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UpstreamOnline: Congress goes after Big Five

By Upstream staff

A US congressional committee today asked the leaders of the world’s five biggest publicly traded oil companies to testify at a hearing in early April on why the companies still need federal tax breaks while earning huge profits off record oil prices.

The House Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming sent letters on the 1 April hearing to supermajors ExxonMobil, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, and the US units of UK-based BP and Anglo-Dutch giant Shell.

“The American people deserve answers from Big Oil,” said Democratic Representative Edward Markey of Massachusetts, who chairs the House committee.

“The top five oil companies made record profits last year, and yet are continuing to hold on to tax breaks that could be used to advance the clean fuels of the future. Americans are not going to find the answers at the bottom of a gas tank, so we will seek to bring the CEOs of these companies to Congress and to the American people,” Markey said.

The White House and the American Petroleum Institute trade group oppose a House-passed bill that must still be voted on in the Senate to repeal about $18 billion in tax breaks for big oil companies to help pay for the development of alternative energy sources like solar and wind power.

“It’s time for these top oil company CEOs to look Americans in the face and tell them why they can’t support new solutions,” Markey said, Reuters reported.

A committee spokesman said the House panel had the authority to subpoena the company officials to testify if they refused to appear before the committee.

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12 March 2008 00:04 GMT  | last updated: 12 March 2008 00:04 GMT

http://www.upstreamonline.com/live/article150443.ece

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