Washington Post: Trump's Tax Reform Is Bad News for the Climate
When President Trump made a speech a few weeks ago to kick off his push for an overhaul of the tax code, he chose a telling backdrop: An oil refinery in North Dakota, a state that over the last decade exploded from backwater to boom town thanks to a massive spike in oil production.
“I want all of America to be inspired by what’s happened in North Dakota and the North Dakota example,” Trump said. Standing with him at the podium was Harold Hamm, the North Dakota oil billionaire who has helped shape Trump's views on energy. So when Trump said he wanted to “restore America’s competitive edge by passing tax cuts,” he seemed to have at least one particular industry in mind: oil.
When the Republican tax plan came out last week, it was short on details, leaving much of the nitty-gritty for Congress to hash out. It limits some benefits that oil companies traditionally rely on, like deductions for interest payments that make it easier to raise money for expensive infrastructure like pipelines.
But the oil industry is still calling it a win, citing proposals that would make it easier for oil companies to recover their investments in exploration and to shield profits earned from drilling overseas, in addition to lowering the corporate tax rate to 20 percent.
The oil and gas producers lobby group, Independent Petroleum Association of America, called it a “positive step forward,” while the American Petroleum Institute said the reforms would “strengthen the U.S. energy renaissance.”
The tax blueprint also expands Trump’s reversal of Obama-era climate measures. In 2009, Obama joined other G20 leaders in a pledge to eventually phase out fossil fuel subsidies.
The GOP tax plan gives little indication of keeping that commitment -- and that could have significant implications for U.S. oil production and the climate.