Oil companies' ads mislead public

Letter to the editor

Posted: Wednesday, April 19, 2006

In their advertising in Alaska's newspapers, the major oil producers and other groups deliberately try to mislead the public. The oil producers and others persist in using the word "taxes" to describe what they have to pay for Alaska's petroleum resources. Most Alaskans don't like taxes, so by calling the amounts paid that dirty word "taxes," the oil companies seek to obscure the fact that this money is actually being spent to buy our oil.

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The claim that the money oil producers pay to Alaska is for taxes rather than direct payment for the extracted petroleum resources is not only misleading, it is intellectually dishonest. ConocoPhillips and BP ads are bad enough, but a recent ad by the Alaska Oil and Gas Association takes the cake for blatant outright lying to the public. "What if your tax bill was 57.5 percent," asks the ad in blaring red letters, and then goes on to say that "the oil and gas industry has reluctantly agreed to increase its tax burden to 57.5 percent under the original 20/20 petroleum profits tax proposal."

The truth is owners of other major petroleum provinces make the producers pay about 80 percent or more of their revenues to the owners. That is why oil production in Alaska is so highly profitable for the oil companies. We, the owners, should be retaining 70 to 80 percent, not the paltry 53 percent we and the feds now get.

Neil Davis


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