Taxpayer Groups, Environmentalists, Students Call on Congress to End $4 Billion Annual Oil Industry Subsidies

In an open letter sent to Congress today, a coalition of 40 national taxpayer, labor, environmental and other groups called on the federal government to repeal almost $4 billion in annual tax breaks for the oil and gas industry, calling them wasteful and lambasting Congress for subsidizing activities that will make climate change worse.

The groups called on Senators to support the FAIR Energy Policy Act, which would slowly phase out nine special tax breaks for the fossil fuel industry.

“Oil companies receive billions in tax breaks, despite being among the world’s largest and most profitable corporations,” the groups wrote. “For too long, America has subsidized the oil industry’s bottom line at middle class Americans’ expense.”

Another law passed earlier this year revokes the wind industry's production tax credit, and the FAIR Energy Policy Act would wind down some of the oil industry's subsidies on the same schedule.

If we are phasing out tax credits for clean energy—something I oppose—then why are we still committing to permanently support the fossil fuel industries with tax preferences they don’t need?” said Senator Brian Schatz, a Democrat from Hawaii who sponsored that bill.  “It is based on the very simple idea that there should be a level playing field for fossil fuels and clean energy.”

Lamar “McCarthy 2.0” Smith Subpoenas #ExxonKnew Investigators

This is a guest post by ClimateDenierRoundup

For those still hungry for more #WebofDenial, here’s a quick roundup of the content before getting to the more recent news: the groups accused of working together on climate denial unsurprisingly worked together to deny these accusations in a joint letter, then repeated their false first amendment defense at Heartland and the National Review, and threw up gish gallops at Heritage and CEI. On the other side, Monday’s text-searchable Hill speeches start on page 89 of the Congressional Record, Tuesday’s start on 213.

Videos are up on YouTube for Senators MarkeyBoxerUdallShaheenPeters, and Tim Kaine, while Media Matters has a compilation of speeches by Shatz, Franken, Heinrich and Whitehouse about the #WebofDenial’s media manipulations. Senator Whitehouse was also interviewed at The Nation, and quoted in coverage by Kate Sheppard, while the Senator’s own op-ed about the 100+ opinion pieces attacking the #ExxonKnew campaign was published in CJR.

In the aftermath of this massive two day effort to detail the #WebofDenial, the Chairman of the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology, Lamar Smith, announced on Wednesday that he was issuing subpoenas for communications between climate denial groups and their fossil fuel funders.

The New Attack On Climate Scientists: Drain Their Funds With Frivolous Lawsuits

The average cost to hire an attorney in the United States is around $300 per hour. The average lawsuit, not including class action or mass tort cases, takes between one and two years to reach a conclusion. These financial and time-related costs quickly become a huge burden for anyone on the receiving end of a subpoena, and that’s why climate change denial groups are using the court system as a means to put the brakes on the work of climate scientists.

Leading the way in this new attack is the Energy & Environment Legal Institute (E&E), a climate science denial organization that receives funding from fossil fuel companies like Peabody Coal, Arch Coal, and Alpha Natural Resources, according to The Guardian.

Recently, the group filed a lawsuit in Arizona to get their hands on thousands of emails between climate scientists, with this particular lawsuit focused on the emails sent by Dr. Malcolm Hughes from the University of Arizona and Dr. Jonathan Overpeck, the lead author of the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report. The lawsuit is seeking 6 years of Dr. Hughes’ emails and 13 years of Dr. Overpeck’s emails.

#TimetoCallOut the Impressive McCarthy-Hypocrisy of the #WebofDenial Response

This is a guest post by ClimateDenierRoundup

In response to the 19 Congressional climate hawks deciding that it is #TimetoCallOut the fossil fuel industry for its use of tobacco and lead-industry PR tactics, the #WebofDenial proves its efficacy even while trying to dispute their very existence. For example, the Koch-operative-created Washington Free Beacon’s initial coverage of an email outlining which speakers called out what groups was quickly echoed at the Koch-partnered website, The Daily Caller. That story also features quotes from an ALEC spokeswoman making the free speech defense- a common thread in the #WebofDenial. (One that Sen. Whitehouse called out last week.)

How US Senators’ #WebofDenial Helped Spawn and Sustain Climate Science Denial in the UK

Senator Whitehouse describing the Web of Denial in the US Senate

In the 1990s, personnel from the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) were flying across oceans to stoke climate science denial.

In 1995, in what is thought to be the first conference promoting climate science denial in Britain, the CEI’s then president Fred Smith joined another US guest from the Atlas Economic Research Foundation for a series of talks that undermined warnings about the impacts of fossil fuels on the climate.

Now more than 20 years on, Democratic Senators from across the pond have completed a blitz of speeches describing the fossil fuel funded “web of denial” – with organisations including the CEI featuring heavily in their forensic analysis.

This “web of denial” has held back action to cut greenhouse gas emissions while confusing the public on climate change. 

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