Lincoln: Oil Companies Don't Need Tax Breaks

LITTLE ROCK, AR - Senator Blanche Lincoln says that the oil industry doesn't need the billions of dollars in tax breaks it receives from the federal government.  Instead, Lincoln advocates expanding development of the nation's renewable fuels.

Lincoln says a House bill eliminating the tax breaks could spark new investment in renewable fuels like ethanol, used widely in Brazil.  She said that could help wean the U.S. off of foreign oil and could create jobs.

The House bill was passed in a 235-181 vote yesterday.  It requires automakers to increase the fuel economy of cars and small trucks, including SUVs, by 40 percent to an industry average of 35 miles per gallon by 2020.  The bill also requires electric utilities to produce 15 percent of their power from renewable energy, adds tax incentives for hybrid cars and mandates an increase in ethanol fuel use.

Arkansas Congressman John Boozman voted against the measure, saying the 15 percent requirement would increase the costs for energy companies that would be passed to customers.

Lincoln says the Senate would weigh and vote on the House bill this weekend before likely sending it on to President Bush.  However, the bill faces a certain filibuster in the Senate and a veto threat from the White House.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)