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How Big Oil is Costing Taxpayers, and What I'm Doing About It

Dear friend,

Our public lands are national treasures that belong to all Americans. But right now, these outdoor spaces are under attack. Big Oil companies are trying to get rich off our public lands and rip off taxpayers in the process—not on my watch.

Polluters are extracting resources from public lands at rates that haven’t been updated in decades. We haven’t raised the rental rate since I was in junior high, and we’ve been charging oil and gas companies the same royalty rate for over 100 years. 

These outdated, absurdly low rates are costing taxpayers billions of dollars each year. If corporations want to extract natural resources on public lands, they should have to pay a fair price.

That’s why I recently introduced the Ending Taxpayer Welfare for Oil and Gas Companies Act to raise fees on corporate polluters and hold them accountable. My bill would raise royalties, rental rates, inspection fees, and penalties for companies extracting energy from public lands. I’m excited to share that yesterday, my colleagues advanced my legislation out of the House Natural Resources Committee. This is the first step after a bill is introduced for it to become law.

On Wednesday, the House Natural Resources Committee debated my bill to raise fees on polluters extracted from public lands. As a former bankruptcy professor, I was surprised when a colleague tried to argue—incorrectly—that this legislation would bankrupt families.

It is high time to close the loopholes polluters are exploiting to get away with abusing our environment at taxpayers’ expense. As I explained to a Big Oil exec during a House Natural Resources Committee hearing, I would be happy to have Congress deliver some much overdue adjustments. In fact, I recently introduced legislation with Reps. Earl Blumenaur and Sean Casten to strike 11 polluter getaways from our tax code.

When a Big Oil exec tried to tell me his company doesn’t enjoy special tax breaks, I told him I’d be happy to deliver if that’s what he wanted. Three weeks later, my colleagues and I introduced legislation that eliminates 11 polluter giveaways from our tax code.

When I ran for Congress, I promised to call out special interests and serve Orange County families. With the harms of the climate crisis already setting in around us through record breaking wildfires and disappearing coastline, it is clear that robust oversight of the fossil fuel industry cannot wait. As your representative, I will keep my promise and fight for the health and safety of our communities.

To stay up to date on how I’m representing you and California's 45th district, please follow @RepKatiePorter on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

          Very truly yours,
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          Katie Porter
          Member of Congress