ContributorNetwork - After trying to end tax breaks for the five largest oil companies, Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives have hit a major roadblock, according to Market Watch. House Republicans blocked a bill from the Democrats that would end tax incentives and raise taxes for big oil companies, including Chevron, ConocoPhillips, Shell, BP, and Exxon Mobil.Currently, energy companies receive about $4 billion a year in tax breaks and benefits, with the Big Oil companies receiving around $1.5 billion per year from domestic oil manufacturing alone. The bill introduced by House Democrats aims to end tax incentives, but only for the Big Oil companies and not smaller companies. Several democrats in the House spoke about the need to end tax breaks for the Big Oil companies, according to NewsOK. Rep. Ed Markey (D-Mass) criticized Republicans and the oil and natural gas industry by commenting that these industries hired tons of lobbyists to fight to keep the tax breaks even while the companies were reporting billions of dollars in revenue for just the first quarter alone.In April, President Barack Obama urged senators and representatives to end tax breaks for the oil industry, reemphasizing one of the provisions outlined in his budget for the 2012 fiscal year and citing the problems with rising gas prices across the country. Republican House Speaker John Boehner commented that he would take a look at cutting the tax breaks and benefits for Big Oil companies, but House Republicans blocked the democratic piece of legislation today, says MSNBC.Additionally, the House voted today on a GOP bill that would speed up oil-drilling permits in both Virginia and the Gulf of Mexico. The bill was approved in a 266-149 vote but is certain to face extreme opposition with little chance of passing in the Senate, which is controlled by Democrats. Another Republican proposal aims to make offshore oiling easier for oil companies.Other energy industry tax incentives have been under debate recently. Yesterday, several U.S. senators representing farm states introduced the Domestic Energy Promotion Act of 2011, which would extend tax credit for the ethanol industry for the next five years. Ethanol tax breaks, currently at 45 cents per gallon, are set to expire at the end of 2011. However, several farm state senators are pushing to continue the tax breaks for the next five years with lowered rates in 2012 and 2013 and variable rates 2014 through 2016. Senators representing oil-producing states have been aiming to end these tax credits for good at the end of the year.Rachel Krech provides an in-depth look at current environmental issues and local Chicago news stories. As a college student from the Chicago suburbs pursuing two science degrees, she applies her knowledge and passion to both topics to garner further public awareness.

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