**Update: Our friend Tom Kenworthy from the Center for American Progress breaks down the economic facts behind drilling over at The Wonk Room. The question remains: Will Lamborn, Hastings and their colleagues finally work to end government welfare for fossil fuels?**
On Monday, March 28, a group of 15 residents of the Colorado Springs area visited Representative Doug Lamborn’s district office and ask him to sign a pledge to no longer vote for billions of dollars taxpayer-funded subsidies to the oil and gas industry. The group made their request in the wake of Lamborn’s bill to de-fund National Public Radio (NPR), specifically remarks he made in support of this bill that, “It is time for American citizens to stop funding an organization that can stand on its own feet.”
The group of El Paso County residents asked Rep. Lamborn, Chairman of the Energy and Mineral Resources Subcommittee, to sign, “Stand on Your Own Feet Pledge.” The pledge’s text states that signers will vote against renewing or creating any government subsidies to the oil, gas and nuclear energy industries. Lamborn received national attention in March when he sponsored a bill in the US House of Representatives to de-fund NPR.
Paul Carestia, the group’s spokesman, cited $97 billion in tax dollars that will be given to fossil fuel and nuclear companies. That number was taken from Taxpayers for Common Sense’s 2010 “Green Scissors” report and is “based on projected subsidies for the oil and gas, coal, and nuclear industries from 2011 through 2015.”
“Rep. Lamborn summed it up,” said Carestia. “The top five oil and gas companies reported profits of $77 billion last year. Meanwhile, $97 billion tax dollars*, our tax dollars, are wrapped up in a nice bow and given to the CEOs of oil, gas, coal and nuclear corporations. If Mr. Lamborn is so determined to cut wasteful, federal spending, he should pledge to end this billion dollar welfare to polluting industries that are making billions in profits.”
“We’re tired of hearing Rep. Lamborn and his colleagues talk about the need to cut federal spending from one side of their faces and then turn around and say that oil, gas and nuke CEO’s need tax breaks and subsidies from the other side,” said Kirby Hughes, a Colorado Springs area businessman. “They’re writing checks to their campaign donors and using our tax dollars to do it.”
According to opensecrets.org, Lamborn has received $107,462 in campaign contributions from the oil and gas industry over the course of his congressional career.
The group has not received a reply from Lamborn’s office. According to the Colorado Springs Gazette, Lamborn’s office released a statement saying simply, “Congressman Lamborn appreciates and considers the views of all his constituents. He respects the right of citizens to peaceably assemble and express those views.”