Western Energy Alliance Reaction to Obama’s Oil Tax Proposal, Utah Suing Feds on Sage Grouse

February 4, 2016

DENVER – On two fronts today western oil and natural gas producers find themselves in the center of major announcements from President Obama and the State of Utah, and Western Energy Alliance offers reaction. First, officials from the White House indicated President Obama will include a $10 tax per barrel of oil in his fiscal year 2017 budget that he will send to Congress next week. Second, Utah Governor Gary Herbert sued the U.S. Department of the Interior over the federal Greater Sage-Grouse land use plan. The following comments are attributable to Kathleen Sgamma, vice president of government and public affairs at the Alliance:

Obama’s Budget Proposal

“In every single budget over eight years, the president has attempted to pass energy tax increases that even his fellow Democrats won’t vote for. Given that record, we’re not too concerned about this one, but it’s another example of attempts to punish the oil industry that would only serve to raise costs on the middle class. On the other hand, oil companies have delivered huge cost savings to Americans.

“The proposed $10 per barrel tax is out of step with reality as economic growth slows in the world’s largest oil-producing country, the United States, because of low oil prices. Increased taxes on American oil is a recipe for more job losses and continued sluggish growth. For a president who has worked so hard to help Iranian oil producers, a tax of one-third the current price of oil would only hurt American workers while helping our strategic rivals.”  

Utah’s Sage Grouse Lawsuit 

“Western Energy Alliance is pleased that Governor Herbert has taken a strong stand for state conservation of sage grouse over a federal, one-size-fits-all approach. Utah has achieved real results, including a 40 percent population increase, with its conservation plan tailored to actual conditions on the ground. On the other hand, the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) plan the Governor is challenging ignored the hard work and proven success of the State of Utah, counties, landowners, conservation groups, and industries in favor of a uniform, federal approach.

“All across the West, governors are taking a stand against the regulatory overreach of the federal government, whether it’s onerous sage grouse plans that fail to balance conservation with the needs of local communities, or power grabs such as the BLM fracking rule and the Waters of the U.S. Rule. The red tape that westerners are challenging is not about environmental protection, but rather exerting greater federal control over all aspects of western life. Western Energy Alliance strongly supports state efforts to maintain a proper state-federal balance that enables responsible development while delivering jobs and economic growth.