On Tuesday, the New York Times reported that companies like Exxon Mobil will pay nothing for the $65 billion dollars worth of oil and natural gas taken from public lands. Normally these companies would have been required to pay the Federal government $7 billion for the right to drill. But they're going to get away with paying nothing.
An outrage? You bet it is. Who's responsible?
When asked about the Times article in his Daily Press Briefing, White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan said, "the article that you're bringing up is really focusing on royalty relief that was started back in 1996 under the Clinton administration. Now, the President opposed additional incentives for oil companies with the price of oil where it is."
So, it's all Bill Clinton's fault!!!!!
Give me a break. A quick look at the Record reveals that the Bush Administration was for royalty relief before they were against it. Their own Cheney Energy Task report says so.
The Energy bill that the President signed into law last August actually EXPANDS royalty relief for the oil companies.
So why the sudden about face from the White House?
Maybe the White House spin-wizards wanted to avoid the wrath of Americans outraged at having the oil and gas companies tipping them upside-down and shaking money out of their pockets.
Or perhaps, they realized that a majority of Americans disapprove of the President's handling of energy policy?
Did they forget that Republicans fought hard to preserve these giveaways for companies like Exxon Mobil which broke an all time record for corporate profits making $36 billion this year?
Have they suffered some sort of amnesia from the days last year when they voted against Democratic amendments to end these royalty payments?
Did they think no one was watching?
Scott McClellan told reporters this week that the President does not believe oil companies should receive incentives when the price of oil is high. Come on, Scott! Have you checked with the Vice President lately - the same one who ran the Cheney Energy Task Force that dedicated several pages of its final report to the benefits of royalty reductions and other incentives for industry?
This country is certainly 'addicted to oil,' but this White House is 'conflicted by oil' -- subsidizing the pushers and waiving the penalties for companies drilling on public land even while it bemoans our dependence on oil.