The One Year Aftermath of the Gulf Oil Spill & Lone Tree Council May Initiatives Set for May 14

BP Gets Rewarded with $10 Billion Tax Credit for Negligence

Posted In: Politics, National, Finance, Taxes, News, Investigative Reporting, National,   From Issue 725   By: Robert E Martin

28th April, 2011     0

One year ago, British Petroleum’s oil began to pour into the Gulf of Mexico. It did not stop for 87 days. Today the economic and environmental devastation remain as thousands of Gulf coast residents cope with massive health problems associated with oil and improperly tested toxic dispersants such as Corexit, which has been ingested into vast levels of the aquatic environment, and hence into the human chain of life.

Sadly, due to an Executive Order media blackout by President Obama, the extent and depth of this devastation is marginalized and not fully explored by corporate mainstream media.

At a time when the Federal Government is claiming itself poor and cutting budgets and support for environmental protection, unlike the residents of the Gulf, BP just scored a nearly $10 billion dollar tax credit by writing off its ‘losses’ incurred from their negligence in the Gulf. $10 billion is the entire annual budget of the EPA, whose funding was recently slashed in the continuing budgetary resolution.

By now it should be obvious that legislators – for the most part – work for Corporations instead of constituents. America should probably be renamed the U.S.O (United State of the One Percent) insofar as today, the upper 1 Percent of Americans are now taking in nearly a quarter of the nation’s income every year. And in terms of wealth, as opposed to income, they control 40 percent. 25 years ago the corresponding figures were 12 percent and 33 percent.

Americans should not have to endure massive budget cuts when perpetrators like BP are allowed to take $10 billion tax deductions for destroying our Gulf; and if Americans have any iota of outrage flowing through their spine, they should tell their elected officials immediately to force BP to amend its tax return and pay their fair share into addressing the ramifications of an environmental & economic mess which they created.

Responding to BP’s monumental catastrophe cost a massive amount of resources from local, state and federal governments, while on April 15th they enjoyed a tax holiday and created another massive blow to our nation’s revenue stream.

The $10 billion savings comes after BP wrote off the $32.2 billion it set aside to cover clean-up costs, fines, and a $20 billion victim compensation fund, which not surprisingly has been notoriously slow and recalcitrant to pay out claims and thus far has in reality paid out less than $4 billion to date.

Why, you may rightly ask, is BP allowed to deduct these costs for tax advantages?

Largely because of the precedent set last year when Goldman Sachs waived a tax deduction it could have claimed from having to pay $500 million in fines to the Securities & Exchange Commission for giving bad information to mortgage investors and in essence perpetrating the housing debacle that has taken our country to the brink of economic collapse.
Is this really what our so-called Democracy has degenerated to?
BP’s $10 billion tax credit slashes its liability by one third – at every U.S. taxpayer’s expense, while continuing to cost our nation plenty.
At a recent environmental conference, stories emerged again from Gulf Coast residents of oil still remaining on beaches, of its smell still permeating the air, of legions of dead dolphin, turtles and fish, of neighbors who are sick or jobless.
Meanwhile, back at the Whore House in Washington, D.C., British Petroleum just restarted political contributions to the Republicans, who continue to push for expanded offshore drilling, oppose lifting oil spill liability caps, and do everything in their power to keep our nation addicted to dirty crude, refusing to eliminate Wall Street speculation that accounts for nearly 30 percent of the current gasoline price spikes, as millions of Americans drain their paychecks into their gas tanks every day.
One year ago BP delivered to our shores what would become the worst environmental disaster in our nation’s history.
Can somebody please explain why we are giving BP a tax-credit when they owe us our Gulf back?
The least that should be expected is for them to pay their fair share. Anything less is beyond outrage.
Environmental Initiatives Set for May 14th in Bay City with Clean Energy March
Earth Day is not a holiday to celebrate one day every year. Think of it like brushing your teeth – you have to keep scrubbing at different parts of the terrain on a daily basis in order to keep things healthy and secure.
With this in mind, The Lone Tree Council has three pivotal events scheduled for the month of May, beginning on Saturday, May 14th with a Clean Energy March and 350 Photo Shoot.
The simple reality is that if we want to curb Global Warming and all its nasty turbulence, we need to get the CO2 in our atmosphere down to 350 ppm, as currently we are 391 ppm and rising every year.
This means planning the end of fossil fuel burning as soon as possible and establishing an RPS of at least 30% by 2015. Every year the Lone Tree Council asks members of the community to show support the Saturday after Mother’s Day to help build a movement to set a price on carbon and establish a rational energy policy based on conservation, wind, solar and geothermal energy.
Those interesting in participating in this year’s Student March at 11:00 AM from Pershing Park to Veterans Park in Bay City and the Mother’s & Others March at 11:30 AM should meet at the Sage Library from Liberty Park, walking to Veterans Park, down Midland Street & Dewitt, to the North End of Washington Ave., South of the Boat Launch. The 350 Photo Shoot will take place at Noon.
Students are invited to join The Students March for Clean Energy at Pershing Park (just East of the Sage Library) to march down Midland Street to John F. Kennedy Drive and south to the site of the 350 Picture. Students in the march agree with the Support Statement of the Mothers and Others Clean Energy Walk.   There will be ten minutes of marching instructions and a welcome before leaving for the march to Veterans Park.
In a statement issued by Mothers & Others members, Sara Bonnette, Lynn Derck, Murry DeSanto, Gareth dHaillecourt, Jackie Doig, Jean Engelhardt, Barbara Handley-Miller, Andrea Harman, Kathy Kinkema, Kathy Light and dozens of others, the group laid out their position:
“Every week television brings us images of glaciers melting, devastating floods in some areas and creeping drought in others. Month after month scientists present more and more evidence that climate disruption is accelerated by human activity. The major cause of this disruption of climate patterns is the elevated level of CO2 in our air (which comes from burning fossil fuels).
Our atmosphere has risen from a ten thousand year average of 275ppm of CO2 to about 390ppm in the last 200 years and the emerging scientific consensus is that the existing biosphere can only be sustained near or below 350ppm.
However, our government seems unable to do anything about our energy use except continue to support the burning of coal for electricity and the burning of oil for transportation. There is much talk about renewable sources of energy, but if the Federal Budget (or the number of pro coal and pro oil lobbyists) is closely examined it is clear that the fossil fuel burning status quo will continue to get even greater subsidies and to control most of the tax dollars that are spent for energy and energy research. This will not change until citizens demand it.
As mothers we are concerned for our children’s futures.
The failure of our government to have a rational energy policy based on science requires us to tell our governmental leaders to “Promote Clean Renewable Energy” and “Stop the Burning of Fossil Fuels” as forcefully as we can. Federal policy must commit to reducing CO2 to 350 parts per million. To that end we are holding our Mothers and Others Walk for Clean
Energy on Saturday May 14, 2011.”
The 350 Spring Festival Picture will take place at High Noon at Veterans Memorial Park.  According to the Lone Tree Council position statement:
“Setting a price on carbon (to set the stage for stopping the burning of fossil fuels) is the most important environmental goal we can have – and it gets little real consideration in the halls of Congress. Grassroots action is needed to build a large movement to support major conservation, wind, solar and geothermal energy initiatives. By stopping the subsidies for coal and oil we make a great start, so that money can be made available to develop and deploy renewable energy sources and to make energy conservation a major priority.”
“On the Saturday after Mothers Day we will gather at Noon, join with the people of the Mothers and Others Walk for Clean Energy, and the Students March for Clean Energy, for a picture of all those who want clean energy, oppose the burning of fossil fuels and who support a sane energy policy. Join us just north of Veterans Bridge – bring your family, bring your friends. Help us get on the right energy course.”
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