NEWS: Sanders, Omar Introduce Legislation to End Corporate Welfare for the Fossil Fuel Industry and Save American Taxpayers Billions of Dollars

The legislation also guarantees the solvency of the Black Lung Disability Fund, ensuring continued medical care for tens of thousands of working-class Americans who provided energy to the nation for decades.

WASHINGTON, May 23 – As American taxpayers foot the $17 billion annual bill in direct federal subsidies to the fossil fuel industry – while facing the increasingly frequent, dangerous, and costly effects of climate change – Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Rep Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) today reintroduced the End Polluter Welfare Act. First introduced by Sanders in 2012, this critical legislation closes tax loopholes, eliminates corporate handouts to the oil, gas, and coal industry, and would save American taxpayers up to $170 billion over the next 10 years.

Sanders and Omar are joined on the legislation by more than 26 members in the House of Representatives and Sens. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), Peter Welch (D-Vt.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), and Ed Markey (D-Mass.). More than 300 organizations have endorsed the legislation.

“The conduct of the fossil fuel industry toward the American people and their distortion of the truth about climate change is one of the biggest scandals of our lifetime,” said Sanders. “At a time when scientists tell us we need to drastically reduce carbon pollution to prevent climate catastrophe, when fossil fuel companies are making billions of dollars in profit every year, and when working people across this country are living paycheck to paycheck, we have a fiscal and moral responsibility to put a stop to this absurd corporate welfare. No, working families should not be forced to pad the profits of an industry that is destroying our planet.”

“American taxpayers have been forced to foot the bill for corporate handouts propping up the fossil fuel industry that is driving the climate crisis,” said Omar. “With the End Polluter Welfare Act, we’re putting a stop to these subsidies that accelerate environmental devastation. It’s time to transfer that revenue to invest in a clean energy future that protects our environment. I choose to fight for our children’s right to a healthy planet and economy powered by renewable sources, not wealthy CEOs’ profits.”

The fossil fuel industry has known about the realities of climate change for over 50 years. Instead of taking action to address this existential threat, Big Oil has engaged in a longstanding and carefully coordinated campaign of deception to twist the truth in pursuit of massive profits.

Just four private fossil fuel corporations – Exxon Mobile, BP, Chevron, and Shell – have accounted for more than a tenth of global fossil fuel emissions since the beginning of the industrial revolution. Over the past three decades, the six largest private fossil fuel corporations have made $2.4 trillion in profits off the backs of people all around the world who have suffered, and are suffering, from the devastating repercussions of climate change. In 2022, Exxon Mobile alone made $56 billion in profits – a record high for a western oil company.

In 2023, the oil, gas, and coal industry spent nearly $137 million lobbying Congress in defense of the billions they receive every year in U.S. taxpayer dollars. Compared to $17 billion in subsidies, that’s a more than 12,300 percent return on investment.

Corporate handouts to the fossil fuel industry have helped drive a record expansion in fossil fuel development. In the past six years, the U.S. has produced more crude oil than any other country in history. However, President Biden has called for the elimination of tax preferences and loopholes for the fossil fuel industry in his Fiscal Year 2025 budget. The End Polluter Welfare Act would do just that, as well as:

  • Prohibit taxpayer-funded fossil fuel research and development.
  • Update below-market royalty rates for oil and gas production on federal lands.
  • Recoup royalties from offshore drilling in public waters.
  • Ensure competitive bidding and leasing practices for coal development on federal lands.
  • End federal support for international oil, gas, and coal projects to help the international community move away from dirty fossil fuels to clean sources of power.

Critically, this legislation also guarantees the solvency of the Black Lung Disability Fund, ensuring continued medical care for tens of thousands of working-class Americans who have worked for decades to provide energy to this nation.

Failure to address the crisis of climate change and take on the fossil fuel industry puts the planet and future generations at risk. Without concerted action, climate change will eventually cost the U.S. $14.5 trillion over the next 50 years.

Read the bill text, here.
Read the bill summary, here.
Read the section-by-section, here.
Read the letter or support by endorsing organizations, here.