Environmental Groups Divided Over Possible Tax Break For Oil And Gas Companies

Jan 28, 2014

State lawmakers are considering a bill that would give oil and gas companies a tax break for better utilizing wells.

As The Michigan Public Radio Network’s Jake Neher reports, the legislation is causing a split between Michigan environmental groups.

The measure would encourage companies to use a method for extracting oil that pumps carbon dioxide into older wells to get relatively small amounts out. Supporters of the bill say that practice is too expensive for most companies, so they abandon wells with oil still in them.

James Clift is with the Michigan Environmental Council.

“The thought is you don’t want those people to shut off that well because it’s not profitable, you want to run it a little longer, so we reduce the state revenues,” he says.

Clift says the Environmental Council agrees with the idea behind the bill – but needs to see some technical changes before the group can endorse it.

But the Michigan chapter of the Sierra Club says the measure would be a “handout” to the oil and gas industry, and that it would encourage unsafe drilling practices.