WASHINGTON (June 29, 2021) – The NRDC Action Fund, together with Sierra Club, Oxfam America, Greenpeace USA, Friends of the Earth Action, Food and Water Watch, Oil Change International, DNC Environment and Climate Crisis Council, and a wide range of health, environmental and other groups across the nation, are calling on Congress to pass significant cuts to fossil fuel subsidies embedded in the tax code.
In a letter urging House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Majority Leader Chuck Schumer to support the “elimination of fossil fuel subsidies and other giveaways in any infrastructure, economic recovery and/or reconciliation legislative package,” 513 groups write:
“It is past time to remove the burden of dirty energy support from the public and instead turn the efforts of the government to supporting clean energy and the jobs it generates. Action now will help us protect the climate, promote a more equitable, clean energy economy for America, and strengthen international leadership.”
In addition, more than 132,000 people across the country have submitted petitions calling for an end to fossil fuel subsidies.
“Using taxpayer money and government resources to support the burning of fossil fuels is helping industry harm us,” said Sujatha Bergen, senior advisor to the NRDC Action Fund, “It is well past time to end taxpayer support for these wasteful and outdated technologies that are so destructive to communities and nature.”
The groups cite Pelosi’s and Schumer’s own calls for eliminating subsidies:
“In 2011, you rose on the floors of the House of Representatives and Senate in support of eliminating a raft of fossil fuel subsidies enshrined in federal law. These important speeches highlighted the injustice and destructiveness of these giveaways to an industry responsible for the destruction of communities, nature, and climate. As you noted, fossil fuels are outdated energy sources that produce enormous levels of pollution that harm our communities, natural areas, and climate. These impacts fall hardest on historically marginalized communities, including Black and Indigenous communities in particular.”
Specifically, Speaker Pelosi, on the House floor, said, “It’s long past time to turn off the spigot of public funds flowing to Big Oil… So I rise to ask my colleagues today: should the American taxpayers continue to subsidize Big Oil’s profits?”
Similarly, Senator Schumer said to his colleagues, “You don’t have to worry about [the fossil fuel industry’s] desire to explore. They are looking every place they can. They don’t have to have a subsidy to do it… So the time to repeal these giveaways is now.” Senator Schumer is currently co-sponsoring a bill with Senator Ron Wyden to cut subsidies.
Fossil fuel subsidies are not only a gross taxpayer abuse, but also help incentivize the development and operation of oil and gas wells that heavily impact the health of communities around the country. The Biden Administration’s budget aims to cut $120 billion in the biggest subsidies over the next 10 years.