Report calls out oil shale subsidies
The U.S. House of Representatives recently passed legislation that will hand out $50 million of increased subsidies to oil shale experiments. But a non-partisan group says the government shouldn't waste anymore American tax dollars on what they call a failed industry.
The budget watchdog, 'Taxpayers for Common Sense', just released a report titled "Subsidizing Oil Shale: Tracing Federal Support for Oil Shale Development in the U.S.".
The report states that the federal government made available over $6 billion in loan and price guarantees to oil companies in order to commercialize oil shale in the 1980's.
According to the non-partisan group, that debt fell on American taxpayers. And the returns on those investments only led to devastated local economies, abandoned projects and a failed oil shale industry.
And despite the subsidies issues in the 1980's, the group says oil shale has never been a viable commercial product.
Jill Lancelot, co-founder of Tax Payers for Common Sense, said, "We have been subsidizing this industry for well over a century and we have nothing to show for it. It's been a dismal failure for tax payers. The government needs to stop gambling taxpayer money on this failed industry."
"Taxpayers always get a bad deal when you prematurely push an industry into the marketplace by propping it up with subsidies," said Lancelot.
According to Lancelot, the House Committee on Science and Technology is meeting on Friday to discuss the recent legislation.
The Department of Interior will issue new regulations to govern commercial leases for the oil shale industry, and they'll also determine royalty rates.
But Lancelot argues that it's impossible to determine royalty rates unless you first have a commercial product, and the group wants the taxpayers to get a fair return on their investment.
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