Despite ranking among the most profitable corporations in the world, Big Oil benefits from $4 billion in annual tax breaks. It fights to maintain them through aggressive political donations, lobbying, and heavy ad spending, but also employs another tactic: Pretending these tax breaks don’t exist.
President Barack Obama’s budget proposal for fiscal year 2014 would eliminate $39 billion of special tax breaks for Big Oil companies over the next decade as part of comprehensive business tax reform. These companies earned billions of dollars in recent years due to high oil and gasoline prices and do not need additional support from taxpayers. These tax breaksemerged over the past 100 years to help the then-nascent industry develop, and they relieved the oil and gas industry of $466 billion in tax payments to the federal treasury between 1918 through 2009, according to DBL Investors. Now that the oil and gas industry is fully developed and mature, President Obama’s budget would end this century of largesse.
On Friday, the Environmental Protection Agency finally proposed a new set of regulations — known as Tier 3 Vehicle Standards. The rules would reduce the amount of sulfur present in gasoline before our cars burn it. It brings the rest of the country in line with the environmental standards that have regulated California’s automobile industry for years.
Cutting back on the use of sulfur in gasoline by two thirds will have indirect environmental and public health benefits. While sulfur dioxide is not itself a greenhouse gas, reducing the amount of sulfur in gasoline will increase the efficiency of catalytic converters, reducing emissions and gasoline consumption. (Video explanation of how catalytic converters pull pollutants out of engine exhaust before it hits the air.)
WASHINGTON — The Obama administration is expected to propose new rules Friday that would slash the amount of sulfur in gasoline, one of the most significant steps the administration can take this term toward cutting air pollution, said people with knowledge of the announcement.
The new rules would bring the rest of the country’s sulfur standards in line with California’s gasoline program.
The oil industry and members of Congress from oil states have criticized the standards as onerous with few health benefits in return. Environmentalists have countered that the rules would improve public health considerably.
Cross-Posted from DeSmogBlog
“Frackademia” — shorthand for bogus science, economics and other research results paid for by the oil and gas industry and often conducted by “frackademics” with direct ties to the oil and gas industry — has struck again in California.
It comes in the form of a major University of Southern California (USC) report on the potential economic impacts of a hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) boom in California’s Monterey Shale basinthat’s hot off the presses, “Powering California: The Monterey Shale and California’s Economic Future.”