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Energy biz warns: New taxes will force jobs overseas

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Politics,Paul Bedard,Washington Secrets

The nation's energy industry, eyed by Democrats and some Republicans as a tax goldmine to tap to ease the pain of the coming "fiscal cliff," warned Tuesday that that any new taxes or elimination of deductions will rob the industry of "hundreds of thousands" of new jobs that would instead be shipped overseas.

What's more, new taxes would halt oil and gas exploration that the International Energy Association this week said would make the United States energy independent by 2035.

"With new taxes, U.S. oil and gas investments are less attractive and foreign projects more attractive. That's an invitation to push American investment and jobs overseas," said Khary Cauthen, senior director of federal relations for the American Petroleum Industry.

The industry on Tuesday launched a new TV and print ad campaign to fight efforts to trim their deductions, most of which cover development costs. The president and lawmakers are looking at the deductions as an attractive way to raise money without having to hit individual taxpayers. Brian Johnson, the API's senior tax advisor, said killing deductions "is a tax increase."

Pushing back that it doesn't pay enough in taxes, the industry said that is already paying about $86 million a day in taxes to the Treasury.

"Raising energy taxes would be bad for everyone because it would raise consumer costs," added Cauthen, suggesting the costs would be passed on at the pump where prices are already high.

Citing the International Energy Association report out Monday that said U.S. firms are on a path to making the nation energy independent by 2035, Cauthen added that without higher taxes or cuts in deductions, the industry "will have an unprecedented opportunity to create millions of new jobs and generate hundreds of billions" in new taxes.

But he warned that any tax hit on the industry by congressional negotiators would kill U.S. jobs, cut revenue to the Treasury, cut oil and gas production, leading to more imports and a worsening trade deficit.