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Mar 012011

By Barbara Kessler
Green Right Now

Remember President Barack Obama’s State of the Union pledge a mere month ago to end needless and expensive taxpayer subsidies for Big Oil?

Sounded good, right? Take back some of that largesse to these mature, hugely profitable companies to fund clean, new energy sources like wind and solar so we can build and maintain a new power base right here in job-needy America.

House Democrats followed through on that idea, voting today on a bill to end subsidies that are enriching the richest corporations in the world.

But Republicans defeated the measure.

Today Oregon’s Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Portland), who sees these subsidies as protracting the pain of America’s oil addiction, summed up the sentiments of many who’d like to break the death grip that fossil fuels seem to have on the nation.

His official statement:

“Today was a very telling day in Congress when it comes to America’s backwards energy policies. On the same day that Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke told Congress that our dependence on oil threatens our economy, every single House Republican voted to continue billions of dollars in subsidies for the largest oil companies. The idea that taxpayers should be subsidizing an addiction that threatens our economy is madness.”

“The rising gas prices that Americans are seeing at the pump today are a direct result of our addiction to foreign oil – oil purchased from countries like Libya, where a dictator is attacking his own citizens with airplanes. Any neutral observer who knows the oil industry will tell you that America does not have the reserves to offset our enormous imports from these Middle Eastern countries. There is not enough oil in the Gulf of Mexico, the Arctic Wildlife Refuge or anywhere else in this country to make America energy independent. In fact, between 2000 and 2008, drilling increased by two-thirds while gas prices tripled. Arguments for more drilling and more subsidies are based on politics, not sound economics.

“The only solution to our dangerous addiction to foreign oil is clean energy and energy efficiency. Clean, American power sources like wind and solar create many more new jobs than oil drilling and can dramatically slash our need for imported Middle Eastern oil. We can also reduce the impact of high gas prices by making investments in alternative transportation options so Americans don’t need to drive everywhere. From subways and streetcar systems to buses and bike paths, cities and small towns across America are already showing us the way forward. It’s time to truly end our foreign oil addiction by investing in rebuilding and renewing our country.”

Pretty much sums it up.

Read more about the specific subsidies here.

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