Snuck in amid the sounds of Santa and Christmas bells, the Bush Administration has granted a $10 billion gift for the oil company stockings. When reporters are more concerned about last minute Christmas shopping than governmental politics, the Interior Department released a proposed regulatory change that would enable oil companies to pump more oil without paying any royalty to its real owners: the American people.
“The Bush Administration couldn’t leave town for the holidays without giving one last taxpayer-funded gift to big oil,” said Rep. Edward J. Markey, Chairman of the Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming. “Rather than joining Democrats in Congress in fighting to make sure that Big Oil pays its fair share to drill on public land at these times of high prices, the Bush Administration is attempting to hand billions of dollars in additional giveaways to big oil.”
Stripped from the Energy Bill, on its last day in the Senate, were provisions that would have fixed royalty payment structures for drilling on public lands so that the the oil companies would start paying something closer to reasonable royalties. Mr Bush threatened to veto the bill if it came to his desk with a measure requiring oil companies to pay reasonable royalties. Thanks to the diligent efforts 39 Roadblock Republicans and wayward Democrat Mary Landrieu to protect the oil companies’ pockets, that measure didn’t leave the Senate. This proposed change in royalties will only worse the situation, by anywhere from $3 billion to $10 billion.
$10 billion … that could fund a lot of wind turbines and energy efficiency measures.