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The only thing deeper than those deep-water oil rigs out in the Gulf of Mexico is the depth of greed in the executive suites of the oil giants.
Using a little-known provision put into law by the Clintonites a decade ago, such global outfits as Shell, BP, and Chevron are claiming that they can pump oil and gas from these publicly-owned waters without paying a dime in royalties they otherwise would owe to us. This is the largest giveaway of the public’s oil and gas in American history – at a time when gasoline is at record-high prices and oil companies need trains to take their ill-gotten profits to the bank.
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In 1996, crude oil prices were down at $10 a barrel, and the corporations ran to Washington crying that they needed “royalty relief” as an incentive to drill the deep wells in the federal waters of the gulf. Clinton and the congress complied, eventually waiving all royalties owed to We the People for Gulf drilling leases awarded in ’98 and ’99. At today’s prices – with oil soaring to $70 a barrel – the companies expect to extract $65 billion worth of oil and gas from those leases in the next five years, giving them a fabulous profit on these wells. Yet, despite the jack-up in oil prices and the windfall profits they’re wallowing in, the corporations still claim that they deserve full “royalty relief,” costing our treasury $7 billion.
You might assume that the Bushites are doing nothing about oil company greed – but you’d be wrong, for they’re fighting hard in congress… to feed the greed! Last fall, the senate passed a one-year, $5 billion windfall profits tax on the oil giants. Bush is bluntly promising to veto the entire tax bill to kill the oil provision.
This is Jim Hightower saying… At the same time, Bush & Company meekly say they have no power to prevent the oil company’s royalty robbery. They’re tigers when fighting for Big Oil, but weasels when it’s time to fight for the people.
“U.S. Royalty Plan To Give Oil Companies,” New York Times, February, 14, 2006.