Congressman Tim Bishop has unveiled new legislation targeting billions in taxpayer subsidies given to Big Oil each year. Removing the subsidy would reduce the deficit by $9.2 billion over 10 years, according to the Congressional Joint Committee on Taxation.
Bishop’s updated version of the Big Oil Welfare Repeal Act would eliminate the “Section 199” deduction for the “major integrated oil companies.” This would include BP, Chevron Corp., ConocoPhillips, ExxonMobil Corp, and the Royal Dutch Shell Group.
ExxonMobil and Chevron earned the highest and second highest profits, respectively, of all U.S. corporations in 2012. In total, these five companies have recorded a total of $118 billion in profits in 2012, following record profits of $137 billion in 2011.
“Americans are still paying twice for gas: once at the pump and once on tax day – it’s an outrage,” said Bishop in a press release issued last week. “Big Oil already has every incentive to drill and increasing the federal deficit to pad their sky high profits is ‘exhibit A’ in wasteful government spending.”
The repeal of the subsidy is included in fiscal year 2014 budget introduced by President Barack Obama last week and has also been targeted for elimination by the Bowles-Simpson Commission on Deficit Reduction. Bishop’s attempt to force a vote on subsidy reduction in relation to environmental regulation of hydropower plants last week failed after unanimous Republican opposition.
“These corporate gifts are a remnant of past policies which tie us to dirty fossil fuels for our future,” said Adrienne Esposito, executive director of Citizens Campaign for the Environment. “The time has come for America to invest in the clean, safe, renewable energy resources to provide a sustainable future rather than providing handouts to dirty, dwindling and unsustainable fossil fuels.”