Image: Power Up AmericaCross-posted from the Center for American Progress.
The Occupy Wall Street protests are focusing Americans’ attention on the fact that power is increasingly consolidated into the hands of very few individuals and corporations. This is especially true in the energy sector. Two weeks ago, the country’s five largest oil companies — BP, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, ExxonMobil, and Royal Dutch Shell — released their third-quarter profits and once again revealed that high gas prices are bad for consumers but great for Big Oil, which pulled in a staggering $101 billion in profits during the first nine months of 2011.
Today Washington politicians publicly bicker over renewable energy credit programs that will only cost taxpayers $2.5 billion while the oil-and-gas industry quietly pulls in $7 billion in annual subsidies. But even that is not enough for Big Oil. These companies are now lobbying hard for even more federal government support, for even more of the public’s waters and lands to be opened up for drilling rigs or pipelines, and for even fewer health and safety standards to govern those projects.
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