Thursday, July 8, 2010

This comic, sent our way by our friends at Defenders of Wildlife, speaks for itself:

With Record Heat Wave Slamming East Coast, Big Oil Front Group APPLAUDS Global Warming

With a brutal heat wave sweeping the East Coast, one would think it would be a bad time to launch ads extolling the benefits of global warming. Now, we may be sapped of energy, and of our tolerance for a proverbial stinky substance, but this is ridiculous.

But that's exactly what the good folks at CO2IsGreen are doing. Unlike some friends of Big Oil, they're not denying that global warming is happening -- no, they're embracing it. The group has launched a radio and television ad campaign claiming that the American Power Act will be bad for both trees and the economy because (wait for it) trees need a little global warming. Via Roll Call:

“New legislative efforts to reduce carbon dioxide emissions will inevitably fail to lower global temperatures,” spokesman Leighton Steward said in a statement this week. “Congress and federal regulators seem poised to ignore both science and common sense by repeatedly attempting to put in place a reckless cap-and-trade system that will not only suffocate our economic recovery, but reduce the growth rates of Earth’s plants and forests.”

The organization is spending $600,000 on the 10-day buy that will run through July 13. Television ads will air nationwide on the cable news giant Fox News, as well as on local network affiliates in the Washington, D.C., area. The group is also running 60-second radio spots and newspaper advertisements in Louisiana, Tennessee, Nebraska, Ohio and Indiana publications. The ads criticize an energy proposal by Sens. John Kerry (D-Mass.) and Joe Lieberman (ID-Conn.).

“Urge your Senators to vote ‘no’ to the president’s cap-and-trade bill full of corporate Wall Street giveaways,” a narrator states in the ads. “At a time of record U.S. debt, skyrocketing deficits and high unemployment, it is not fair to the American people to pass a cap-and-trade bill that increases energy taxes.

“The Kerry-Lieberman cap-and-trade bill will increase your costs of living, such as electricity, gasoline and food,” the narrator concludes. “Keep America strong. Protect jobs. Defeat the Kerry-Lieberman cap-and-trade bill.”

Increase costs of living? That's funny, because, the EPA's "definitive analysis proves that the American Power Act (APA) will decrease energy bills for families and protect consumers while offering the most effective cost containment measures of any previous climate legislation.” (via The Hill)

But this blogger's favorite part of the ad? Citing "record U.S. debt" and "skyrocketing deficits," it claims that the Kerry-Lieberman bill will "cripple the economy." That's right, cripple. As if the APA were some form of incurable, debilitating disease. What CO2IsGreen conveniently neglects are the conclusions from the Congressional Budget Office's examination, announced yesterday: the bill would cut $19 billion from the deficit over the next decade. Darren Samuelsohn reports:

"The CBO analysis of the American Power Act, championed by Sens. John Kerry (D-Mass.) and Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) found that government revenues would grow by about $751 billion from 2011 to 2020 if the bill became law. By contrast, the legislation would create direct spending of $732 billion over the same 10-year period."
I know if I had an extra $19 billion lying around, I would certainly feel crippled.

Let's just hope this CO2IsGreen campaign backfires like their last one. With outrageous claims like theirs, it shouldn't be too hard to win some proponents of clean energy and climate legislation (see CO2IsGreen's website, where they challenge people to prove carbon dioxide is a pollutant -- "Of all the myths quoted, calling carbon dioxide a pollutant is the worst - it's simply is not true! Totally false. We challenge you to prove otherwise." They go on to claim that because "CO2 is in our every breath," it can't be a pollutant. Hey, because humans poop, raw sewage shouldn't be considered a pollutant, right?)

Watch video of one of their ads below (watch at your own risk; LCV cannot be responsible for any madness that may ensue):

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Big Oil Reaps Big Money from Subsidies

It's bad enough that the Deepwater Horizon oil rig (registered in the Marshall Islands) and its owner, Transocean (corporate headquarters in Switzerland), have found tax relief by setting up shop abroad. But a recent New York Times article illustrates exactly how many of your tax dollars Big Oil is sucking up.

Oil production is among the most heavily subsidized businesses in the U.S., with tax breaks - including arcane drilling incentives dating back to 1913 - available at virtually every stage of the exploration and extraction process. According to the most recent study conducted by the Congressional Budget Office, released in 2005, Big Oil's capital investments are taxed at a rate of 9%. That's lower than almost any other industry, considering the overall rate for businesses in general is 25%.

For many small to medium sized oil companies, most of the taxes are eliminated by various credits. Indeed, for these companies, subsidies are so high that the return on investment is often higher after taxes and credits are accounted than before. Various government reports indicate that these tax breaks average about $4 billion a year.

BP, for example, boasts sizable tax benefits from leasing the Deepwater Horizon rig from Transocean. According to a letter sent in June to the Senate Finance Committe, the company used a tax break to write off 70% of rent for the rig. That comes out to more than $225,000 per day since the lease began.

Congress and the Obama administration are working on a bill to cut $20 billion in oil industry tax breaks over the next decade. Unless these reforms are enacted, one has to wonder how long Big Oil will continue to shortchange the American taxpayer?