FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 10, 2022
Contact: Jennifer K. Falcon, Indigenous Environmental Network, Fossil Free Media, jennifer@ienearth.
Cassidy DiPaola, firstname.lastname@example.org
TODAY: Congress Introduces Windfall Profit Tax on Big Oil; Stop Big Oil War Profiteering and Use Revenue to Help Families and Consumers
Sen. Whitehouse and Rep. Khanna introduce a bill to put windfall profits tax on Big Oil and use the profits to send a check to every American
Washington, D.C. – Today, Senators Sheldon Whitehouse, Jeff Merkley, Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, Tammy Baldwin, Sherrod Brown, Ed Markey, Cory Booker, Bob Casey, Jack Reed, Michael Bennet and Richard Blumenthal and Representative Ro Khanna introduced new legislation that would levy a tax on the massive windfall profits made by fossil fuel companies because of the war in Ukraine.
In 2021 alone, Exxon Mobil, Shell, BP, and Chevron made a combined $75 billion in profits and they’re currently raking in billions more. New data released today by Friends of the Earth and BailoutWatch shows that Big Oil CEOs have sold millions of dollars worth of shares, profiting a combined total of almost $99 million, in the weeks since President Biden said that he was certain Russia would invade Ukraine. Instead of using those profits to provide a stable supply of oil and gas or invest in climate solutions, Big Oil has spent a near record amount on billions of dollars worth of stock buybacks designed to enrich wealthy shareholders and their CEOs.
The proposed windfall tax legislation would tax the excess profit from barrels sold over the average Brent crude price between 2015-2019, roughly $66 a barrel. It’s estimated this could raise around $35-40 billion a year that would be directly sent to consumers in the form of relief checks to help ease the burden of high fossil fuel prices.
Below are statements from leading climate, social justice, and environmental organizations:
“We applaud Senator Whitehouse and Representative Khanna for their leadership in putting a stop to Big Oil’s profiteering at the expense of ordinary Americans” said Zorka Milin, Senior Advisor at Global Witness. “As the US’ biggest fossil fuel companies report near-record profits and seek to exploit the war in Ukraine for political and economic gain, America is getting a wake-up call to end its reliance on volatile and destructive fossil fuels.”
“As the former Director of Oil and Gas for the State of Alaska, I can assure you that the oil and gas industry must be forced to pay for the transition away from fossil fuels,” said Kay Brown, Arctic Policy Director for Pacific Environment. “The federal government must manage the energy transition if we are to solve the climate crisis and stop the industry from price gouging American families – and that should include a windfall profits tax that captures Americans’ fair share of revenues to scale clean energy and weather the climate storms to come.”
“All-American oil oligarchs are profiteering off the war in Ukraine while sacrificing our communities and climate,” said Lukas Ross, Program Manager at Friends of the Earth. “The windfall profits tax will require Big Oil to pay their fair share while putting billions of dollars back into the pockets of taxpayers.”
“During the 2021 Winter Storm, the fossil fuel companies gouged Texans while people froze and died, now they are at it again during the war in Ukraine. They should not profit off of human misery! Windfall profits should aid people who are in need and fund new investments in an economy that weans us off of fossil fuels into a brighter, healthier future of reliable, stable clean energy. Three cheers for this legislation!” said Robin Schneider, Executive Director, Texas Campaign for the Environment
“The oil and gas industry got the world into this mess by lobbying and lying to keep us hooked on fossil fuels. Now they’re using the war in Ukraine to distract us from the fact that they are ripping off hard working Americans with high gas prices as they reap record earnings” said Richard Wiles, president of the Center for Climate Integrity. “It’s time we stop allowing Big Oil to use its record profits, earned on the backs of hard working American families, to reward wealthy shareholders and CEOs, and instead make them pay a fair share to lower the cost for consumers.”
“Reimagining our Biosphere void of environmental violence will take brave spaces and restorative justice with the love and respect our future generations deserve,” said Renée Millard-Chacon, Co Founder/Executive Director of Womxn from the Mountain, EJ Action Taskforce CDPHE
“Fossil fuel cartels right here in the United States have been profiting off of calamities they’ve engendered with impunity for too long. Environmental justice communities from the Gulf South to our Indigenous family in Alaska continue to be inured, dehumanized, and sacrificed by this industry in the same way innocent Ukranians are right now by a slicked up war over gas, oil and petroleum,” offered Anthony Karefa Rogers-Wright, Director of Environmental Justice with New York Lawyers for the Public Interest. “The Windfall Profits Tax is a key weapon to instigate Big Oil’s Waterloo and stop them from using the crisis in Europe to generate more blood money, while also ensuring EJ communities hit first and worst, and suffering from the highest energy burdens are given relief and retribution. We’re flipping the script – instead of paying the pipers, we’re finally going to make the pipers pay.”
“Oil companies have been making record profits off of cascading crises that they are openly exploiting to gouge the public. This windfall tax bill will put that money back into the pockets of hard-working consumers. This is much-needed legislation that will begin to curb the profiteering that has helped drive steep price increases that are crushing American families,” said Mitch Jones, Managing Director of Advocacy Programs and Policy, Food & Water Watch
“Silicon Valley applauds our own Representative Ro Khanna for sponsoring a windfall profits tax on oil companies’ exploitative gains made at the expense of our future on this planet. Only the oil companies have the resources needed for adaptation, mitigation, and eventual reversal of ongoing harms to health, communities, and the environment. This tax is an essential first step along the long and painful road to recovery from the ravages of the fossil fuel economy,” said Janet Cox, Legislation/Policy Director, 350 Silicon Valley
“This legislation will stop Big Oil’s war profiteering and deliver much-needed relief to consumers,” said Jamie Henn, Fossil Free Media director. “While families are feeling pain at the pump, oil executives are making record profits because of the devastating war in Ukraine. Big Oil doesn’t deserve a single penny extra by profiting during a time of war and crisis they helped create – instead, these windfall profits for a handful of executives should be used to help the consumers, especially low-income families, who are paying all the costs. We are glad to see Congress putting families first – now it’s time for Congress to pass this legislation that would help make Big Oil pay for a crisis they helped create at home and abroad.”
“When it comes to Big Oil, our pain is their gain. This vital legislation exposes the fossil fuel industry’s inherent greed problem and begins to make sure our government is working for the people, not the polluters,” said Carla Skandier, Climate Program Manager, The Democracy Collaborative.