West Texas Oilman Against Oil Tax Increase

By Cierra Putman
NewsWest 9

MIDESSA - Is Congress using the gulf oil spill to stick it to big oil and raise oil taxes?

That's what one local oilman says, and he thinks it'll hit all of us in the pocket books.

The BP spill is leaving haunting images and consequences in its wake.

Now Congress wants to increase oil taxes because of it, but local oilman, Jim Henry, thinks that's a bad idea.

"Almost all responsible companies do pay for the mistakes that they make, and BP said they would," Jim Henry said. "So, I think it's a ploy to use this spill as a way to get more money for the federal government."

Off-shore oil companies pay 8 cents per barrel to fund the oil spill liability trust fund.

But they may soon pay more than four or five times that if two bills in Congress become law.

One West Texan is for it.

"They have to be liable for the things that occurred," Resident, Peter Santiago said. "At least this will go toward the cleanup because this is a horrible thing that has happened. Some things that occurred I don't think it will affect them."

Henry agrees it probably won't hurt oil companies, but he and others fear they'll pass it on and Americans will end up eating the costs.

"I think gas is already so high now that it's hard to afford," Resident, Phil Ruzicka said. "So, I'm against it."

"The little person is going to wind up paying more and more for everything," Resident, Tracy Christian said. "Whether it's cosmetics or I don't know tires and things like that; anything that's made out of petroleum. We're all going to pay for it."

"It doesn't make any sense for the consumers to pay for these spills," Henry said.

Instead, they say Congress should make stricter accountability driven laws.

But everyone agrees the main focus right now should be clean up.

"I just hope they clean up that mess as soon as possible," Santiago said.