API launches ad campaign against tax hikes during lame duck session

11 14, 2012 by Platts

The American Petroleum Institute Tuesday said it will target key US senators with advertising during the lame duck session of Congress aimed at preventing the elimination of industry-related tax provisions during the "fiscal cliff" negotiations.

TV, radio and print ads will focus on senators in Alaska, Louisiana, New Mexico, Colorado, Virginia, Arkansas and North Carolina, urging them to fight attempts to raise taxes on oil and gas exploration companies.

"Discriminatory treatment of the oil and gas industry is a bad idea," Khary Cauthen, API's senior director of federal relations said on a conference call with reporters. "With new taxes, US oil and gas projects are less attractive and foreign projects more attractive."

President Barack Obama has tried unsuccessfully for the past three years to eliminate tax credits used by oil and gas companies, credits Obama has said add up to about $4 billion each year.

That discussion could resurface as lawmakers look to find new revenue and avoid drastic spending cuts that would be required if a spending plan cannot be reached by the end of this year.

The API ads will appear in Washington DC as Congress returns for its last session of the year. But ads will also appear in several home states of senators considered crucial to reaching any lame-duck budget compromise, the API said.

"We're reaching out to members of both parties on the Senate Finance and the House Ways and Means (committees) as well as as leadership," Brian Johnson, API's senior tax advisor, told reporters.

Two of the advertisements feature senators who are considered to be pro-energy and praise their efforts. Those two ads, aimed at Democrats Mark Begich from Alaska and Mary Landrieu from Louisiana, are titled "Fighting for Jobs."

The others ads, titled "America Spoke" target senators who have supported positions such as a carbon tax in the past. Those ads urge senators to reject "job killing energy taxes."