“We have subsidized oil companies for a century,” President Obama said Tuesday night in his State of the Union address. “That’s long enough. It’s time to end the taxpayer giveaways to an industry that’s rarely been more profitable, and double-down on a clean energy industry that’s never been more promising.”
Hours before the president addressed the nation from the House chamber, activists delivered a similar message at a protest outside the U.S. Capitol. Dressed as referees, they (literally) blew the whistle on Big Oil’s “foul play” and undue influence on the political process.
“One of the absurdities that goes on right here in Washington, DC is that Congress keeps voting not for the interests of our children, not for the interests of the future, but for the profits of the huge oil/coal companies,” said Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), who pledged to introduce legislation repealing Big Oil and Coal’s billions in subsidies.
Head referee Bill McKibben, founder of 350.org, threw the yellow flag on the fossil fuel industry “not for pass interference, but for interference with our democracy,” he said.
In a message the president seemed to hear, McKibben urged Obama to tell the American people that Big Oil subsidies must end “if for no other reason than you may have noticed we have one or two other things we need the money for in this country.”