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Oil spill tax on oil companies reinstated as part of budget deal

Oil spill tax on oil companies reinstated as part of budget deal
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Oil companies will once again have to pay a tax to fund oil spill cleanups thanks to Congress's new budget signed into law early Friday morning.

Senators voted to reinstate the 9 cents per barrel tax on both domestic crude oil and imported crude and petroleum products as part of an "extenders" tax bill package. The package was included in the Senate's budget deal passed Thursday and would put the oil tax back into effect starting March 1, according to Politico.

The tax on companies selling oil within the U.S. generated an average annual revenue of $500 million, according to the Congressional Research Service. But Republican leaders decided against renewing the tax in December, causing it to lapse at the end of the year.

The lapse was met with heavy criticism from the public and environmentalists. 

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"The Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund ensures that when there is a spill, American taxpayers are not left holding the bag to clean up Big Oil's mess," Sen. Ed MarkeyEdward (Ed) John MarkeyElection Countdown: O'Rourke goes on the attack | Takeaways from fiery second Texas Senate debate | Heitkamp apologizes for ad misidentifying abuse victims | Trump Jr. to rally for Manchin challenger | Rick Scott leaves trail to deal with hurricane damage Senate Dems ask Trump to disclose financial ties to Saudi Arabia Dems damp down hopes for climate change agenda MORE (D-Mass.) said in a statement at the time. "We should have a robust trust fund — not just trust that oil companies will do nothing wrong — in case a disaster like the BP spill happens again."

The oil tax is the primary contributor to the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund, which is used to pay for oil spill cleanups similar to the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

The fund contained $5.8 billion at the time of the lapse, a senior financial analyst with the Coast Guard's National Pollution Fund Center, which oversees the trust fund, told The Times-Picayune at the time.