WASHINGTON – Today, Republicans, backed by ExxonMobil and the Koch brothers, forced a deal that will lift the crude oil export ban as part of the Omnibus Appropriations Package.
With the understanding that Republicans would not have the votes in a straight up or down vote, the measure was attached to the must-pass omnibus package.
Democrats, despite being in the minority, extracted a high price as part of the deal, including a five-year extension of the Investment Tax Credit (ITC) for solar energy projects, a five-year extension of the Production Tax Credit (PTC) for wind energy projects, a three-year extension of the Land and Water Conservation Fund, and the removal of hundreds of disastrous environmental riders. Proposed poison pills that were thwarted include: repeals of public health standards for our water and air, blocking the implementation of the Clean Power Plan, deregulation of fracking on public lands, increased logging in our National Forests, delisting wolves from the Endangered Species Act, and a road through the Izembek National Wildlife Refuge.
In response, Sierra Club Executive Director Michael Brune released the following statement:
“It’s outrageous that Republicans would hold hostage longstanding, bipartisan legislation like the Land and Water Conservation fund, as well as job creating clean energy tax credits, just to get a win on profits for their friends and donors the Koch brothers, ExxonMobil, and Big Oil.
“By lifting the crude oil export ban, Congressional Republicans are opting to export American jobs, escalate fossil fuel development, rip up iconic American landscapes to extract more oil, and increase climate disrupting carbon emissions.
“Rather than keeping pace with the entire world, which just agreed in Paris on an historic, universal climate accord that will help prevent the worst effects of climate disruption, Congressional Republicans showed where their allegiances lie by doubling-down on 19th century dirty fuels.
“Despite the lifting of the crude oil export ban, Democrats secured positive measures to protect our climate and America’s working families, as well as prevent destructive, poison pill riders designed to undo essential policies which protect clean air, clean water, public health and our climate. By securing long term extensions of wind and solar energy tax credits, as well as an extension the Land and Water Conservation Fund, Democrats helped bolster one of the fastest growing job markets in the country while also guaranteeing that our parks and public lands will continue to grow.”