Confronting Big Oil

President Obama is taking on the oil and gas industry.

He intends to save taxpayers $30 billion over the next 10 years by ending tax loopholes Big Oil has been enjoying on our dime.

Former President Jimmy Carter told a Senate committee this month that industry lobbyists and senators from oil-rich states had teamed up to scuttle his energy initiatives in the 1970s.

Those same folks are trying to block Obama’s moves.

The illustrious Republican Sen. David Vitter (La.) called Obama’s plan “a major tax increase.” Sure, for his oil industry friends.

Democratic Sens. Mark Begich (Alaska) and Mary Landrieu (La.) say they have launched bipartisan talks with the administration to keep the tax breaks, claiming they help “small” producers and save jobs.

Meanwhile, the Fort Worth (Texas) Business Reporter features a column by economist Robert Samuelson saying the Obama administration is “biased against” the oil and gas industry and is “fixated on ‘green jobs’ and wind and solar energy” — which Samuelson pooh-poohs. He complains that Interior Secretary Ken Salazar has taken steps that “dampen development” such as canceling oil leases in Utah because they were too close to national parks.

It all follows the retrograde pro-Big-Oil script promoted by “policy” groups heavily funded by ExxonMobil and its ilk.

Earlier this month, the right-wing Heritage Foundation held a panel titled 'Busting the Myth of Green Jobs.' The panelists were all financially connected to ExxonMobil, Media Matters reports.

Jerome Ringo, president of the labor-environmental Apollo Alliance and a Louisiana native, says right-wingers have been “releasing a series of bogus reports and attacks on green job creation in the United States.”

This “misguided and counterproductive rhetoric,” Ringo charges, “would rather let America’s economy fail than embrace new ideas to rebuild the country’s middle class and move us toward energy independence.” The U.S., he says, needs to “transition from our faltering fossil fuels-based economy to a vibrant economy that runs on clean energy.”

The Obama administration says the tax breaks have not spurred oil companies to increase domestic energy production or create jobs. Instead, taxpayers are footing the bill for mammoth industry profits.

Ending these tax breaks will provide billions of dollars that can fund job-creating green energy initiatives and health care for all.

Tell your senators and representative to stand up to Big Oil.