The People of America's Oil and Natural Gas Indusry

A Giant Tax Hike

Mark Green

Mark Green
Posted September 23, 2009

As President Obama prepares to meet with leaders of the G-20 nations tomorrow, he should be commended for noting that climate change is a challenge for both developed and developing nations.

But his call to "phase out fossil fuel subsidies" is the wrong approach that should be seen for what it really is: a giant tax hike on American consumers.

By raising energy taxes under the veil of eliminating fossil fuel subsidies, oil and natural gas companies would be deprived of the capital they need to invest in exploration and development. That would likely kill jobs, restrict the energy supply and increase costs to consumers and businesses.

Advocates of this strategy make the ludicrous claim that so-called subsidies lead to the overproduction of oil and natural gas. And their policy prescriptions would cut or end programs like the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program and the Strategic Petroleum Reserve. These are ill-conceived ideas that would leave our most vulnerable citizens without heat in the winter, undermine the nation's energy security and tighten oil and natural gas supplies at a time when the nation needs energy from all sources to fuel a recovery.

According to the recent Pricewaterhouse Coopers study, the oil and natural gas industry supports 9.2 million jobs and in 2007 contributed 7.5 percent to the gross domestic product. It simply makes no sense to raise taxes at a time when America needs energy from all sources to fuel a recovery.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Mark Green joined API after a career in newspaper journalism, including 16 years as national editorial writer for The Oklahoman in the paper’s Washington bureau. Mark also was a reporter, copy editor and sports editor. He earned his journalism degree from the University of Oklahoma and master’s in journalism and public affairs from American University. He and his wife Pamela live in Occoquan, Va., where they enjoy their four grandchildren.