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332 Landslide

332 Landslide

February 27, 2008

Renewable Energy Programs - HR 5351

I've been watching the discussion in the US House of Representatives on C-SPAN on renewable energy programs for several hours this morning.
The bill in question will end the subsidies to oil companies, paid for by our taxes. The companies in question made all time profits records over the past 10 years, with the past 2 years topping them all. You know, the same time period brought a $.75 per gallon increase in gas costs to you and I. Exxon reported $40.6 Billion in profits, the largest annual profit by a US company. After these several hours not one opponent has addressed the need for these companies to remain subsidised. Someone mentioned something about the oil companies providing jobs, but I believe it was in a question to the opponent about how they are making the claim when a growing number of their jobs are being filled outside the US.

What it comes down to is that oil is at an all time high, the rate of increase in cost to end users is itself increasing. During the oil friendly republican years in Washington, these companies were offered tax incentives and subsidies, judging by their current profits the program worked, the companies are solidly on their feet and it is not only time the subsidies end, but I think it is time for the companies to say thank you. I think more money should be invested by them for education in the united states to fill their employee needs. Taking it a step further, if their threat is the loss of jobs in the us, then imposing strict high taxes for out sourcing should be enacted. (this is my stance for all American companies, not just oil)
When a company impacts the entire country the way big oil does, and in fact accepts special status from the federal government in the form of subsidies based on the fact that the company has such an impact, they also bear the responsibility to act in the best interest of the country first and foremost. It must also be understood and accepted that in these situations the good of the country is in fact the good of the stockholders, resulting in no conflict.

The price of oil will do nothing but continue to rise, the longer we wait to invest in other energy sources the more it will ultimately cost us. These oil companies are in the unique position to catapult the US ahead of the world in advances in green renewable energy technology, to place America once again ahead of the pack and make us a leader in what is indisputably the direction the entire world is taking. They simply need to recall their lobbyists on this matter, stop the flow of money, rhetoric and threats and simply let the subsidies lapse. They will still be largest profit makers in the country, making more money than most other countries in the world. And in addition to that they can regain the trust of the American people.

One of the main arguments I have heard from opponents aside from the damage it would do to the companies (never named, inferred small American business, but what small oil company is being affected by this? Are there even any mom and pop oil companies?) is that there is a section that will allow Venezuela to exempt. Actually they (opponents) complain that "Hugo Chavez" will be exempt, transparent attempt to inflame the issue. The details of the section are clear, and our negotiations and agreements with that country fall under exemption, and the reasons make sense. I believe we went to great lengths to develop a relationship with that country in an attempt to shift our oil dollars outside the middle east. And don't be confused, much of the major oil company's money has been invested in that country also, they are the real steam behind this argument.

The other main arugument was that this would cause an increase in the cost of gas to consumers at a time when they can hardly afford it due to global economics and local slumps. I as well as the proponents in the house again reminded everyone we are talking about companies that are posting tens of BILLIONS of dollars in profits (the number resulting after excluding the cost of running the business such as salaries). They took no time in reminding them they are not suggesting taking privatly earned profits from the company, but recalling publicly provided subsidies. They fairly shouted at them that consumers paying record prices for gas during an economic "slump" while also paying out subsidies to the same company was perverse.

President Bush in 2005 said "I will tell you with $55 a barrel oil we don't need incentives to oil and gas companies to explore" We are almost 100% above that price today.

HR 5351 extends tax incentives for alternative energy and energy efficiency investments.

Please contact your Representative
and let them know your feelings on this.

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