September 14, 2017

Janet Redman, janet [at] priceofoil [dot] org
David Turnbull, david [at] priceofoil [dot] org

Oil Change International Statement On Congressional Efforts to Extend 45Q:
Forthcoming analysis reveals program would be largest US fossil fuel subsidy

Today, Rep. K. Michael Conaway (R-TX) introduced a bill in the U.S. House of Representatives that would more than double tax credit 45Q, a handout to fossil fuel companies for using climate pollution to extract more oil. The bill is a House companion to the FUTURE Act, which was introduced in the Senate on July 12, 2017. In response, Stephen Kretzmann, Executive Director of Oil Change International issued the following statement:

“Before the floodwaters have completely receded in Texas and Florida, Congress is already hard at work at their core competency of subsidizing the fossil fuel industry. Although it’s being pushed as a climate friendly effort to sequester carbon from coal plants, its primary effect will be to trigger large volumes of additional oil production. If passed, Oil Change International’s forthcoming analysis reveals that this legislation would be worth up to $4.5 billion each year to the oil industry, making it the largest single federal handout to the fossil fuel industry.

Putting aside the coal emissions that could potentially be captured, the amount of additional oil production that this will trigger is staggering. The U.S. federal government itself projects that this subsidy would enable more than 400,000 barrels per day of new oil production that would not otherwise be profitable – with that oil containing climate pollution equivalent to 20 new coal-fired power plants or 14 million cars. It is quite possible, even likely, that this legislation will, on balance, result in far more new oil production and associated emissions than any theoretical carbon sucking unicorns could collectively sequester.

Reasonable people differ on whether or not carbon capture and storage technology deserves public support as a tool in the climate and energy policy fight. Regardless, we should take care not to design those efforts in a way that might trigger more carbon than is captured, and we should seek to do it in a way that doesn’t leave taxpayers footing the bill for oil profits. In terms of the costs to American taxpayers, and the costs to those vulnerable communities living near coal plants and fracking fields, this legislation is far too expensive.”


Note to editors: Full OCI analysis of 45Q extension legislation forthcoming within the next week.