The Bush Administration, which rolled back taxes that have enabled Exxon and other oil companies to reap record profits, has found an oil subsidy it can't stomach.
Bush wants to repeal a law that funds "ultra-deepwater" and on-shore drilling research, which last year, according to the Dallas Morning News handed $37.5 million to oil companies via a Texas research consortium.
The Department of Energy has argued that record profits mean oil companies ought to have enough cash lying around to pay for their own research.
"There is not a need for taxpayers to subsidize oil companies in these efforts," a spokeswoman quoted by the Morning News said.
Exxon Mobil announced last week that its 2007 earnings hit $41 billion besting the all-time record that it had set only last year.
While Bush still defends the main tax breaks oil companies enjoy, and Congress agreed to retain them in the last energy bill, critics are growing more numerous as gas prices remain high, the economy sags, and oil companies reap record spoils.
Its hard to understand why many members of Congress still insist on giving taxpayers hard-earned money to oil companies like Exxon," said Friends of the Earth Domestic Programs Director Erich Pica. "Big Oil doesnt need corporate welfare. Instead of subsidizing polluters, Congress should be promoting clean energy alternatives, such as wind and solar. Transitioning to these alternatives will be good for the environment, good for Americans health, good for the economy, and good for our national security. Its a no-brainer."
Friends of Earth criticized Sen. John McCain, the Republican presidential front-runner, for avoiding the vote in the Senate when the oil subsidies were re-instated with a single vote margin. The group also criticized Democrats for failing to push hard enough to repeal the subsidies.
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