WASHINGTON, DC, Wednesday, June 9, 2010 -- U.S. Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL) today co-sponsored an amendment by Sen. David Vitter (R-LA) to the tax extenders legislation currently under debate on the Senate floor. The amendment would prevent additional revenue collected for the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund (OSLTF) from being used to offset other unrelated spending in the underlying bill.
“Over 12,000 barrels of oil pour into the Gulf each day. Instead of funding the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund, Democrats want to use tax increases to fund their political priorities,” said Shelby. “It is cynical and reckless, especially during this time of crisis and hardship in the Gulf, for Democrats to pretend that they are holding the line on spending when they are actually raiding oil spill recovery funding. I am pleased to join my Gulf Coast colleague, Sen. Vitter, in offering this amendment, which will ensure that any additional money generated for the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund is available for the intended purposes – oil recovery and response efforts.”
The primary revenue source for the OSLTF is an 8 cents per barrel tax on oil produced in or imported to the U.S. Under current law, the fund can be used to pay for the removal of spilled oil, restore injured natural resources, reimburse private parties for damages, pay for federal administrative and operating costs related to the clean-up, and compensate for lost government revenue.
The Democrats’ tax extenders legislation proposes raising the per barrel tax to 41 cents, which would generate an estimated $15 billion in revenue over the next ten years. Instead of being available for oil spill cleanups as set out in the program, however, the increased revenue to the OSLTF is counted as an offset to other spending programs contained in the bill. None of the raised revenue is designated for actual oil spill cleanup.
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