Stop Oil Companies from Using Oil Spill Cleanup Costs as Tax Write-Offs

Target: The United States Congress

Goal: Restrict oil companies from writing off oil spill cleanup costs.

Representative Alcee Hastings (D-FL) recently introduced an important bill that would prohibit oil companies from writing off the cost of oil spill cleanup. Under current laws, oil companies can pass much of their cleanup costs to the American Treasury, which impacts taxpayers. BP and any other oil company that operates recklessly should assume full responsibility for their actions.

BP’s estimated cleanup and settlement costs for the Deepwater Horizon spill total $32 billion, resulting in a $10 billion tax write-off. The IRS defines a business expense as one that is both ordinary and necessary to a company. Currently, companies like BP can use tax loopholes to pass off cleanup costs as ordinary business expenses. The Joint Committee on Taxation estimates that closing these loopholes will save taxpayers $1.3 billion.

News about Representative Hastings’ bill came on the same day as Exxon-Mobil announced a staggering profit of $41.1 billion, a 35 percent increase over the previous year. Other oil companies reported significant gains in profit as well. It is disgusting that these hugely profitable companies can pass along some of their cleanup costs to taxpayers, especially in a struggling economy.

Offshore drilling is unsafe and poses a serious threat to our environment. Oil companies should not be rewarded for mistakes made when prioritizing profits over people. Please urge Congress to end tax write-offs for oil companies’ cleanup costs.


Dear Members of the United States Congress,

Under current law, oil companies can use their cleanup costs from oil spills as tax write-offs. These companies should have to assume full responsibility for their actions and not pass along costs to the American taxpayer.

BP’s estimated cleanup and settlement costs for the Deepwater Horizon spill total $32 billion, resulting in a $10 billion tax write-off. Oil spill cleanups are not ordinary business expenses, and therefore should not be permitted as tax write-offs.

Oil companies are posting staggering profits, thus have no problem affording to pay for their mistakes. Closing these loopholes may save taxpayers $1.3 billion, a vital amount in a struggling economy.

Offshore drilling is dangerous and harmful to the environment. It is time to stop subsidizing oil companies that make harmful decisions and turn the focus to renewable energy sources. Please close the loophole that allows oil companies to write off the cost of their reckless mistakes.


[Your Name Here]

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  1. Cleanup costs should only be a down payment towards fines for the damage to our planet. If corporations were “people,” they wouldn’t be able to buy their way out of jail, much less get a tax break.

  2. Cut off all subsidies to oil companies that don’t make prompt effort to clean up their messes, as well as fining them for the spill in the first place. The only way they avoid the criminal charge is to clean up their mess immediately on occurrence and/or use minimal or no spill equipment to begin with. Exxon and BP – BUSTED! Shell should be on notice…

  3. Robert Pound says:

    Making the taxpayers pick up the tab on oil spills thru ‘tax deductions’ is bullshit!!!!! FINE THEM BIG TIME!!!! Cut off subsidies, force prosecutions for willful neglect!!

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