Congress Hands Victory to Big Oil While Protecting Critical Environmental Programs and Promoting Renewables

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Heather Leibowitz

Environment New York

“Caving to the oil industry on the crude oil export ban flies in the face of the scientific imperative to start leaving fossil fuels in the ground. We need to do much more to decarbonize the nation and the world and to protect the planet for future generations.”

— Heather Leibowitz, Environment New York

New York, NY— Congressional leaders and the White House today agreed on a budget-busting omnibus spending bill that includes a major giveaway to big oil. Despite opposition from Environment America and many others in the conservation and public health communities, oil industry allies prevailed in their effort to lift the 40 year ban on oil exports which will inevitably lead to more drilling, more spilling and more global warming pollution.  The proposed omnibus spending bill (and parallel tax extenders package) adds $830 billion (over ten years) of tax breaks many of which are not payed for nor do they benefit the public good. 

On the positive side of the ledger, the negotiators rejected numerous attempts to stop the Obama Administration from enforcing critical environmental programs – including the Administration’s flagship clean power plan to limit carbon pollution from power plants and the clean water rule designed to ensure all waterways receive protections under the clean water act. 

The agreement also will help unleash clean energy resources like wind and solar by extending the federal tax credits for solar and wind power for 4-6 years.  The bill also reauthorizes the Land and Water Conservation Fund and increases conservation funding by $150,000,000 in FY’16. 

Environment New York’s Director Heather Leibowitz said of the agreement:

 “The good news is that the renewable energy provisions in this bill will help accelerate the growth of our wind and solar resources, moving the nation more quickly toward a truly clean energy economy,” said Leibowitz.  But, much work is left to be done to get to the 100% renewable energy needed to secure our children’s future.”