Dirty-energy tax breaks total over $8.5 billion in energy bill

Highly profitable dirty-power industries may be treated to even fatter bottom lines thanks to the energy bill that emerged this week from congressional conference committee. It would dedicate more than $8.5 billion in tax breaks over the next 10 years to oil, natural gas, coal, nuclear power, and electric utilities. Nukes alone would get $1.5 billion in direct subsidies, $2 billion in “risk insurance,” and loan guarantees for future new reactor construction. Says a nuke industry spokesflack, “This is a great bill.” After the bill was out of committee, Rep. Tom DeLay (R-Texas) snuck in another lump o’ pork: a $1.5 billion fund designed to funnel taxpayer money to oil and gas companies, with some $1 billion of the fund to be administered by a private consortium composed largely of — you guessed it — oil and gas companies. Coincidentally (ahem), the likely consortium is based in DeLay’s home district in Sugar Land, Texas. As for solar and wind power, plus conservation and efficiency initiatives, over the next 10 years they’d collectively see about $4.3 billion in tax breaks.