Re: Oppose the Senate Republican leadership’s tax plan that stacks the deck for Big Polluters and other wealthy interests

November 30, 2017

United States Senate
Washington, DC 20510

Re: Oppose the Senate Republican leadership’s tax plan that stacks the deck for Big Polluters and other wealthy interests

Dear Senator:

The League of Conservation Voters (LCV) works to turn environmental values into national priorities. Each year, LCV publishes the National Environmental Scorecard, which details the voting records of members of Congress on environmental legislation. The Scorecard is distributed to LCV members, concerned voters nationwide, and the media.

LCV urges you to vote NO on the Senate GOP leadership’s tax plan that would deliver a massive tax cut for millionaires, billionaires, and huge corporations, raise taxes on the middle class, and harm communities nationwide by likely resulting in cuts to safeguards for our air, water, lands, and wildlife. The bill’s tax provisions put our clean energy future at risk. And if this tax legislation itself weren’t harmful enough, Republican leaders have packaged it with a legislative rider that would turn the pristine and sacred Arctic National Wildlife Refuge into an oil field.

This legislation directs most of its tax breaks to the wealthy and large corporations, causing a deficit of at least $1.5 trillion. Those deficit-producing tax cuts are destined to be paid for by cuts to services that everyday people rely on: from healthcare to education to environmental protections. This plan could result in harm to people’s health by depriving the Environmental Protection Agency of funds to protect the air we breathe and the water we drink, and it could jeopardize America’s thriving outdoor recreation economy by forcing cuts to the national parks and other public lands stewarded by the Department of the Interior.

The bill takes us in the wrong direction on energy policy, leaving in place many tax breaks for polluting forms of energy like oil and coal while doing nothing to further incentivize cleaner forms of energy that we need for a healthy and sustainable future. Oil companies even receive a new billion dollar handout. By contrast, the vast majority of clean energy incentives remain slated to expire, but instead of also sunsetting the billions of dollars of existing fossil fuel subsidies, only the smallest incentives for fossil fuels are eliminated. In short, the bill has its priorities backward on energy policy.

If all of that weren’t bad enough, this tax bill is being packaged with unrelated legislation opening up the iconic Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to drilling. This legislation would do irreparable damage to one of America’s most magnificent and wildest landscapes that is home to polar and brown bears, muskoxen, and birds that migrate from all 50 states and 6 continents. The indigenous Gwich’in people call the Arctic Refuge’s coastal plain “the sacred place where life begins,” reflecting the importance to them of the Porcupine Caribou Herd, which calves in the area and which they rely on for subsistence food and their spiritual needs. This provision is being included in an attempt to generate $1 billion in government revenue to somehow justify the more than $1.5 trillion in tax cuts for the wealthy, but multiple analyses show that it is unlikely to raise anywhere close to even that miniscule amount. In short, handing the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to Big Oil in this tax package is fiscally and environmentally irresponsible.

For these reasons, LCV urges you to oppose the Senate GOP leadership’s tax plan. We will strongly consider including votes on this legislation in the 2017 Scorecard. If you need more information, please call my office at (202) 785-8683 and ask to speak with a member of our government relations team.

Sincerely,

Gene Karpinski
President

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