The deficit reduction supercommittee has a November 23 deadline to finish its work. One of the first places lawmakers should look for cuts is the dirty energy sector.
From 2008 through 2010, Big Energy industries were among the top recipients of government handouts, second only to the financial industry.
Big Oil alone racks up $4 billion a year, while the corporations that make up the Big Oil industry post obscene profits quarter after quarter. In the first quarter of 2011, the world’s six largest oil companies reported combined profits of $38.1 billion – up 42 percent from the same period in 2010.
Eliminating these subsidies would shave $122 billion off our deficit over the next 10 years – and would improve the environment and public health.
It’s a no-brainer. The vast majority of Americans of every party want these subsidies to end. Yet Congress is loath to push dirty energy away from the government trough.
Big Energy influence over our democracy certainly has played a role in previous attempts to eliminate these subsidies. This time, the 12 members that have the authority to make the cuts have received at least $4.2 million in campaign contributions from dirty energy interests.
Beyond helping reduce our deficit, eliminating dirt energy subsidies is crucial to shifting us toward a clean energy future.
If we continue to prop up this old dirty energy economy, we can’t invest in something better. To learn how shifting government spending toward investments in clean, green solutions—renewable energy, safer chemicals and materials, zero waste and more—can deliver jobs AND a healthier environment, watch The Story of Broke, by Public Citizen board member, Annie Leonard. After you watch the short program, don’t forget to sign the petition to the supercommittee.
And check out NPR’s story on energy subsidies by clicking here.