The People of America's Oil and Natural Gas Indusry

Itching for Floor Fight Over Higher Energy Taxes

Mark Green

Mark Green
Posted March 27, 2012

Why did energy supporters in the U.S. Senate stand aside to allow consideration of legislation they oppose – raising taxes on America’s oil and natural gas companies? After all, there were more than enough votes to keep the proposal from coming to the floor.

Simple, in politics you choose the fights you think you can win, and Senate opponents of higher energy taxes feel like they’ve got the American people behind them.

Here’s why. A spate of surveys shows that strong majorities of Americans favor more production of oil and natural gas here at home. Both Gallup and Rasmussen have new polls showing Americans support construction of the Keystone XL pipeline, which would bring up to 830,000 barrels of oil per day from neighbor and ally Canada. Another Rasmussen survey indicates 2-1 support for developing energy from shale via hydraulic fracturing.

Then there was a Pew Research Center poll that suggests the reason for the findings in the others. Pew found that as gasoline prices rise, so does Americans’ interest in greater oil and natural gas production.

A Harris Interactive poll ties things together: It found 76 percent of voters nationwide believe higher taxes on the country’s energy producers could cost them more at the gas pump – which the Congressional Research Service substantiated in a report last year.

Americans’ reaction to increasing fuel costs – driven higher by the rising cost of crude on the global market – is understandable. They’re saying let’s have policies and strategies that could put downward pressure on crude supply as opposed to policies that would make energy producers’ operations costlier – potentially reducing exploration, development and production while elevating prices.

Thus, a Senate debate that supporters of more oil and natural gas production are eager for the American people to see and hear.

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.