February 6, 2018

Andrew Grinberg, agrinberg [at]
Janet Redman,Ā janet [at]

Letter: “Congress Must Stop Subsidizing Enhanced Oil Recovery”

Over 30 groups call on Congress to end tax credits boosting risky oil production and threatening drinking water

Today, more than 30 environmental, health and social justice organizations urged Congressional leaders to exclude an extension of the tax credit for carbon dioxide enhanced oil recovery (CO2-EOR) from any spending bill.

The Section 45Q Tax Credit, which subsidizes coal and gas-fired power plants (and industrial facilities) to capture and bury their climate pollution or sell it to oil companies for enhanced oil recovery, is set to expire this year. Several proposals have been introduced to extend and increase the credit. Instead of engaging in open debate, fossil fuel boosters in Congress are trying to slip an extension through the appropriation process, avoiding any meaningful discussion. Legislation introduced in late 2017 also sought to weaken the regulatory oversight, monitoring and reporting required for companies conducting enhanced oil recovery and claiming the credit. The deregulatory provision being pushed by GOP MembersĀ  has caused some Democratic proponents of the credit to walk back their support.

The groupsā€™ letter called the credit a ā€œhandout to fossil fuel companies,ā€ and raised the alarm around the new push to deregulate CO2-enhanced oil recovery. Groups pointed to concerns over water protection, insufficient climate protections, and a lack of financial accountability for companies claiming the credit.

Signers of the letter includedĀ The Alliance for Appalachia, Amazon Watch, Bold Alliance, Center for Biological Diversity, Chesapeake Climate Action Network, Citizens Coalition for a Safe Community, Clean Water Action, Climate Justice Alliance,, Earthjustice, Earthworks ,Endangered Species Coalition, Friends of the Earth, Food & Water Watch, Greenpeace USA, Hip Hop Caucus, Indiana State Conference of the NAACP, Indigenous Environmental Network, Institute for Policy Studies, Interfaith Climate Action Network of Contra Costa County, Kentuckians For The Commonwealth, Maryland Environmental Health Network, Nuclear Information and Resource Service, Oil Change International, Power Shift Network, Public Citizen, Rainforest Action Network, Save EPA, UMBC Progressives, West Berkeley Alliance for Clean Air and Safe Jobs, andĀ The full letter can be viewed here.

Organizations opposing the measure issued the following statements:

“Oil and gas companies were among the top beneficiaries of the recent GOP tax billĀ ā€“ now Congress stands poised to hand Big Oil yet another subsidy. Communities across the United States have recently weathered massive wildfires, lethal mudslides, and destructive hurricanes made worse by climate change. Expanding the 45Q tax credit to the fossil fuel industry would constitute yet another climate disaster,” saidĀ Janet Redman, U.S. Policy Director at Oil Change International.

“Instead of putting our drinking water at risk by subsidizing risky and under-regulated oil drilling activities, Congress should focus on increasing protections for groundwater from injection activities and ending special treatment for fossil fuel companies. Sneaking in more handouts to oil companies on a must-pass spending bill to keep the government open is outrageous and should be rejected,” saidĀ Andrew Grinberg, National Special Projects Manager of Clean Water Action.

“It is quite concerning that oil companies have been benefiting from a tax credit in unknown amounts, claiming to permanently sequester the pollution that is most responsible for climate change. Taxpayers should know that their money is supporting increased climate pollution, water pollution and oil company payouts.ā€Given EIA’s shoddy track record, today’s Annual Energy Outlook projecting climate doom leaves us feeling quite confident that we’ll continue to kick our fossil fuel addiction and tackle our climate crisis,” saidĀ Sarah Saylor, Senior Legislative Representative at Earthjustice.