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Sanders and Ellison introduce bill to end over $135 billion in fossil fuel handouts

Posted Apr. 22, 2015 / Posted by: Adam Russell

WASHINGTON, D.C. – In honor of Earth Day, Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Representative Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) reintroduced the End Polluter Welfare Act to stop taxpayer-funded giveaways to oil, gas and coal companies. Targeting a range of subsidies for repeal -- including tax breaks, loan guarantees, and government-sponsored R&D -- the bill would save taxpayers over $135 billion over ten years.

Unlike renewable energy tax breaks, which expire and require congressional approval for extension, the mega-tax breaks of the fossil fuel industry are permanent parts of the tax code. These provisions funnel massive amounts of money super-profitable corporations and reduce the competitiveness of renewable energy. Ending these giveaways is an important step to fighting the climate crisis and raising revenue for much-needed social programs. 

In response, a number of environmental groups joined together in support of the bill:

“The challenge of this generation is keeping dirty fuels in the ground. The best place to start is by ending policies that send billions to the corporations doing the digging,” said Lukas Ross, climate and energy campaigner at Friends of the Earth.

"As our country finally begins the journey to reduce and eliminate our carbon footprint, we must make oil and gas polluters pay their due share. The era of subsidized fossil fuel destruction must end," said Bill Snape, senior counsel at the Center for Biological Diversity.

"American taxpayers shouldn't have to subsidize the dirty work of some of the world's richest companies, like Chevron, BP and ExxonMobil. To avoid poisoning our air, water and climate, we must leave dirty fossil fuels in the ground, not spend taxpayer dollars pulling them out. That's why the Sierra Club applauds Senator Sanders and Congressman Ellison for this bill to save taxpayers money and make Big Oil and Gas companies pay their own way," said Athan Manuel, Lands Protection Program director for the Sierra Club.

"It is high time that Congress stop wasting tax money propping up coal, oil and gas,” said Kyle Ash, senior legislative representative at Greenpeace. “Fossil energy is a bad investment for the economy, the climate and public health."

“It’s time to stop spending our hard-earned taxpayer dollars on polluting the air we breathe, the water we drink and the places we love. This bill is a winner for our environment and our pocketbooks,” said Anna Aurilio, Washington, D.C., director for Environment America.

"We shouldn't be subsidizing last century's dirty energy. Our leaders need to lean into 21st century clean energy solutions that create work, wealth and health for everybody, including Americans hit hardest by pollution and poverty," said Jeremy Hays, executive director of Green For All.

“Ending taxpayer handouts to dirty energy companies is a bold first step toward on the path to a sustainable, democratic and equitable economy in the U.S.,” said Janet Redman, director of the Climate Policy Program at the Institute for Policy Studies. “Our public dollars should be spent on a clean energy transition that’s good for workers and their families, not to prop up an industry that gets rich by driving us to the brink of climate disaster.”

"Taxpayer support for fossil fuels is wasteful, destructive and wrong in so many ways. Senator Sanders and Representative Ellison are to be congratulated for their efforts to end these subsidies. Subsidies for oil, coal and gas are nothing short of climate denial and we must demand that our government stop it immediately," said Stephen Kretzmann, executive director of Oil Change International.

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Contacts:
Lukas Ross, Friends of the Earth, (202) 222-0724, lross@foe.org
Bill Snape, Center for Biological Diversity, (202) 536-9351, bsnape@biologicaldiversity.org
Kyle Ash, Greenpeace, (202) 319-2417, kash@greenpeace.org
Anna Aurilio, Environment America, (202) 725-0268, asquared@environmentamerica.org
Kristina Avery, Green For All, (541) 914-9744, kristina@greenforall.org
Radha Adhar, Sierra Club, (202) 675-2390, radha.adhar@sierraclub.org
Janet Redman, Institute for Policy Studies, (202) 787-5215, janet@ips-dc.org
Steve Kretzmann, Oil Change International, (202) 497-1033, steve@priceofoil.org

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