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Protecting the Environment Versus Protecting Big Oil

14 Mar 2013  |   Hannah Blatt

The sequester kicked into effect earlier this month,  implementing automatic budget cuts that slash billions from our nation’s environmental priorities. Cuts to clean water and air programs and conservations initiatives alone are estimated to cost all 50 states and the District of Columbia a combined $200,000,000. 

As a result of the sequester cuts, every state in the nation will face dramatic cuts to programs that protect the air we breathe and the water we drink. For example, California will lose $12.4 million; New York will lose $12.8 million; Colorado will lose $2 million; New Hampshire will lose $1.5 million; Florida will lose $5.2 million; Virginia will lose $2.9 million; Missouri will lose $3.7 million  and Illinois will lose $6.4 million. Click here to view a state by state list

Under the sequester, the EPA’s ability to do its job protecting the air we breathe and the water we drink will be severely compromised, but Congress didn’t ask some of the wealthiest companies in the world—the oil companies—to pay their fair share.

Under current policy, we send the largest oil companies $4 billion a year in taxpayer-funded subsidies – that’s $40 billion over the next ten years alone. These are some of the most profitable companies in the world, with the five biggest oil companies having made over $1 trillion in profits between 2001 and 2011. 

By ending these taxpayer subsidies and asking Big Oil to pay their fair share, Congress could save billions of dollars every year.  But the oil industry’s allies in Congress continue to fight hand over fist to keep Big Oil’s handouts on the books.  Instead of finding a balanced solution to the sequester that ends these subsidies, the oil industry’s allies in Congress are putting our air and water at risk by rewarding an industry that’s busy polluting our air and waterways.     

But that’s not all – the sequester also slashes investments in clean energy, starves our National Parks of funding, undermines efforts to clean up contaminated waterways, and ends programs that support more than 130 National Wildlife Refuges. For more information on the environmental impacts of the sequester, check out this article: 6 Ways the Sequester Will Mess Up the Environment

Environmental programs make up just 1.25% of the federal budget, and under the sequester, they have been cut to the bone.  Instead of risking the health of our environment by gutting our environmental and conservation programs, Congress should find a balanced solution to the sequester that asks Big Oil to pay their fair share.

Click here to tell your member of Congress to End the Big Oil Handouts



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