A new investigation by the Guardian, highlighting the large campaign contributions given by fossil fuel corporations to lawmakers who then back public subsidies for those same companies, has led presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) to describe the arrangement—especially in light of the dangers posed by runaway climate change—with one word: absurd.
In their examination of three specific fossil fuel projects run by Shell, ExxonMobil, and Marathon Petroleum—all of which received public funding—the Guardian reveals that, in each case, “the subsidies were all granted by politicians who received significant campaign contributions from the fossil fuel industry.”
According to the Guardian, the investigation found:
- A proposed Shell petrochemical refinery in Pennsylvania is in line for $1.6bn (£1bn) in state subsidy, according to a deal struck in 2012 when the company made an annual profit of $26.8bn.
- ExxonMobil’s upgrades to its Baton Rouge refinery in Louisiana are benefiting from $119m of state subsidy, with the support starting in 2011, when the company made a $41bn profit.
- A jobs subsidy scheme worth $78m to Marathon Petroleum in Ohio began in 2011, when the company made $2.4bn in profit.