Big Oil gets punked

The House votes to end oil and gas tax breaks and invest the money in renewable energy.

By Andrew Leonard
Published January 19, 2007 12:08AM (EST)

Call it an uppercut to the chin of Big Oil, delivered by Nancy Pelosi and a few friends. On Thursday night, by a vote of 264-163, the House of Representatives passed the Clean Long-Term Energy Alternative for the Nation Act of 2007.

Talk about your changes in the political weather: The bill aims to raise $15 billion in taxes by ending various tax breaks and sweet royalty deals handed to the oil industry by President Bush and a Republican Congress. According to MSNBC, "Democrats said much of $15 billion in revenue generated by the measure would be used to promote renewable fuels such as solar and wind power, alternative fuels including ethanol and biodiesel and incentives for conservation."

I've been waiting to hear the raucous partying begin on the streets of Berkeley, but maybe the good citizens of Northern California are holding their glee in check, skeptical that the Senate will follow the House's lead and help make this bill become the law of the land. As for me, I'm going to go tell my 12-year-old daughter that a politician from San Francisco just helped guide the passage of a bill whose language actually makes sense. I'm going to luxuriate in this bizarre topsy-turvy wonderland as long as I can.

For a fan of renewable energy who believes that the fossil fuel industry has had Congress in its pocket for most of his adult life, the actual text of the bill is like some kind of legislative pornography. Read it for yourself.

H. R. 6: To reduce our Nation's dependency on foreign oil by investing in clean, renewable, and alternative energy resources, promoting new emerging energy technologies, developing greater efficiency, and creating a Strategic Energy Efficiency and Renewables Reserve to invest in alternative energy, and for other purposes...

SECTION 1: Title I: DENIAL OF OIL AND GAS TAX BENEFITS....

UPDATE: A reader notes that royalty deals were originally a mistake made by the Clinton Dept. of Interior -- a mistake that the Bush administration refused to fix, once it was pointed out.


Andrew Leonard

Andrew Leonard is a staff writer at Salon. On Twitter, @koxinga21.

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