THE BLOG

Big Oil's Happy Thanksgiving

11/23/2011 06:57 pm ET | Updated Jan 23, 2012

Big Oil is a lot like an unwanted guest for the holidays -- taking much more than their share, costing you a fortune, and then leaving without so much as a thank you.

Big Oil has a lot to be thankful for this holiday -- decision makers in Washington have given them two fantastic fossil feasts in the form of profitable delays and continued tax breaks.

The delay is a gift from the Environmental Protection Agency, which has announced that it will not meet its December deadline to regulate climate-change causing greenhouse gas emissions from oil refineries. The tax breaks are a gift from Congress, where the failure of the vaunted super committee means that the billions of dollars in unnecessary tax breaks and giveaways to the oil and gas industry will continue. As a result, American taxpayers will keep funding the corporate jets, the extravagant salaries and the hundreds of billions of dollars in profits for the oil industry.

Unfortunately, giving these gifts to the oil industry also means taking something away from the rest of America. Keeping the unnecessary tax breaks and giveaways keeps America addicted to oil -- and paying more at the pump. Failing to put the lid on greenhouse-gas-spewing oil refineries takes away America's future, threatening us with more of the disastrous effects of climate change.

Already, the unchecked carbon pollution from facilities like oil refineries has led to climate change destruction. Forests in the Rocky Mountains are being devastated by pine bark beetles, a nuisance species that is usually killed off by cold winters. But the warmer winters that have resulted from unmitigated greenhouse gas pollution have allowed the beetles to kill trees at a record-setting pace.

Furthermore, some of the iconic places in the country are being irreparably harmed by America's dependence on fossil fuels. Glacier National Park -- which is known for, you guessed it, glaciers -- is losing them at an alarming rate. Experts predict that by 2030, only puddles will remain of the parks iconic glaciers. North Cascades National Park -- also known for its spectacular ancient ice -- is also losing its glaciers. And the Muir glacier in Glacier Bay National Park has retreated more than 7 miles since 1941.

American icons like Glacier National Park and the forests of the Rocky Mountains should not be sacrificed so that the oil industry can rake in hundreds of billions of dollars in profits. Already, a large majority of Americans support putting a lid on carbon pollution -- stopping the rampant and unchecked climate change pollution.

Big Oil shouldn't get all the gifts this holiday season. It's time to give a gift to the planet and the wild places we treasure. Capping the carbon and cutting the giveaways to Big Oil is a good place to start.