France reverse palm oil tax break after outcry

phys.org | 10/11/2019 | Staff
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France's parliament on Friday voted down a proposed tax break on palm oil—which would have hugely benefited energy giant Total—after lawmakers and environmental activists complained the legislation had been rushed through the day before without proper debate.

In the second vote in two days on the issue, 58 MPs in the National Assembly voted against including palm oil on a list of biofuel sources that will enjoy tax breaks until 2026. Only MPs two voted in favour.

Prime - Minister - Edouard - Philippe - Vote

Prime Minister Edouard Philippe called for the second vote, which reversed an amendment to the 2020 budget passed by the lower house on Thursday, after lawmakers said they had not been sufficiently informed about the tax break.

Last year, parliament excluded palm oil from tax breaks for biofuel sources, dealing a huge blow to a new refinery belonging to French oil giant Total which began operations in July.

Lawmakers - Region - Refinery - Amendment - Oil

But lawmakers from the region where the refinery is located subsequently sponsored an amendment to put palm oil back on the list.

The national assembly passed that amendment on Thursday, despite an unfavourable opinion from the budget legislation's rapporteur, a member of President Emmanuel Macron's centrist LREM party.

Environmentalists - Arms - Oil - Drives - Deforestation

Environmentalists were up in arms, saying that palm oil drives deforestation, with vast areas of Southeast Asian rainforest having been logged or set ablaze in recent decades to make way for plantations.

"MPs in the majority, in collaboration with the government, have given in to Total's shameful lobbying," the Amis de la Terre (Friends of the Earth) advocacy group said after the amendment passed on Thursday.

Tax

It called the renewed tax...
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