the market place is compelling…right? Of course then his consistency fails. There’s no consideration of all the other arenas where the moneyed hand of government is intruding in markets. Let alone, it’s support of industries we might find problematic…like paying Planned Parenthood to eliminated our unwanted progeny.