Michigan legislators still behind the curve

Sep 26, 2012 by

A while back we linked to the disturbing story explaining how dilbit is exempt from the federal tax that helps fund the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund– the fund used to cover cleanup costs of oil spills like the one in Marshall in 2010. What that means is that Enbridge did not pay taxes on all that bitumen they dumped into Talmadge Creek. Yet they nevertheless drew money–more than $40 million– from the Trust Fund to help pay for the cleanup (they are supposed to pay it back).

But just this week came news of proposed legislation that would close the dilbit exemption (and more). The Tar Sands Tax Loophole Elimination Act, introduced by three Democrats, Ed Markey of Massachusetts, Earl Blumenauer of Oregon, and Bill Pascrell Jr. of New Jersey, would ensure that tar sands is taxed just like other forms of “crude oil.”

This is potentially good news, of course. But we can’t help notice one little thing: none of the sponsors of this bill are from Michigan. Why, for instance, couldn’t Rep. Fred Upton, who represents the Kalamazoo area, have proposed this kind of legislation? For that matter, why hasn’t Fred Upton proposed any sort of legislation following Marshall and the NTSB findings about Marshall? We also can’t help but wonder whether our own Congressman, Rep. Mike Rogers, will support this proposed legislation. What about your U.S. reps? We recommend that you let them know, forcefully, that support of this bill is the very least they can do. Heaven knows they haven’t done much of anything up to this point.

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