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Last week, we tried something new: a citizen-powered survey to get Congress on the record about fossil fuel subsidies.
On Wednesday, I put out the call to the 350.org network, asking folks accross the country to call their Members of Congress and get them on the record. The response was huge. Over the course of 48 hours, hundreds of people flooded the switchboards of Senators and Representatives to ask this one crucial question: Do you support ending all fossil fuel subsidies — for oil, coal, and natural gas — which will total $113 billion over the next decade?
But here’s the thing: we don’t yet have all House and Senate members on the record. We need to pin them down on this so we can escalate this campaign to the next phase: a surround-sound pressure campaign to really make our politicians feel the heat.
Some people who called reported wishy-washy answers — politicians are notoriously talented at glossing over their positions — but some of you got some clear statements:
- A staffer from Sen. Webb (D-VA) said that he supports removing all fossil fuel subsidies because “subsidies choose winners and losers.”
- Rep. Welch’s (D-VT) office sent this message: “Taxpayer support for mature, profitable industries makes no sense, particularly when we should be investing in the energy efficiency and clean energy sectors.”
- An aide to Sen. Coburn (R-OK) stated that, “Sen. Coburn supports removing all energy subsidies.”
You can see more of those statements, and get your elected officials on the record by visiting www.endfossilfuelsubsidies.org/scoreboard
People in DC tend to be pretty good at dodging questions, especially when the answers are tough to defend. But Congress needs to get in line with popular sentiment — over 70% of Americans support ending fossil fuel subsidies. What’s more, ending these subsidies would have huge benefits for our planet, slowing the output of climate pollution and setting the stage for a massive scale-out of clean energy.
Corporate polluters have hundreds of lobbyists and huge ad budgets. We know we’ll never be able to match them with money, so we’ll have to rely on grassroots people power instead — which means we all need to speak up to make our voices heard. Please make a call today.
Jamie Henn and the 350.org team