When President Bush told the nation that Americans were “addicted” to oil, I had to agree. But then I started to think about what I had just heard and asked myself, what has this Administration done to “cure” the addiction? I have learned subsequently that the federal government is on the verge of one of the biggest giveaways of oil and gas in American history, worth an estimated $7 billion over five years. New projections, buried in the Interior Department’s budget plan, anticipate that the government will let the oil companies pump about $65 billion worth of oil and natural gas from federal territory over the next five years without paying any royalties to the government.
Based on the Administration’s own numbers, the government will give up more than $7 billion in payments between now and 2011. The companies are expected to get the largesse, known as royalty relief, even though the Administration assumes that oil prices will remain above $50 a barrel throughout that period. Thanks to the Bush Administration, oil companies will be able to take this windfall profit and not even have to lower gas prices. While the oil companies are getting billions in relief, American consumers and small business owners are paying exorbitant prices for oil and gas and literally are paying through the nose!
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