Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Bush Says Oil Import Fee Counter-Productive

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Bush Says Oil Import Fee Counter-Productive

Article excerpt

An oil import fee would be counter-productive to efforts by President Reagan's administration to deregulate the oil and gas industry, Vice President George Bush said Tuesday in Oklahoma City.

The problems facing the petroleum industry have "profound national security implications," said Bush, because of the nation's dependence on foreign oil, but he cautioned against any infringement by the federal government which might be inflationary.

"My problem with the oil import fee is we got the government out of the regulatory business as much as possible," he said. "Now, if you go for an import fee, you get the government back into it (by regulating it).

"I don't like it."

An oil import fee has been supported by some industry leaders and organizations.

Bush said the federal government needs to find some way to bring financial stability to the petroleum industry without creating inflation.

On the subject of a domestic floor price for oil, Bush said he did not know thoroughly how such a system might work.

"I would like to know how it works," he said. "I want to be sure the medicine is not worse than the illness."

Bush favored repeal of the Windfall Profits Tax, he said, and he predicted that President Reagan would approve the repeal of the Fuel Use Act, but he also said he has experienced "a certain amount of frustration" at the "anti-incentive efforts" of some members of Congress.

An apparent abundance of petroleum products currently has lessened the nation's dependence on foreign oil, Bush said.

"What concerns me is if we ever get back to gas lines and the oil cartel being able to control the prices," he said. "They would then be able to create spiraling prices that would devastate this country with inflation.

"I think government should be sensitive, thoughtful, but not intrusive."

The vice president was in Oklahoma City to raise funds and draw support for his presidential campaign. He also met with civic and business leaders to discuss the economic condition of the city and state.

Bush said no concrete agreements evolved out of his meeting with civic and business leaders, but he did say he was sympathetic to the economic situation of Oklahoma City and Oklahoma and that he had gained a better understanding of the situation. …

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