Statement of Daniel J. Weiss
Senate conservatives’ vote to block the House energy bill rewarded big oil with a $13 billion Christmas gift while American families got lumps of coal instead of clean energy. Although a bipartisan majority of Senators voted 53-42 to consider the Energy Independence and Security Act, Senate scrooges blocked the bill with a threatened filibuster.
Senate conservatives blocked the bill because they oppose closing recently created tax loopholes for big oil companies, and shifting 15 percent of electricity to renewable sources like wind and solar power.
H.R. 6 would eliminate $13.5 billion in recently created tax loopholes for big oil. Some senators opposed this measure even though the big five oil companies made half a trillion dollars in profits since 2001. The closed loopholes would cost big oil less than 3 percent of their total profits over this time. In fact BP, Chevron, Shell, and ExxonMobil each had more than $13.5 billion in profits during the first three quarters of 2007. The closed loopholes are a drop in the barrel compared to big oil profits.
The renewable electricity standard in H.R. 6 would require utilities to provide 15 percent of their electricity from wind, solar, geothermal, or other renewable energy by 2020. It would reduce families’ utility bills by at least $13 billion, and global warming pollution by an amount equal to 3.7 million cars, according to the Union of Concerned Scientists. Senate energy bill opponents want to help Southern Company and other enormous companies that oppose renewable electricity.
Senator Harry Reid (D-NV) and other Senate supporters deserve applause for their efforts to pass the Energy Independence and Security Act, which would also significantly increase fuel economy, and boost renewable fuels and energy efficiency. Hopefully, Senate conservatives will cease playing energy scrooges by voting for the energy bill next week.