Washington, D.C.– On the one-year anniversary of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill that devastated the Gulf of Mexico, Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva said the region and the country deserve clear answers about how BP and other responsible parties are repairing the damage to the ecosystem and economy – and why oil companies continue to receive record tax giveaways that don’t help the economy.
In an April 14 op-ed he co-authored, Grijalva – the ranking member on the House Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests and Public Lands – called for an end to the approximately $40 billion in annual public subsidies oil and gas companies receive from the federal government, in addition to other policy changes that make up the Congressional Progressive Caucus “People’s Budget” proposal. BP used tax breaks specifically designed for the oil industry to write off 70 percent of the cost of leasing the Deepwater Horizon rig in 2010, a savings of $225,000 per day since the lease began, according to the New York Times.
“This isn’t a philosophical debate about whether corporate tax giveaways somehow help the middle class – this is clear evidence that BP and other companies are gaming the system at taxpayer expense,” Grijalva said. “BP shouldn’t be paid from the public treasury just to go about its daily business, but that’s exactly what’s happening thanks to the loopholes in our tax code.”
Beyond the issue of tax treatment, Grijalva said, BP needs to clarify how its Gulf recovery payout program is achieving its stated goals. A recently published review by the Associated Press showed that BP has cut large checks to state and local governments with little oversight of how the money is being spent or whether it’s going directly to mitigate the effects of the spill.
As the AP reported April 11:
“BP has a responsibility to make sure its recovery efforts are focused on those who need it most,” Grijalva said. “Indiscriminate payouts have not led to the visible and transparent recovery the region deserves. The company needs to make clear how it will address this. Simply writing a check and washing its hands of the process is not enough.”