How Fossil Fuel Companies Get Paid to Pollute

05/29/2015 12:02 pm ET | Updated May 29, 2016

You may have seen a new ad from the American Petroleum Institute, telling us that oil and gas companies cannot afford to -- and don't want to -- spend money to clean up their pollution. Using outright lies to bolster their position, they claim that strong smog protections are expensive, and unnecessary.

But here's what they don't want to advertise: American taxpayers are supporting fossil fuel companies -- to the tune of trillions -- while they are making record profits.

This is an industry that spent 1.8 BILLION DOLLARS on lobbying between 2010 and 2014.

A few examples, as recently reported by The Guardian news team:

Shell gets $1.6 billion from Pennsylvania taxpayers for a proposed petrochemical refinery -- a deal made in 2012 when Shell made $26.8 billion in annual profits.

ExxonMobil gets $119 million from Louisiana taxpayers to upgrade a refinery -- starting in 2011, when ExxonMobil made $14 billion in profit.

Marathon Petroleum gets $78 million from Ohio taxpayers for a jobs subsidy scheme -- starting in 2011, when Marathon made $2.4 billion in profit.

Every minute, $10 million in subsidies -- that's taxpayer money -- are going to fossil fuel companies.

We are giving companies our money while they are making record profits -- and paying nothing for the harm they do us with their pollution.

These are the companies that are against subsidies for clean energy -- but they'll take subsidies for dirty fuel.

They are against strong smog standards -- and they'll ignore the significant health benefits of such standards when they "calculate" the costs.

They are against pollution control -- and they'll spend millions on a PR campaign to avoid paying for the damage they do to our health.

They are against taking action on climate change -- and they'll try to convince you it's not their job to clean up the pollution that's wreaking havoc on our world.

So what does the American Petroleum Institute stand for, exactly?

We know what we stand for: Health. Clean air. A stable climate.

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