Closing loopholes: Remove oil, gas subsidies


Oil and gas companies are probably feeling they've lost their best friend. And they're right.

Their most dependable ally used to live at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, D.C., but he's gone home to Texas, and it's become a much less friendly place for extractive industries.

…In his budget proposal, President Barack Obama rightly wants to close $31.5 billion worth of what he calls "unjustified tax loopholes" for the industry over the coming decade. That would go a long way toward putting development of clean energy sources on a level playing field with oil and gas and help the country wean itself from dependence on fossil fuels and reduce emissions of greenhouse gases, the primary cause of global warming.

…Obama would also charge user fees for processing drilling permits and force companies to "diligently" develop existing leases on public lands or risk losing them. There are thousands of leases on Western lands sitting idle, yet more are sold every year.