The President's budget proposal would close the oil and gas industry's taxpayer-funded cash drawer
Earlier this week the President sent Congress his proposed budget for the upcoming fiscal year (Fiscal Year 2012, which begins on October 1, 2011). The proposal is designed to reduce our national deficit. Among the President's proposals:
- Eliminate special tax breaks for oil and gas companies that add up to billions of dollars every year. As the President stated, these tax breaks are given to companies that are highly profitable and don't need the help. According to the administration, they impede investment in clean energy sources and undermine efforts to address the threat of climate change. Instead, the money should be invested in clean energy to help create jobs and long-term environmental and energy security.
- Eliminate discretionary research and development (R&D) programs that promote fossil fuel production. The private sector already funds plenty of its own R&D and has the money to fund more if it finds it necessary. These activities are more appropriate for the private sector to fund. This will save tens of millions of dollars per year.
- Increasing fees to conduct inspections of oil and gas drilling of federal resources. This will improve the return to American taxpayers --who own these resources. A report by the Western Organization of Resource Councils found that the Bureau of Land Management reduced inspection and enforcement dramatically during the Bush years. The agency issued fewer enforcement actions in 2007 than it did in 1999, inspectors spent a third less time on environmental inspections, and inspectors completed only 15 percent of the highest-priority inspections.
NRDC supports these proposals. It's time to close the cash drawer that's been open to the oil and gas industry, and ensure that our resources are focused on advancing clean energy and minimizing the harms from oil and gas development on our public wildlands.