11:33am

Thu September 22, 2011
Business

Western Oil and Gas Companies Blast Obama Deficit Plan

Oil and gas companies across Colorado and the West are lashing out against President Obama’s proposed deficit reduction plan saying it will stifle jobs in the region.  It's the latest tit for tat in the ongoing political battle over drilling on federal public lands.

The president’s plan would repeal billions of dollars in subsidies for oil and gas companies as a means of reducing the deficit while shifting policy priorities to renewable fuels such as solar or wind.  It’s no surprise this is not popular with the traditional fossil fuels industry.  An analysis by the Denver-based trade group the Western Energy Alliance showed that eliminating the subsidies could reduce by up to a third the capital available for companies to drill for more natural gas. 

"The budget proposals are a particular assault on western jobs and economic growth," said Kathleen Sgamma, the group's director of government and public affairs. 

Indeed, some rural natural gas dependent counties across the West have been hit hard by the recession.  But oil and gas industry officials have also conceded that companies have decided to relocate to gas fields on the eastern seaboard because they’re much closer to major markets.