The proposed tax bill threatens the livability of the climate our children will need to survive. Under this tax bill, tax incentives for renewable energy would be slashed and U.S. federal taxpayers would continue to subsidize the fossil fuel industry by more than $15 billion each year, according to Oil Change International. Big Oil wins big, with a 43 percent lower tax rate and greater ability to shield their overseas profits.

Why? Because this industry invests $350 million a year in campaign money, Oil Change International has found. They get a 8,200 percent return on their investment! It’s a great deal for them, but not so much for us.

What’s worse, the House tax bill would eliminate tax credits for electric vehicles, essentially crippling that market. It would cut tax credits on investments that make big solar and wind projects possible.

However, wise tax reform now could reduce climate change in an extraordinary way! Without federal and state subsidies, about 45 percent of all new U.S. oil projects would not be profitable enough to pursue, according to a Stockholm Environment Institute study. Stopping these subsidies would help balance our budget and force us to transition more quickly to renewable energy, safeguarding our children’s lives. In 2009, the U.S. joined 19 other nations in pledging to eventually phase out fossil fuel subsidies. The Republican tax plan cancels that commitment, but we could change that.

When the House and Senate reconcile their tax bills, there is an opportunity to correct the bill’s preferential support of fossil fuels. In the past, Sen. Susan Collins has been courageous in proposing legislation to protect our children’s climate. Her vote is needed to pass this tax plan, so she is in a pivotal position now to be the climate hero we need. Please call her. This is a chance that will not come again soon.

Richard Thomas

Waterville