Oil Industry Uses Hard Lobbying to Get Taxpayer Money:
When Congress passed incentives in the 1990s for drilling and exploration by oil and companies supporters claimed that there would be no cost to the taxpayer. This, of course, was not the case as today’s New York Times report indicates: “the Bush administration confirmed that it expected the government to waive about $7 billion in royalties over the next five years, even though the industry incentive was expressly conceived of for times when energy prices were low. And that number could quadruple to more than $28 billion if a lawsuit filed last week challenging one of the program’s remaining restrictions proves successful.” The story of how the federal government wound up providing massive taxpayer funded incentives to one of the most lucrative industries involves a bill passed by legislators riddled with ambiguities, crucial errors by midlevel bureaucrats under President Bill Clinton, a Bush administration seeking greater incentives for the oil and gas industry, and “Republican lawmakers who wanted to do even more.” While the Clinton administration missteps appear to be “a massive screw-up,” according to a former Energy Department official, the Bush administration has continuously sought to provide as many incentives to the oil and gas industry as possible. President George W. Bush is the largest recipient of campaign cash from the oil and gas industry, with totals topping $4.5 million. Recently resigned Interior Secretary Gale Norton, a major proponent of incentives to the oil and gas industry, founded a non-profit before she joined Bush’s cabinet, the Council for Republican Environmental Advocacy, which is heavily funded by oil and gas, mining, and logging interests.