Omar, Sanders introduce End Polluter Welfare Act to close tax loopholes and eliminate federal subsidies for fossil fuel industry

"Today more than ever we need to protect people and the planet, not polluters and their profits."

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Together, Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) introduced a bill that would end corporate handouts to the fossil fuel industry. The End Polluter Welfare Act would close tax loopholes and eliminate other federal subsidies for the oil, gas and coal industries, a press release stated.

Also sponsored by Sen. Merkley (D-Ore.), Sen. Markey (D- Mass.) and Rep. Barragan (D-Calif.), the bill would also create a greener future with more “safe, healthy and good paying jobs,” Sanders said.

“At a time when we are dealing with the coronavirus pandemic and an economic decline, it is absurd to provide billions of taxpayer subsidies that pad fossil-fuel companies’ already-enormous profits,” said Senator Sanders. “Big Oil made more than $2 trillion in profits over the last two decades. We need more safe, healthy, good paying jobs—not more corporate polluter giveaways.”

According to a press release, American taxpayers pay close to $15 billion in direct federal subsidies to the fossil fuel industry, which is adding to the devastating climate crisis the world faces.

“It’s past time we end the billions of taxpayer subsidies to fossil-fuel companies,” Omar said.“Our focus right now needs to be on getting the American people through this difficult, unprecedented time, not providing giveaways to polluters. Taxpayers provide $15 billion in direct federal subsidies to the fossil fuel industry every year. That ends with this bill. I’m proud to be leading the fight for a greener future with my colleagues.”

The End Polluter Welfare Act would tighten dozens of tax loopholes, subsidies, and other special interest giveaways in the federal tax code, end energy resource giveaways on public land and waters, and prohibit taxpayer-funded fossil fuel research and development. The press release stated this could save taxpayers up to $150 billion over the next ten years. The bill would no longer allow the current administration to use coronavirus relief funding to help struggling business instead go to fossil fuel corporation.

“It is ridiculous that the federal government continues to hand out massive giveaways to antiquated fossil fuel industries that are not only financially risky, but are also destroying our planet,” said Senator Merkley. “And it’s even worse when working families and small businesses are barely hanging on. Enough. It’s time to put the health of the American people and our economy above the wish lists of powerful special interests, close these loopholes, and put an end to taxpayer subsidies for fossil fuels.”

The bill would also end federal support for international fossil fuel projects and move toward cleaner energy and renewable sources.

The End Polluter Welfare Act was also endorsed by Alaska Wilderness League Action Alaska’s Big Village Network, Build A Movement 2020, Center for Biological DiversityClimate Hawks Vote, Data for Progress, Democratic National Committee Environment and Climate Crisis Council, Earth Action, Inc., Earthworks, ecoAmerica, Food & Water Action, Friends of the Earth, Global Witness, Greenpeace USA, International Marine Mammal Project of Earth Island Institute, National Children’s Campaign, Ocean Conservation Research, Oil Change U.S., Oxfam America, Progressive Democrats of America, Sierra Club, Stand.earth, Sunrise Movement, SustainUS, Texas Campaign for the Environment, and Turtle Island Restoration Network.

“Big Oil is already looking to exploit the coronavirus for even deeper giveaways from taxpayers,” Lukas Ross, program manager at Friends of the Earth, said. “Today more than ever we need to protect people and the planet, not polluters and their profits. We thank Representative Omar and Senator Sanders for leading this important effort.”

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