The People of America's Oil and Natural Gas Indusry

Taxing Our Way to Energy Insecurity

Jane Van Ryan

Jane Van Ryan
Posted June 18, 2009

Did you know that Congress is about to consider massive taxes and fees on the U.S. energy sector?

A new Institute for 21st Century Energy report argues that these taxes and fees, specifically on the oil and natural gas industry, could harm the U.S. economy at precisely the wrong time--during a deep recession. According to the report, the Obama administration's tax proposal and House Natural Resources Committee's proposed energy bill would jeopardize U.S. jobs, erode the nation's economic competitiveness, and do nothing to help U.S. energy security.

"Taxing Our Way to Energy Insecurity Again" reviews the impacts of a tax increase in the form of the windfall profits tax that was implemented in the 1980s. According to the Congressional Research Service, that tax increase led to as much as an eight percent decline in domestic oil and natural gas production and a 13 percent increase in oil imports. In the midst of an economic recession, why would we want to return to failed policies of the past?

The report also points out that more than six million people either work in or are supported by the oil and gas industry in America--a good portion of them in small and medium sized businesses. If companies are forced to reduce operating expenses to pay new taxes or fees, some of these well-paying American jobs would be at risk. The study says there's also the possibility that companies would move to lower-cost opportunities overseas.

Now is not the time to increase the burden on hard-working Americans and their families. "If Congress enacts these new taxes and fees, the industry is likely to shed American jobs, at the same time the government is spending hundreds of billions of taxpayer dollars to create and retain jobs," said Karen Harbert, president and CEO of the U.S. Chamber's Energy Institute. She added, "We think that's a short-sighted approach to energy security and exactly the opposite of what the American economy needs, especially in these tough economic times."

Watch the video below that features Harbert reviewing the report's findings. For more energy information, visit the Institute for 21st Century Energy's Web site.