Rocklin – At a town hall meeting hosted by Congressman Tom McClintock this evening, Environment California was joined by local activists to call for an end to $44 billion in subsidies to Big Oil. The group highlighted the environmental and public health threats—from last year’s massive BP Gulf oil spill to smog pollution—posed by our continued dependence on oil. They also pointed to the enormous profitability of big oil companies: the top five oil companies have reported over $67 billion dollars in profits in the first half of this year.
“Californians are paying twice for a gallon of gasoline, once at the pump and a second time on tax day,” said Mac Farrell with Environment California. “It’s time for us to get off oil, and to stop handing $44 billion in tax breaks to a polluting industry that already costs us dearly in terms of our health and environment.”
Royal Dutch Shell recently announced 2011 second quarter earnings, reporting profits of $8 billion, a 77% jump from the same period a year ago. Exxon recently reported a whopping $10.7 billion in profits for the quarter, or $21.3 billion in the first half of this year—an increase of 54% from 2010. One use these companies have found for new funds is increased lobbying, with Exxon increasing lobbying expenditures by 25 percent this past quarter, bringing its total this year to $3 million.
“Despite Big Oil’s immense profits, some in Congress have continued to protect billions of dollars in special tax breaks for the oil and gas companies while telling Californians that we cannot afford to protect our environment and public health from the impacts of their pollution.” said Farrell. “To add insult to injury, Big Oil has decided to use some of its new profits to make sure Congress keeps doing just that.”
“Unfortunately, one of Big Oil’s staunchest allies is Rep. McClintock, who has time and again supported widening Big Oil’s profit margin above clean air, clean water, and California families.”
Fortunately, President Obama recently unveiled a clean car standard outline that will require cars and light trucks to reach the equivalent of a 54.5 miles-per-gallon (mpg) standard by 2025, and finalized a similar rule for heavy-duty vehicles, including work trucks and buses, through 2018. These combined standards — an effort pioneered in California— have the potential to reduce our oil dependence by 1.8 million barrels per day by 2030.
“Instead of throwing billions of taxpayer dollars at the most profitable industry on earth, we need to get off oil,” added Farrell. “President Obama has already taken the first steps toward creating millions of manufacturing jobs building cars that run on little to no oil, taking us closer to ending our costly dependence on these companies and their dirty product for good.”
“Environment California applauds the Obama administration’s efforts to get our country off oil and to get oil companies off of Californian’s payroll,” said Farrell. “Congress and Rep. McClintock should also work to get us off oil.”