CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- The chief economist for the American Petroleum Institute criticized government policies on taxes and the environment during a speech to the Charleston Rotary Club on Monday.
"We need a tax policy that broadens our [energy company] base and reduces rates, allowing our energy companies to compete with foreign countries," said John Felmy of the API, a Washington, D.C.-based group that promotes the interests of the domestic oil and gas industries.
"We can generate a lot of employment and a lot of taxes by developing oil and gas," Felmy said.
Today, the United States spends $421 billion on importing oil every year, Felmy said. "For every $1 billion we save, we would generate 5,000 jobs at home."
Oil exported by Middle Eastern countries is "shifting significantly to China.
"Why do we pay higher gas prices today?" Felmy asked. There are three reasons. The first is China. The second is China. The third is China."
"India and the Middle East countries are also developing. This year, 77 million new cars will be made. We are now up to 1 billion cars on a global level. There is a world market for petroleum."
"For every $1 we spend on buying oil, we get 90 cents back in trade with Canada and 30 cents back in trade with Saudi Arabia. The environmental community's efforts trying to cut imports from Canada is absurd."
Felmy strongly supports the controversial Keystone XL pipeline extension, which would increase those imports. The proposed Keystone pipeline would take oil from sands in northern Alberta and transport it to refineries in Illinois, Oklahoma and Texas.
The domestic oil and gas industries, according to the API website, www.api.org, support more than nine million jobs and more than seven percent of our Gross Domestic Product.
The two industries also contribute more than $86 million to the Federal Treasury every day.