Obama seeks to block oil tax breaks

2012-03-17 13:29

Washington - US President Barack Obama is calling anew on Congress to end tax subsidies for the oil and gas industry, saying America needs to develop alternative sources of energy in the face of rising gasoline prices.

Obama said on Saturday in his weekly radio and internet address that he expected Congress to consider in the next few weeks halting $4bn in tax subsidies, something he hasn't been able to get through Congress throughout his presidency.

He said the vote would put lawmakers on record on whether they "stand up for oil companies" or "stand up for the American people".

"They can either place their bets on a fossil fuel from the last century or they can place their bets on America's future," Obama said.

Industry officials and many Republicans in Congress have argued that cutting the tax breaks would lead to higher gas prices, raising costs on oil companies and affecting their investments in exploration and production. The measure is considered a long shot in Congress, given that Obama couldn't end the subsidies when Democrats controlled Congress earlier in his term.


Republican presidential candidates have accused Obama of delaying drilling for oil in the Gulf of Mexico and in a national wildlife refuge in Alaska and faulted him for not advancing the Keystone XL oil pipeline from Canada to Texas Gulf Coast refineries. They have also criticised policies pursued by the Environmental Protection Agency as inhibiting energy development.

Obama said there is no quick fix to high gas prices, but he pushed back against critics who say he is opposed to more drilling. He said the US is producing more oil than at any time in the past eight years and has quadrupled the number of operating oil rigs.

"If we're truly going to make sure we're not at the mercy of spikes in gas prices every year, the answer isn't just to drill more - because we're already drilling more," Obama said. He said his administration was trying to develop wind and solar power, biofuels and usher in more fuel-efficient vehicles to make the nation less dependent on oil.

In the weekly Republican address, Republican Cory Gardner said his constituents have been hard hit by an increase in gas prices and were "fed up with the way the president is handling this issue, and rightfully so. The most forceful thing the president has done about high gas prices is try to explain that he's against them."

Gardner said the $800bn stimulus spending sought by Obama promoted energy companies that went bankrupt, wasting taxpayer money.

"After spending money we don't have on what won't work - and over regulating what would - is it any wonder gas prices have more than doubled on the president's watch? Make no mistake, high gas prices are a symptom of his failed 'stimulus' policies," Gardner said.

Obama is expected to keep up a drumbeat on energy this week, travelling to four states over two days to push his administration's "all of the above" energy strategy. The trip includes stops in Nevada, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Ohio.

  • goyougoodthing - 2012-03-17 14:06

    Fossil fuels need to be replaced. This is not rocket science. There is a finite amount of fossil fuel. Global warming or not, burning fossil fuels makes pollution. Harvesting fossil fuels destroys habitats. Wind power, hydro, solar.

      Matthew Patrick - 2012-03-17 14:33

      Yip, couldn't agree more. The problem is that most politicians don't see it as economically viable to switch from oil to alternatives as the petroleum companies, politicians and the motor industry are all in bed with each other. They think a move from oil will crash the economy and as long as the wells are spewing oil (for how much longer is anyone's guess) there's nothing to worry about. The rising costs of petrol, if an alternative isn't found, will eventually 'cause people to sell their cars and use public transport and still cause the oil and motor industries to collapse.

      Ouklip - 2012-03-17 14:48

      Do you know how many birds are killed a year by the wind turbines and the effect of solar panels on the habitat. In California a solar farm is being delayed because of environment problems.

      goyougoodthing - 2012-03-17 14:54

      That's hardly a determinant when one looks at the impact of oil spills on the ecology, fracking etc, not to mention the pollution. That's like saying you are a carnivore because cows are made of meat.

      Adil Smit - 2012-03-17 16:42

      Ouklip maybe post a few links. And join a few groups on FB that post regular articles on the subjects

  • Trevor - 2012-03-17 14:26

    You trying to convince an addict not to shoot up....since WWII they have been consuming more & more & more and the bounty they allocated to themselves after the war is finally up so, what do they do instinctively, create another war to get more oil...and they will continue because the American voter is like the ANC voter, they'll beleive ANYTHING their leaders tell them, America just scream TERRORISM...South Africa, RACISM...and it works everytime so, I don't forsee any big change.

  • Ouklip - 2012-03-17 14:45

    The USA has enough untapped oil reserves and should drill. There is no energy form that can repkace oil for 15 29 years to come. The Obama administration has slowed down oil production in the US and wasted money on Solar companies that went under. The US needs a coherent energy policy and a president that can lead.

      goyougoodthing - 2012-03-17 14:49

      That is quite short sighed.

      Dave Prinsloo - 2012-03-17 16:05

      maybe more money was wasted on war efforts to secure oil. Alternative energy solutions could be much closer to replacing oil if all that money was spent on research and dwvelopment of what works. To say solar doesn't work is over simplifying matters

      Adil Smit - 2012-03-17 16:40

      If the solar companies got billions of dollars of tax relief each year...

      phathuchicos - 2012-03-17 18:16

      what planet are you from?

  • Lauden Kirk - 2012-03-17 17:14

    Let truth set you free. We have being paying to much far to long for fuel. So They planned this years ago. They don't need tax breaks. It's just another media ploy to make out the mr USA is on the right side of the fence

  • phathuchicos - 2012-03-17 18:15

    Elections...even last decade skeletons are being dugged out...lols

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