Democrats call on House leadership to use spending plan to repeal fossil fuel subsidies

Democrats call on House leadership to use spending plan to repeal fossil fuel subsidies
© Greg Nash

A group of more than 50 Democrats is calling on Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiPhotos of the Week: Schumer, ASU protest and sea turtles Hospitals in underserved communities face huge cuts in reckless 'Build Back Better' plan GOP infighting takes stupid to a whole new level MORE (D-Calif.) and House Majority Leader Steny HoyerSteny Hamilton HoyerOvernight Defense & National Security — US tries to deter Russian invasion of Ukraine Senate eyes plan B amid defense bill standoff On The Money — Congress races to keep the lights on MORE (D-Md.) to include a repeal of fossil fuel subsidies in the party’s multitrillion-dollar infrastructure package.

The group, led by Reps. Carolyn MaloneyCarolyn MaloneyFormer Washington Football Team cheerleaders, employees to protest outside stadium Oversight panel eyes excessive bail, jail overcrowding in New York City Senators call for Smithsonian Latino, women's museums to be built on National Mall MORE (D-N.Y.) and Ro KhannaRohit (Ro) KhannaKhanna advocates for 'honest and reflective patriotism' in America Democrats call on Education secretary to address 'stealthing' at federal level Showdown: Pelosi dares liberals to sink infrastructure bill MORE (D-Calif.), penned a letter to the Democratic leaders Monday asking that the repeal of fossil fuel subsidies be included in Democrats’ Build Back Better Act because they do not bolster U.S. energy independence or create new jobs.

“Fossil fuel subsidies should be repealed because, instead of enhancing American energy independence or creating jobs, they simply enhance the profits of fossil fuel companies,” the lawmakers wrote.

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“We should not fall for the industry myth that these subsidies are necessary for good job creation,” they later added.

They specifically targeted subsidies that are only given to the oil and gas industries, including “the deduction for intangible drilling costs, corporate tax exemption for fossil fuel master limited partnerships (MLPs), percentage depletion, and the dual capacity taxpayer deduction for royalty payments to foreign governments on fossil fuels.”

The Democrats also argued that repealing subsidies for the oil and gas industries would help “advance racial justice,” writing that “Black and Brown communities are disproportionately affected by fossil fuel pollution.”

They wrote Black people are affected by pollution from harmful particles at a rate that is 54 percent higher than the overall population because of “the proximity of petrochemical and related facilities to their homes and neighborhoods.”

The letter also argued that fossil fuel-related jobs are “dangerous,” contending that “Fracking workers are experiencing toxic radiological exposure.”

“For these reasons, we implore you to include the repeal of fossil fuel subsidies in the Build Back Better Act,” the lawmakers wrote.

The idea of repealing fossil fuel subsidies has been a chief priority among Democrats this year.

Senate Majority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerHospitals in underserved communities face huge cuts in reckless 'Build Back Better' plan GOP infighting takes stupid to a whole new level Progressive groups urge Schumer to prevent further cuts to T plan MORE (D-N.Y.) last week said the bipartisan infrastructure bill and Democrats’ reconciliation spending package would help reduce U.S. carbon emissions by 45 percent by the end of the decade compared to levels recorded in 2005.

Part of that decrease, 3.5 percent, was attributed to “fossil fuel subsidies repeal,” according to a graphic breaking down the 45 percent decrease.

President BidenJoe BidenPfizer CEO says vaccine data for those under 5 could be available by end of year Omicron coronavirus variant found in at least 10 states Photos of the Week: Schumer, ASU protest and sea turtles MORE’s budget proposal has also called for eliminating tax provisions that benefit the fossil fuel industry, a move that is projected to generate $35 billion over the course of a decade.

Specifically, the administration is looking to dismiss benefits received by the fossil fuel industry for enhanced oil recovery, a procedure of extraction that allows companies to get fuel they otherwise would not be able to access and another for “intangible” costs such as wages, repairs, supplies and other costs that are necessary for oil and gas drilling.