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OPINION: Time for Heller to put Nevada before oil company profits



Big Oil continues to solidify its position as the most profitable companies in the history of the world while politicians, including Nevada’s Senator Dean Heller, send billions in taxpayer dollars to the industry.

Exxon Mobil announced this week that it made more than $41 billion in profits last year, a hefty 35 percent increase over the previous year, even as oil production actually fell. The company paid a lower tax rate than the average American family, in part because of billions in tax breaks and subsidies to the industry. Last year, American taxpayers paid the industry $4 billion in subsidies.

Scot Rutledge, executive director of the Nevada Conservation League, pointed out that those subsidies go to an industry that has relatively few employees in Nevada.

“If Senator Heller and Congress want to support Nevada and our country, they should direct those billions in subsidies to renewable energy,” he said Friday. “Nevada has ample wind, solar and geothermal resources that could provide energy for millions and do not pollute the air and water.”

Rutledge noted that Heller, who has consistently voted to preserve tax breaks for the industry, has received more than $156,000 in campaign contributions from the industry.

“It is time for Senator Heller to put Nevada first, not the oil companies,” Rutledge concluded.

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