Today, Rep. Ed Markey (D-Mass), along with 70 other House Democrats, called on Speaker John Boehner and President Obama , to eliminate the tens of billions of dollars in tax breaks and loopholes given to the oil and gas industry as part of any fiscal cliff compromise. In a letter sent by the 71 lawmakers, they outline how preferential treatment for oil and gas companies is unnecessary given that oil and gas is one of the most profitable industries in the world, with the top five companies making $137 billion dollars in profits just last year.
"Ending the special tax treatments and loopholes now given to highly profitable oil and gas companies would generate more than $50 billion over the next 10 years for the treasury and should be included in any bipartisan compromise," Rep. Markey and his colleagues write.
In addition to the roughly $4 billion in taxpayer subsidies given to the oil industry each year, oil and gas companies also benefit from roughly $1 billion per year in royalty-free drilling on public lands. In fact, nearly 25 percent of all oil produced on offshore public lands is now produced royalty-free. In addition, ending other subsidies given to the oil and gas industry and ensuring that these companies are diligently developing the leases they already hold on public land could generate hundreds of millions of dollars a year more in revenue.
"The oil and gas below our public lands belongs to the American people. At a time when we are looking to balance our budget, we must ensure that taxpayers see the benefits of this tremendously valuable public resource," Rep. Markey and his colleagues write. "Repealing these unnecessary tax subsidies for this hugely profitable industry should be a key component of any revenue generating measures included in an agreement on the fiscal cliff."