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Big Oil's money gusher
Key Excerpts from Article on Website of San Francisco Chronicle (San Francisco's leading newspaper)

San Francisco Chronicle (San Francisco's leading newspaper), May 15, 2011
Posted: May 24th, 2011

ExxonMobil's first-quarter earnings of $10.7 billion are up 69 percent from last year. Other oil companies are also scoring record gains. The five biggest oil companies together report more than $35 billion in profits. An ExxonMobil vice president asks that we look past the "inevitable headlines" and remember the company's investments in renewable energy. What investments, exactly? Last time I looked, ExxonMobil was devoting a smaller percentage of its earnings to renewables than most other oil companies, including the errant BP. In point of fact, no oil company is investing much in renewables - precisely because they've got such a money gusher going from oil. Republicans are defending oil's tax subsidy. They're responding to soaring gas prices by trying to open more of our oceans to oil drilling. House Republicans recently passed a bill to accelerate oil lease sales in the Gulf of Mexico and off the coast of Virginia. They're readying measures to open vast new areas of the Atlantic, Pacific and Arctic oceans to oil exploration. The oil companies now are gushing profits as Americans pay more and more at the pump. This makes no sense. The gusher should be used to shift America away from our costly dependence on oil.

Note: The author of this opinion, Robert Reich, is former U.S. secretary of labor, professor of public policy at UC Berkeley and the author of the new book Aftershock: The Next Economy and America's Future. He blogs at

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