Energy Subsidies: Part III

We have seen that subsidies apply to the oil and gas industries in the form of tax breaks. Are there any other subsidies that apply to the fossil fuel industries?

An additional type of subsidy is an excise tax that benefits a particular industry. One such tax is “The Black Lung Disability Trust Fund.” This fund pays the health benefits of coal miners afflicted by black lung…this is collected in a tax on the users of coal…and by default, allows coal companies to keep their profits rather than pay for the care of their workers. This hardly represents a free market effort. It does represent a subsidy in that the users of coal are paying for the care of the miners, not the coal companies.

Coal Mine

Finally, a subsidy can be a low interest loan, or an outright grant of money, property or the right to use public lands. This applies to leases of federal lands below market rates for oil/gas leases. Did you know that we generally lease our public trust at far below market rates to the oil and gas industries?

So to date, we have seen that there are many subsidies that support the fossil fuel industry. I think that it is rather telling that we call them fossil fuels…don’t you?

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