Tag Archives: oil industry

Senate Republicans Give $13 Billion Christmas Present to Oil Industry

If you need one more reason to vote Republicans out of Congress, just look at the huge $13 billion dollar Christmas present they gave the oil industry. The Senate yesterday passed landmark energy legislation to increase fuel efficiency of cars and trucks by 40% but on a 59 to 40 vote to end debate, were forced to strip from the bill key tax reform provisions to repeal special tax breaks for the oil industry. They also dropped a renewable energy mandate and renewable energy tax credits

One Democrat, Senator Mary Landieu supported the oil industry by voting no to end debate and one Republican, John McCain, was not present to vote. Considering the significance of this bill one has to wonder what he thought was more important than being there for the vote.

The 2008 election continues to shape up as a major turning point for America. It is an opportunity for Democrats to contrast their forward moving agenda to deal with issues like energy independence and global warming with the Republican sell out to corporate America at the expense of the common good for America’s citizens and their pocketbooks.

Face it, the Republicans continue to live in the past and remain beholden to special interests like the oil industry. And Democrats need to show some spine and be leaders in moving America forward. As the New York Times writes today,

some environmentalists said they were unhappy that the bill would not provide large incentives for expansion of renewable energy sources like wind, solar and biothermal.
Brent Blackwelder, president of Friends of the Earth Action, accused Senate Democrats of “capitulating” to Senate Republicans and the White House.
“When the Republican leadership and the polluter lobby have blocked important legislation, Senate Democrats have been all too willing to move in their direction,” Mr. Blackwelder said in a statement. “The result is that the two most positive provisions of the energy bill — a clean energy mandate and a tax package reining in handouts for fossil fuels and promoting clean energy — are being removed, while detrimental provisions, such as a radical five-fold increase in unsustainable biofuel use, remain.”

Carl Hulse in On the Hill quotes what part of the strategy of the Republicans will be during the coming year. It will be to blame the Democrats for the problems Democrats inherited from the Republicans, all the while doing everything they can to be sure that Democrats get as little done as they can to solve these problems.

Here’s what Hulse quotes the Republican National Committee saying in its comments on their recent victories in the Special Elections to fill two Congressional vacancies.

“The underlying economic anxiety that Americans feel toward the tax-and-spend policies of the new, wildly unpopular do-nothing Democratic Congress have led to the emergence of issues such as combating illegal immigration and providing tax relief to working families and will ultimately play to Republicans’ advantage next year,”

Give me a break. “Wildly unpopular do nothing Congress“? The Republicans are the ones obstructing getting things done. And President Bush’s vetoes since the Democrats gained the majority are part of this strategy. The Republican strategy is to try to prevent the Democrats from passing significant legislation so that the Republicans can say it is the Democrats fault.

Look at what the Republicans do, not what they say. They are playing with right wing talk radio hype hoping Americans are easily deceived.

Providing tax relief to working families” ? If you believe the Republicans are going to do this you sure didn’t understand what was happening when they controlled Congress. Tell me how the Republicans, by preventing the repeal of the oil industries special tax breaks, and as a result giving $13 billion in tax breaks to the oil industry, is going to help working families.

The Republicans fought fuel efficiency legislation for cars and trucks all the way. The Democratic sponsored and passed bill according to the Environment News Service is expected to save 1.1 million barrels of oil a day and save consumers some $22 billion in 2020. Proponents say it will also make a significant dent in U.S. emissions of greenhouse gases, equivalent to taking some 60 million cars off the road. ”

Thank you Democrats!
The Environmental News Service  noted that the Democratic passed legislation also

“…tightens energy efficiency standards for government buildings as well as for consumer appliances and products.
“People underestimate efficiency, but today household appliances, lighting and electronics use up to two-thirds of energy in households,” said Senator Maria Cantwell, a Washington Democrat. “By requiring these new standards for manufacture of these products, we will save over 40,000 megawatts of energy. That is the same amount of electricity used in 19 states today.”

Thank you Democrats!

Oil Companies Taking America for a Ride!

We in Washington State like to think we are pretty smart. So do most Americans. Then why is it that most Americans can’t see that the oil companies consider us suckers?

Maybe it’s because most people can’t see the simple relationship between cause and effect. Record gas prices. Record oil company profits. In a free market economy, oil companies are free to charge whatever they want. And that is what they are doing.

What the oil companies are doing is reminiscent of what ENRON did in raising the price of electricity, causing millions of homeowners and businesses to pay more for the same amount of electricity. Was there an energy crisis? Yes and no. The market was manipulated and artificial shortages were created. An illusion of energy shortages was created.

The average consumer had little recourse but to pay higher electricity bills because they were locked into an electrical grid to meet their basic needs. Electricity is basically a monopoly because you can’t go out in most cases and shop for an electric company like you now can for a cell phone company. And any semblance of consumer protection is more a mirage than reality.

As Consortiumnews.org notes

Bush personally joined the fight against imposing caps on the soaring price of electricity in California at a time when Enron was artificially driving up the price of electricity by manipulating supply. Bush”s resistance to price caps bought Enron extra time to gouge hundreds of millions of dollars from California”s consumers.”

The same thing is happening now regarding gas prices with the Republicans in Congress and Bush. They are supporting the oil industry that has a virtual monopoly on energy. Our economy is run on oil and we are addicted to oil. A transportation system dependent on individual cars and trucks, rather than adequate public transit, dictates a continued use of a commodity controlled by a few companies.

Under Bush and the Republicans, there is no regulation of the oil industry because it is contrary to their free market economy beliefs and against their patrons who put them into office. They say there is no price gouging for gasoline because the oil companies are free to charge as much as they want, as long as consumers are willing to pay. So far consumers have continued to pay. Unfortunately there are no alternatives for most people..

Oil companies have found that Americans are pretty gullible. Bush’s never ending war on “terrorism” is right out of George Orwell’s 1984. Iraq and terrorism get blamed for contributing to higher gas prices.

But many Americans now see that our invasion of Iraq was a mistake. Bush has no plan to end or win the war. He hopes that the continuing war will make those who started it seem legitimate, as terrorist actions continue. Unfortunately the Iraq War has fostered increased recruitment and training for new terrorists. It has not made us any more energy independent or secure.

Would we be in Iraq if not for oil? Would we be in the Middle East if not for oil? Is the tradeoff worth it, oil for increasing terrorist motivation and training.

The bottom line is really about oil and profits, while Bush and Rove insist otherwise. America’s problem is that oilmen in the White House and Congress, who are running our country, have no incentive to find real alternatives to oil, especially when they can rack up record profits. The Iraq War has become an unfortunate consequence of oilmen seeking to keep reaping outrageous profit from an economy dependent on oil.

Bush and his oilmen have no incentive to increase the mileage requirements for cars and trucks. They have no incentives to start a serious switch to energy independence and end our addiction to oil. They have made us the hostages in the process. Why should they care as long as we pay the higher prices?

Unfortunately these same oil companies , in racking up record profits, are taking the nickels and dimes and quarters of America’s low income and minimum wage workers to fuel their profits and growth. They are producing hardship for middle income families in paying bills and providing for heath care and education for their children. And the Iraq War is draining our society of money for basic human needs. The price we are actually paying for a free market economy dependent on oil is horrendous.

And what are the oil companies now doing? They are buying up alternative energy companies and building their own subsidiaries so they can continue their monopoly of America’s energy resources – to continue to reap as many profits as they can from selling energy to America’s citizens.

What American consumer’s need to think about is why they would think that the oil companies who seem to have no problem taking obscene profits now, and not worrying about hurting the lives of average citizens, are going to be any different with any other energy sources they might own in the future.

Americans really need to wake up and rally around ending our addiction to oil and working not just for energy independence from foreign sources , but also energy independence from price gouging energy conglomerates. Americans need to demand much more fuel efficient cars, more decentralized small sources of energy from wind and solar, and increased energy efficiency. These actions will increase America’s security and independence.

This isn’t going to happen as long as oilmen run the White House and Republicans control the House and the Senate. Our only hope is to boot the oil loving Republicans out of office and put Democrats in control. And then we will have to make sure they do the right thing for America.

President Bush Leads the Charge for Modern Day Robber Barons!

George Bush is no Teddy Roosevelt. Instead he continues to lead the charge for the big oil companies as they pick the pockets of America’s middle class.

The Washington Post yesterday reported that “Bush Rejects Calls for Tax on Oil Profits

President Bush said Friday that taxing enormous oil industry profits is not the way to calm Americans’ anxieties about pain at the gas pump, and that his “inclination and instincts” are that major oil companies are not intentionally overcharging drivers.”

OK I know I shouldn’t say it but this sounds a little bit familiar. In 2001 the Seattle PI wrote a story entitled “Bush-backing Enron makes big money off crisis

The new president’s rejection of price controls to hold down soaring electricity costs in the Golden State reflects the views of Enron, the largest wholesaler of electricity and largest owner of natural gas pipelines in North America.
The company and its employees have given more than anyone else to Bush’s two campaigns for governor, his unsuccessful House campaign in 1978 and last year’s race for the White House, according to the watchdog Center for Public Integrity.
Enron and its employees gave $113,800 to Bush’s presidential campaign, his 10th most generous contributor; $250,000 to the Republican National Convention host committee; and $300,000 to the Presidential Inauguration Committee.

So what have the oil companies given to Bush. Actually quite a bit. Opensecrets.org notes that in 2004 Bush got $2,627,825 from oil and gas companies. Kerry got only $305,010. In 2000 Bush got $1,930,710. Gore got $142.012.

So want to guess which oil company gave the most contributions to Congressional candidates in 2004? It was the company with the most profits last year, Exxon Mobil, with $935,016. 89% of that went to Republican candidates. The next two oil companies with record profits also gave hugely. . Chevron gave 83% of its $444,509 to Republicans. Conoco Phillips gave 84 % of its $366,628 to Republicans.

So far this year the oil and gas industry has contributed some $3,863,622 to Republicans and some $786,913 to Democrats. Exxon Mobil , with some of the money you gave them at three gas pump in inflated prices, has contributed $303,212 to people running for Congress.

So why is it no surprise that on Wed. the Washington Post said that “GOP Blocks Measures Boosting Taxes on Oil Companies’ Profits”

“While Republican leaders sharply criticize soaring gasoline prices and energy industry profits, GOP negotiators have decided to knock out provisions in a major tax bill that would force the oil companies to pay billions of dollars in taxes on their profits. House and Senate tax writers have been struggling to reach an accord on separate tax bills approved last year to extend some expiring tax cuts enacted during President Bush’s first term. But House Republicans have raised strong objections to Senate-passed provisions that would raise nearly $5 billion in taxes over five years — primarily by changing arcane accounting rules that have allowed oil companies to substantially lower their tax bills, according to House and Senate tax aides familiar with the talks.”

I call Bush and the oil and gas industry Modern Day Robber Barons! Just like Enron.