February 14, 2006

US Taxpayers Fund Oil Companies' Oscene Cash-Grab

Scandalous news from the New York Times:
The federal government is on the verge of one of the biggest giveaways of oil and gas in American history, worth an estimated $7 billion over five years.

New projections, buried in the Interior Department's just-published budget plan, anticipate that the government will let companies pump about $65 billion worth of oil and natural gas from federal territory over the next five years without paying any royalties to the government.

Based on the administration figures, the government will give up more than $7 billion in payments between now and 2011. The companies are expected to get the largess, known as royalty relief, even though the administration assumes that oil prices will remain above $50 a barrel throughout that period.
Bush administration officials are pointing to laws dating from the Clinton years to justify this atrocity. And what's the oil industry's defence?
"We need to remember the primary reason that incentives are given," said Johnnie M. Burton, director of the federal Minerals Management Service. "It's not to make more money, necessarily. It's to make more oil, more gas, because production of fuel for our nation is essential to our economy and essential to our people."
And that's not all:
Moreover, the projected largess could be just the start. Last week, Kerr-McGee Exploration and Development, a major industry player, began a brash but utterly serious court challenge that could, if it succeeds, cost the government another $28 billion in royalties over the next five years.
That's your money, your children's money and your grandchildren's money that these guys are giving away to their Big Oil friends.

What are YOU going to do about it? Your government sure won't do anything:
Administration officials say the issue is out of their hands, adding that they opposed provisions in last year's energy bill... But the Bush administration did not put up a big fight. It strongly supported the overall energy bill, and merely noted its opposition to additional royalty relief in its official statement on the bill.

By contrast, the White House bluntly promised to veto the Senate's $60 billion tax cut bill because it contained a one-year tax of $5 billion on profits of major oil companies.
If you find your government's attitude to all this a little perplexing, or worse, here is the key that will unlock the doors to understanding: they just don't give a fuck about you.

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