Press Release

Apr 1, 2013

Markey Statement on Arkansas Canadian Tar Sands Spill

Issues: Oil

Oil Companies Skirting Spill Cleanup Tax for Tar Sands; Spill Highlights Dangers of Large-scale Transport of Tar Sands Oil

WASHINGTON (March 31, 2013) -- Rep. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) today expressed concerns about the transport and cleanup of Canadian tar sands oil following the Exxon pipeline oil spill in Arkansas that was transporting the fuel from Canada. Rep. Markey called again on the Internal Revenue Service to close a tax loophole that allows oil companies to forgo paying money into an oil spill cleanup fund when importing tar sands oil. Rep. Markey earlier this year introduced legislation to close the loophole.

“This latest pipeline incident is a troubling reminder that oil companies still have not proven that they can safely transport Canadian tar sands oil across the United States without creating risks to our citizens and our environment,” said Rep. Markey, the top Democrat on the Natural Resources Committee. “Adding insult to injury, oil companies don’t even have to pay a cleanup fee on imported tar sands oil to pay for costs of spills. So homeowners are left with a mess and the taxpayers foot the bill. Exxon should be forced to pay for all cleanup costs and assist affected Arkansas homeowners in whatever way they need.

“Whether it’s the proposed Keystone XL pipeline, or this mess in Arkansas, Americans are realizing that transporting large amounts of this corrosive and polluting fuel is a bad deal for American taxpayers and for our environment. Tar sands oil is already the dirtiest, riskiest oil around, and should not be getting a free ride across America. It’s time that we recognize the real effects producing and burning this oil will have on our climate, and the real world damage it can cause when it is spilled in our neighborhoods,” concluded Rep. Markey.

Last year, Rep. Markey released a report on the IRS loophole called Tax Free Tar Sands, which detailed how the IRS is allowing oil companies to not pay into the oil spill cleanup fund. Taxpayers stand to lose nearly $2 billion over the next 10 years as a result of this tar sands tax loophole, according to the Joint Committee on Taxation.