Voters oppose new energy taxes, API plans to tell federal lawmakers

American Petroleum Institute lobbyists plan to remind members of the 113th Congress considering possible federal budget reforms in 2013’s final weeks that their constituents don’t support new energy taxes, said Stephen Comstock, API tax and accounting policy director.

They specifically plan to cite findings of a recent Harris Interactive telephone survey API commissioned of 1,001 registered voters nationwide that found 56% oppose federal tax code changes that could reduce energy investment and decrease energy production, Comstock told reporters in an Oct. 29 teleconference.

“The players continue to change on the budget and other committees,” he said. “It’s another opportunity for us to engage with a broader group and get their impressions and feedback. Having this kind of polling provides immediate feedback of how their constituents feel.”

Comstock noted that a study this summer by Wood Mackenzie found that repealing the federal exemption for intangible drilling costs (IDC) would result in fewer wells drilled, fewer Americans employed, and less energy produced domestically.

If the IDC deduction is repealed, Comstock said, 190,000 Americans would be unemployed next year, “growing to 265,000 jobs lost over a decade, according to the study.” He said, “With nearly 10,000 fewer wells drilled and $407 billion in decreased investment, domestic oil and natural gas production would fall 14% below current expectations after 10 years.”

Oil and gas industry concerns over possibly punitive tax proposals may not be new, but some federal lawmakers may only recently have become members of key committees and aren’t acquainted with the issues yet, he indicated.

“I think we’ve been fairly steady in how we engage members,” Comstock said. “We’ve maintained a steady meeting schedule and tried to highlight economic issues as we see them, particularly what the oil and gas industry is doing in the context of the broader economy. From our perspective, I think we’ve kept up a pretty strong drumbeat.”

Contact Nick Snow at nicks@pennwell.com.

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