for fossil fuels

The fossil fuel industry has received huge tax breaks for a century, even though U.S. tax subsidies usually expire once a developing industry is established. Wikipedia estimates annual U.S. tax subsidies for fossil fuels at $600 billion. Compare this to our 2017 federal deficit of $666 billion.

The fossil fuel industry receives $22.3 billion each year in U.S. and dtate tax breaks, and $15.4 billion for indirect “consumption” subsidies (such as LIHEAP, which helps low-income residents buy fuel oil). We also pay unknown trillions to fund our military involvement in the Middle East, essentially to protect our supply of oil. This costs the lives of our soldiers and causes Middle Eastern terrorists to target us.

We subsidize the fossil fuel industry by letting them to dump their waste product (carbon dioxide) into the atmosphere, where it drives up costs for health care, energy (air conditioning), and damage caused by extreme climate events. Charging fossil fuel companies a fee for these social costs of their fuels — a carbon fee — would make renewable energy cheaper than fossil fuels and speed our transition to renewable energy.

What do we get for subsidizing this industry? Fossil fuel corporations keep all this money. We get more tick-borne illnesses, asthma and heart disease from air pollution, war in the Middle East, and an increasingly dangerous climate for our grandchildren.

Happily, we have the technology to transition very quickly to renewable energy. The fossil fuel industry would never permit the loss of their tax subsidies, but a carbon fee bill would enable us to meet the Paris climate accord goals and protect our children’s world. Tell members of Maine’s congressional delegation that your votes will be affected by what they do to reduce climate change.

Richard Thomas

Waterville

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