The top six oil companies recently released their 2011 fourth-quarter results, and to no one’s surprise made a record-high $148 billion in profits in 2011.
When you are selling something that everyone is addicted to you are going to make a lot of money, and you shouldn’t need tax breaks or billions in subsidies to cut a profit. I thank Sens. Maria Cantwell and Patty Murray for voting last month to end the century-old tax breaks for the oil industry. However, the bill was defeated in the Senate.
For the first time in more than a decade, imports accounted for less than half the oil consumed in America in 2010. In 2011, import dependence fell again to its lowest level in 16 years. The problem isn’t not enough drilling, it’s too much profiteering.
As the U.S. House of Representatives holds hearing on high gas prices this week and keeps proposing to open more public lands to exploration and extraction, it is time to tell our legislators to refocus on energy conservation, efficiency and finding an alternative to oil. Damaging and destroying what remains of our public lands, offshore waters and other natural resources searching for more oil is like scraping the last drops of paint out of an empty can.
As a hunter and fisher, I don’t want my taxes used to subsidize the oil industry or help them tear up what’s left of our public lands searching for yesterday’s energy source.
(Quinn, who retired after 31 years with the state Department of Fish and Wildlife, is secretary of the Washington Wildlife Federation.)