Washington, DC – An analysis by the Center for American Progress Action Fund found that representatives who voted against a comprehensive clean energy tax incentives package received four times as many campaign contributions from the oil and gas industry as compared to the package’s supporters. On August 4, the House passed a clean energy incentives tax package, H.R. 2776, as an essential element of New Direction for Energy Independence, National Security, and Consumer Protection Act. The tax package would eliminate $16 billion worth of tax loopholes that benefit big oil and recover unpaid royalties on oil and gas from federal waters off the Gulf of Mexico in order to fund billions of dollars in clean alternative energy technologies such as wind and solar power, clean alternative fuels, and energy efficiency.
“Big oil’s favorite representatives tried to block this clean energy tax package,” said Daniel J. Weiss, Senior Fellow and Director of Climate Strategy at the Center for American Progress Action Fund. “Oil and gas companies gave $29 million in campaign cash to representatives to convince them to maintain $16 billion in tax loopholes. Their millions of dollars in contributions could save them billions of dollars in loopholes and tax subsidies.”
An analysis of campaign contributions from the oil and gas industry between 1989 and 2006 found that the 189 representatives who voted with big oil and against the tax package received an average of $109,277 in contributions from the oil and gas industry during those years, while the 221 representatives that voted for the package received an average of only $26,274 over that same period. To see all contributions and votes, go to http://www.americanprogressaction.org/issues/2007/house_oil.html.
Representatives that won by a relatively narrow margin of 55 percent or less in 2006 and voted against the tax package received 10 times more in oil and gas campaign contributions than narrow winners who voted for the clean energy tax package. The former group received an average of $101,270 from oil and gas, while narrow winners who voted for clean energy incentives received only $9,837 from big oil and gas.
The bipartisan clean energy tax package would have provided tax incentives for the following clean energy technologies:
· Renewable electricity, such as solar and wind power: $7.2 billion
· Energy efficiency: $3.5 billion
· Biofuels: $480 million
· Clean, more efficient vehicles: $1.2 billion.
These incentives would have been funded via closure of tax loopholes worth $16 billion. This is equivalent to the royalties that energy companies evaded in the late 1990s due to a procedural error by the Department of Interior.
“Of course these 189 representatives are not on the take from big oil,” Weiss said. “But its nearly $29 million in direct campaign contributions make sure that when big oil knocks, many representatives answer the call to block progress on clean energy. Fortunately, a majority of the House ignored big oil and passed the clean energy tax incentives package. Hopefully, the final energy bill will include it too.”
See the results here: http://www.americanprogressaction.org/issues/2007/house_oil.html.