56 Members of Congress Come to the Defense of the Oil and Gas Industry

by Lisa Ramsden

May 24, 2021

Momentum is growing to ban fossil fuel subsidies in the US — 50,000 Greenpeace supporters have called for them to be banned and so has President Biden. So why are these 56 representatives arguing in favor of fossil fuel subsidies? The unsurprising answer: money.

Greenpeace USA activists held a street theater performance demanding members of Congress endorse the End Polluter Welfare Act, which was recently reintroduced, and eliminates all fossil fuel subsidies via the American Jobs Plan.

On May 13th, 56 Members of Congress wrote a letter to Nancy Pelosi and Steny Hoyer, claiming that the oil and gas industry is being “singled out” and “targeted” in the latest infrastructure package by aiming to end some of the tax preferences that the industry receives. 

The fossil fuel industry currently receives $15 billion in subsidies every year. That means that every year, our taxpayer dollars are going directly to the oil and gas companies who are directly contributing to the climate crisis we are facing, as well as causing a plethora of negative health impacts for Black and Brown communities. It seems like we should probably be spending our taxpayer dollars on things that actually help our communities, not harm them, right?

We took a look into the 56 Members of Congress who really want to protect the fossil fuel industry and spoiler alert: most of them receive money from the fossil fuel industry

According to opensecrets.org, all but three of them have received money from the oil & gas industry. Collectively, the signers of this letter have received more than $14 million from the fossil fuel industry over their political careers. 

This paints a pretty clear picture – these Members of Congress show their loyalty to whoever has the deepest pockets, rather than their constituents. As upsetting as this information is, we know that change is coming. The majority of Americans believe in taking action on climate change and 55% of voters in 2020 feel that we should not be subsidizing the fossil fuel industry. 

Thankfully, Senator Bernie Sanders and Representative Ilhan Omar just reintroduced the End Polluter Welfare Act, the most comprehensive piece of legislation to eliminate fossil fuel subsidies ever considered in Congress. We have a narrow window of opportunity to include this legislation in American Jobs Plan. We need your help to make it happen. Please join us by sending a message to your Representative today in support of the EPWA, or by signing up for our virtual lobby week in June.

Lisa Ramsden

By Lisa Ramsden

Lisa Ramsden is currently a Senior Oceans Campaigner at Greenpeace USA. She spent the past decade working with Greenpeace's Actions team.

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