Tesla Takes Step Towards Solar Electric Economy As US Congress Ponders Ending Big Oil's Handouts

by Ma. Claribelle Deveza July 29, 2020

Tesla Takes Step Towards Solar Electric Economy As US Congress Ponders Ending Big Oil's Handouts

Featured Image Credit: Global Panorama/Flickr [CC BY-SA 2.0]

Tesla’s goal to accelerate the world’s transition from a “mine-and-burn hydrocarbon economy towards a solar electric economy” may be a little closer with the End Polluter Welfare Act of 2020. Sponsored by Representative Ilan Omar (D-MN) and Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT), the bill seeks to put an end to corporate handouts benefiting the oil, gas, and coal industry.

According to the bill’s contents, American taxpayers pay up to $15 billion in direct federal subsidies to the fossil fuel industry every year, which has been profitable on its own. As of June 2020, Statista reported that ExxonMobil generated $249.07 billion in revenue, beating other oil and gas companies in the United States by over $100 billion. Chevron generated the second-highest revenue in the fossil fuel industry with $134.97 billion.

In 2019, the oil, gas, and coal industry received an 11,000% return on investments after spending more than $130 million defending corporate handouts by lobbying in Congress. The number of corporate handouts given to the fossil fuel industry might surprise some American taxpayers, especially when the United States often struggles with subsidies for renewable resources and sustainable energy. The End Polluter Welfare Act wants to end these unnecessary "giveaways."

“It’s past time we end the billions of taxpayer subsidies to fossil-fuel companies. Our focus right now needs to be on getting the American people through this difficult, unprecedented time, not providing giveaways to polluters,” said Rep. Omar. “Taxpayers provide $15 billion in direct federal subsidies to the fossil fuel industry every year. That ends with this bill. I’m proud to be leading the fight for a greener future with my colleagues.”

The End Polluter Welfare Act aims to save American taxpayers up to $150 billion over the next ten years. Some goals Omar and Sanders hope the bill could achieve include the following:

  • Preventing fossil fuel companies from taking advantage of the COVID-19 pandemic by restricting access to relief funds and limiting executive discretionary authority.
  • Abolishing dozens of tax loopholes and subsidies throughout the federal tax code that benefit oil, gas, and coal special interests.
  • Updating below-market royalty rates for oil and gas production on federal lands, recouping royalties from offshore drilling in public waters, and ensuring competitive bidding and leasing practices for coal development on federal lands.
  • Prohibiting taxpayer-funded fossil fuel research and development.
  • Ending federal support for international oil, gas, and coal projects and supporting the global community’s fight to move away from dirty fossil fuels.

Senator Sanders had some notable words to say about Big Oil and the End Polluter Welfare Act. “At a time when we are dealing with the coronavirus pandemic and an economic decline, it is absurd to provide billions of taxpayer subsidies that pad fossil-fuel companies’ already-enormous profits,” he said. “Big Oil made more than $2 trillion in profits over the last two decades. We need more safe, healthy, good paying jobs—not more corporate polluter giveaways.”

EPWA - Section by Section by Claire Dev on Scribd




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