Saturday, March 8, 2008

Bush clueless, Big Oil PROFIT$, Americans PAY: Take Action!

Question to President Bush from news reporter Peter Maer: "What's your advice to the average American who is hurting now, facing the prospect of $4-a-gallon gasoline, a lot of people facing ... "
President Bush: "Wait, what did you just say?" the president interrupted. "You're predicting $4-a-gallon gasoline?"
Peter Maer: "A number of analysts are predicting $4-a-gallon gasoline."
President Bush: "Oh, yeah? That's interesting. I hadn't heard that."

While our President appeared clueless, oil prices continued to soar and set a new record of $106 per barrel on March 7, 2008. Big Oil continues to pull in record, multi-Billion dollar profits. Here are the top five US companies and their 2007 profits in $ Billions: Exxon Mobil, 40.6; Shell, 31.3; BP, 20.8; Chevron, 18.7; and Conoco Phillips, 11.9.

Back when Exxon Mobil was called Esso, their commercial slogan was "Happy Motoring!". Not so these days as Americans fume over the high cost of gasoline at the pump. The National average price per gallon for gasoline is now: $3.19 Regular, $3.39 Plus, $3.51 Premium, and $3.74 Diesel. $4-a-gallon gasoline is anticipated by this summer. The Shell gas prices shown in the photo are from a station in San Francisco.

About three years ago, President Bush said, “With $55 oil we don't need incentives to oil and gas companies to explore. There are plenty of incentives.” Since then, oil prices have nearly doubled, gasoline prices have risen out of sight, and Big Oil has enjoyed the largest profits in history. Nonetheless, Mr. Bush continues to defend tax loopholes for the oil companies.

Americans can take action by urging the Senate to pass the Renewable Energy and Energy Conservation Tax Act of 2008, H.R. 5351, which will extend and create incentives to invest in wind, solar, biofuels, and other clean energy sources. Extending tax breaks for wind and solar energy would prevent the loss of over one hundred thousand jobs in those rapidly expanding industries, whose tax breaks are set to expire at the end of 2008. These important incentives for clean energy can be paid for by repealing the $1.3 billion annual tax loophole that subsidizes Big Oil. This is small money for Big Oil, only about 1% of the aggregate profits of the top five companies in 2007. Hardworking Americans have already paid dearly at the gasoline pump, and Big Oil has profited enormously.

Contact your Senators and urge them to pass H.R. 5351 (copy of the bill is here). A vigorous, concerted action will be required since the House bill which was passed and sent to the Senate has already been condemned by Big Oil and the Bush administration. Yes, this is the same President Bush who, believe it or not, spoke recently at a renewable energy conference in DC, and who told the participants "listen, let me start first by telling you that America has got to change its habits. We've got to get off oil." Mr. Bush could help to achieve this worthy goal and switch to clean, renewable energy sources by supporting H.R. 5351 instead of condemning it. Contact your Senators and urge them to pass H.R. 5351.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Tiny Alaskan Village lookin' to kick Big Oil's Gas

An Alaskan village eroding into the Arctic Ocean sued two dozen oil, power and coal companies, claiming that the large amounts of greenhouse gases they emit contribute to global warming that threatens the community's existence. The Inupiat Eskimo village of Kivalina sued Exxon Mobil Corp. and eight other oil companies, fourteen power companies and one coal company. Sea ice that forms later and melts sooner because of higher temperatures has left the community unprotected from fall and winter storm surges and pounding waves that lash the coastal community. Relocation costs have been estimated at more than $400 million. Damage to Kivalina from global warming has been documented in official government reports by the Army Corps of Engineers and the General Accounting Office.

A spokesman for Exxon Mobil said the company takes the issue of climate change seriously. "Exxon Mobil is taking action by reducing greenhouse gas emissions in our operations, supporting research into technology breakthroughs and participating in constructive dialogues on policy options with NGOs, industry and policy makers," he said.

A real opportunity could arise for Exxon Mobil to take the issue of climate change seriously and act to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by giving back a minuscule portion of their enormous profits. The House of Representatives voted in favor of a tax package to use funds from Big Oil's tax breaks to boost incentives for wind and solar energy and energy efficiency. Extending tax breaks for wind and solar energy would prevent the loss of jobs in those fast-growing industries, whose tax breaks are set to expire at the end of the year placing 116,000 jobs at risk. The bill was sent to the Senate. However, the Bush administration, Republican lawmakers and Big Oil condemned the bill.

“Since President Bush took office, the price of oil has gone from $30 per barrel to a record high price of $101 yesterday,” said Congressman Edward Markey, Chairman of the Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming. “This administration’s oil-centric energy policy has proven itself to be completely bankrupt for everyone except for Big Oil. President Bush should support this bill, which helps consumers and our economy, not continue to oppose this bill for the sole benefit of the most profitable companies in the world.”

How about it Exxon Mobil...ready to really show that you take climate change seriously? Give back some small change ($) from your huge profits to help consumers, the economy and the planet. Alaskans won't be holding their breath while waiting. It's been about 19 years since the Exxon Valdez spilled 11 million gallons of crude oil in Alaskan waters and on the coastline, and still no money has been paid in punishment for that offense.