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Honolulu Advertiser: Senate should clear green-energy package

Posted on: Friday, February 29, 2008

The U.S. House took a bold step this week to change America’s oil-dependent course toward the more sensible path of renewable energy.

Lawmakers voted to eliminate lucrative tax breaks for big oil companies and use that savings for extending smart tax credits and incentives to encourage energy production from renewable sources.

The tax credits for new wind farms and other facilities generating power from renewable sources would be extended through 2011. It would also extend the 30 percent tax credit that companies can claim for investments in solar products and fuel cells that convert fuel into electrical energy without combustion, minimizing pollutants.

To pay for it, the bill would eliminate tax breaks for the five biggest oil companies — Exxon Mobil Corp., Chevron, ConocoPhillips, Royal Dutch Shell and BP — and would generate $13 billion. The current 6 percent deduction for smaller oil and gas companies would be frozen.

The bill faces an uphill battle in the Senate; already, President Bush is promising a veto, saying the bill unfairly targets the oil industry. Opponents argue that the bill would push gas prices even higher.

Please. “Last year, Exxon Mobil earned $40.6 billion in profits, the largest corporate profit in American history,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told The New York Times.

And the existing tax breaks haven’t kept prices at the pump from more than doubling since 2000.

Consumers are now opting to take public transportation and turning to energy-efficient hybrid vehicles. That’s a start.

Now it’s up to the Senate to join House lawmakers in passing smart incentives that at last sets the right course for our energy future.

http://www.honoluluadvertiser.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2008802290323

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