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Big Oil keeps getting government handouts
Guest columnist

As reported in Bloomberg News, “For years, wind and solar power were derided as boondoggles. They were too expensive, the argument went, to build without government handouts.” 

What many critics of these supports for clean-energy technology have failed to acknowledge is that the fossil-fuel industry has been getting billions in subsidies for more than a century. Only nuclear power bail-outs come even close. 

Clean-energy costs have become so cheap that the supports they once needed are disappearing. 

Not only are these trends favoring the conversion to wind and solar power, but millions of new jobs are being created throughout the nation. Such benefits are being shared by rural areas where economic opportunities are often scarce.

Meanwhile, as burning fossil-fuels continues to damage private property, the economy, and quality-of-life across the globe by causing climate disruption, the U.S. government persists in doling out at least $50 billion annually to boost the oil and gas industry.

The unfair and self-destructive support for the very fuels that are causing serious threats to the future of humanity must be directly confronted by Congress, and soon.

The injustice and waste of tax-payer funds being used to support fossil-fuels are further highlighted by the ongoing controversy being raised by the Trump Administration as it opposes both numerous states and the automotive industry that prefer pursuing significantly higher vehicle fuel-efficiency standards.

Why would ambitious fuel-efficiency improvements be opposed when they will reduce the costs of travel and at the same time cut damaging greenhouse gas emissions?

As many have concluded, resisting innovations in technology that will reduce dependency on fossil fuels seems to be motivated by - primarily if not entirely – efforts to sustain billions in Big Oil profits. 

Promoting this reckless profit-making will cause ever-growing harms to private property, food supplies, public health, and vital life-supporting ecosystems.

David Kyler Center is director of the St. Simons Island-based Center for a Sustainable Coast.

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