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Page added on May 25, 2010

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US Congress proposes to quadruple tax on oil

Public Policy

The Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund has about $1.5 billion available. Under current law, only $1 billion can be spent from the fund on a single incident. The bill would increase the spending limit to $5 billion.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce said the tax increase was hastily put together, without adequate study, to help pay for an unrelated bill. The tax increase was unveiled Thursday, without any congressional hearings to study its impact.

Even with the tax increases, the bill is projected to add $134 billion to the federal budget deficit.

“I have seen no analysis on how this would impact energy security, how this would impact domestic production, how this would impact the overall economics in the country,” said Christopher Guith, vice president of the chamber’s energy institute. “There hasn’t been any sort of deliberation on this.”

The American Petroleum Institute has not taken a position on the tax increase, though a spokeswoman said Congress should study the ramifications before acting.

“We understand we need to have an insurance policy in order to cover people in the event of a spill,” said the spokeswoman, Cathy Landry. “At the same time we need to have a vital oil and gas industry.”

The bill does not address a federal law that caps liability at $75 million for economic damages beyond direct cleanup costs. Democratic Senators tried to pass a bill last week that would have increased the cap to $10 billion, but they were blocked by Republicans.

The oil industry says such a high cap would make it difficult, if not impossible, to insure oil rigs.

BP said Monday its costs for responding to the spill had grown to about $760 million.

BreitBart



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