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Politics & Government

PA's Fossil Fuels Industry Gets Billions in Taxpayer Subsidies, PennFuture Report Shows

A new report from environmental advocacy group PennFuture says that in Pennsylvania alone, $3.25 billion went to subsidize the fossil fuels industry in the 2012-2013 fiscal year. The report breaks down that that comes to $794 per taxpayer.  

Much of that subsists of tax subsidies to energy industries, such as shale gas development and legacy costs of oil, gas and coal.

The report cannot account for all subsidies, for example, remediation of the impacts of fossil fuel extraction such as brownfield remediation. But it can account for extraction and production, processing, transportation and end use.

Rob Altenburg, director of PennFuture Energy Center, said the report marks a clear absence of support for renewable energy industries such as solar and wind.

“This is money that can’t be used for other budget priorities or used to invest in our future," he said. "Such spending distorts our energy markets and makes it harder for alternatives like clean renewable energy and energy efficiency to compete."

Evan Endres, program manager for PennFuture Energy Center, said these subsidies don’t allow the renewable energy industries to grow.

“Renewable energy thrives when smart policy signals encourage healthy market growth to create a level-playing field instead of one distorted in favor of fossil fuels,” he said.

This report is an update on a report issued in 2012, which found that the fossil fuel industry in the state received $2.9 billion in subsidies.