Saturday, October 29, 2005

Big Erl Needs Help

Based on their record profits announced just a few days ago, you would think Big Erl is doing just fine. So, why, in the run up to these profits, was the federal government doing this?

On October 7, the U.S. House of Representatives narrowly passed a bill that would give federal insurance to oil refiners whose expansion projects are delayed by lawsuits or regulatory snags. It also put the Energy Department in charge of permits for new refinery projects as a way to speed up approvals.


Less than three months ago, the president signed into law a Republican-written energy bill giving $14.5 billion in tax breaks and incentives to the energy industry.

Subsidies? Tax breaks? Incentives? Fast-tracking permits at the expense of the environment? Is that what you do for an industry that is about to announce record profits? How big does Big Erl want to get? Didn’t anyone see that Big Erl probably didn’t need any help? There’s no way that Katrina and Rita could be the cause of these crazy profits, so someone must have seen them coming.

Our coastal wetlands (and therefore New Orleans) don’t have a chance if Big Erl has this much pull in Washington.

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