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Brooklyn Billboard Calls For Sen. Schumer To End Big Oil Handouts

by Tyler Kruse

August 10, 2021

In May 2011, Schumer said “the time to repeal these giveaways is now” when talking about tax subsidies for big oil on the floor of the senate. The billboard asks him to follow through on that statement. 

© Tracie Williams / Greenpeace

Brooklyn, NY, Aug. 10, 2021 – On the heels of yesterday’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report that reaffirmed the need to end all new fossil fuel investments, Greenpeace USA unveiled a billboard in Brooklyn to send a clear message to Sen. Schumer: End Big Oil Handouts.

Photos of the billboard and set up are available here: https://media.greenpeace.org/shoot/27MDHUW1RBOQ

In May 2011, Sen. Schumer said “the time to repeal these giveaways is now” when talking about tax subsidies for big oil on the floor of the senate.[1] The billboard at 331 Flatbush, a few blocks from Sen. Schumer’s home near Prospect Park, asks him to follow through on that statement.

“Our tax dollars should not be funding the fossil fuel industry. Sen. Schumer was right, big oil giveaways should have ended 10 years ago. There is no reason for taxpayers to still be waiting for this wasteful spending to end. We know he can move quickly. He helped ban Four Loko in less than a year.[2] Fossil fuels are far more dangerous to the health and safety of New Yorkers than Four Loko ever was, Sen. Schumer needs to treat it as such,” said Greenpeace USA Senior Climate Campaigner John Noël. “In light of yesterday’s IPCC climate report, UN Secretary General António Guterres took the extraordinary step of calling for an end to fossil fuel subsidies. Sen. Schumer has the opportunity to make this commonsense climate policy a reality. He must use budget reconciliation to end fossil fuel subsidies and prioritize a clean, just energy system of the future that supports impacted communities.”

The billboard is just one instance of the growing calls for Sen. Schumer to invest in New Yorkers and not fossil fuel CEOs. This Sunday, August 15, at 1 p.m. in Foley Square, Zero Hour is hosting a People Not Polluters Rally.

Research from the Stockholm Environment Institute revealed that “over 96% of the value of the subsidies in the tax code goes directly to profits.”[3] This shows that handouts for the fossil fuel industry rarely lead to jobs. This was particularly egregious when big fossil fuel companies claimed $8.2 billion in 2020 from the CARES Act pandemic relief bill, and still laid off 16 percent of their workforce.[4]

Continued investment in fossil fuels in the decade since Sen. Schumer’s initial call to end subsidies has led to deaths and damaged the economy. In the United States, air pollution from burning fossil fuels is linked to an estimated 350,000 deaths every year, disproportionately in communities of color.[5] Between 2010 and 2019, the United States experienced 119 climate disasters that caused $802 billion in damages. That’s more than double the previous decade.[6]

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Photos: https://media.greenpeace.org/shoot/27MDHUW1RBOQ

Notes:

[1] Congressional Record Volume 157, Number 63 (Tuesday, May 10, 2011)

[2] Schumer: FDA will effectively ban Four Loko, other alcohol-caffeine drinks.

[3] The Role of Fossil Fuel Subsidies in Preventing Action on the Climate Crisis 

[4] Fossil fuel firms slashed nearly 60,000 jobs in 2020 while pocketing $8.2 billion tax bailout

[5] Fossil Fuel Pollution Kills 8.7 Million a Year, Twice Previous Estimate

[6] 2010-2019: A landmark decade of U.S. billion-dollar weather and climate disasters

Tyler Kruse

By Tyler Kruse

Tyler Kruse is a senior communications specialist with Greenpeace USA covering climate and energy.

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