Bush calls for ending subsidies for oil, gas

Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush says he would look to end all energy subsides, including for fossil fuel, if he’s elected president. 

Bush told an environmental activist at an Americans for Prosperity event in Manchester, N.H., on Wednesday that he would look to “phase out, through tax reform, the tax credits for wind, for solar, for the oil and gas sector, for all that stuff” if he wins the presidency. 

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“The best way to get to the next form of — the next economy, fuel system — is to let markets decide this,” he said, according to a video from the environmental group 350 Action.

Ending subsidies for large oil and gas companies is a recurring proposal from environmentalists and liberals, but it’s a step the industry and many Republicans oppose. The activist told Bush that he was “really excited” to hear the former Florida governor calling for ending those subsidies. 

But Bush’s proposal to cut off subsidies for renewable energy is likely to turn off environmentalists, who consider them key to greening the American energy sector. On Capitol Hill, lawmakers continue to grapple over the fate of tax credits for wind and solar energy production. 

In the video, Bush equated the subsidies to picking winners and losers by giving preferential treatment to certain sources of energy over others. He said he would look to do away with all the subsidies through an overhaul of the tax code.

“I don’t think we should pick winners and losers,” he said. 

“I think tax reform ought to be to lower the rate as far as you can and eliminate as many of these subsidies, all of the things that impede the ability, in a more dynamic way, to get to where we need to get, which is low-cost energy that is respectful of the environment.”