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Christian Group Parrots Big Oil's Talking Points for More Oil Drilling on Federal Land

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Ken Blackwell, of the Christian-based Family Research Council, recently wrote an Op-Ed that parroted numerous talking points that large oil companies have been using for years as reasons to open up more federal land to drilling.

Blackwell begins his Op-Ed in The Christian Post by lamenting the end of the payroll tax cut for working families, which he doesn't credit President Obama and the Democrats for. Nor does he mention the Republican opposition to the payroll tax cut, which was reported by The New York Times.

Blackwell then appears to have sympathy for working families since the payroll tax expired and gas prices have gone up:

Just like the payroll tax increase, increased fuel costs in the form of high gasoline prices are eating up paychecks while providing no additional economic benefit or utility.

However, Blackwell assures his readers that "America's great oil companies" are not causing this because the price of oil is "determined by a global oil market that is affected by supply and demand factors around the world."

He then goes on to say how the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Counties (OPEC) will "manipulate the market to make prices higher than a free market would dictate."  He also warns that some of these countries "work to harm America, including by funding jihad."

According to Blackwell, who identifies himself as an advisor to the pro-oil Securing America's Future Energy (SAFE), says the way the U.S. can become oil independent is by "opening up new federal lands for oil and gas exploration."

He adds, "The goal is to allow American families to opt-out of paying high oil prices without having to sacrifice their current vehicle performance or lifestyles."

Of course, that conclusion is based upon the much-repeated Big Oil talking point that American oil companies, out of the goodness of their patriotic hearts, will sell this American oil from federal lands to Americans at low prices.

But Blackwell fails to mention that oil companies are already drilling on some federal lands, not giving Americans a break on price and are enjoying special tax breaks, noted Reuters in 2012.

Oil companies get an especially sweet deal when they drill on federal land, as the Center for American Progress reported earlier this year:

A law from the 1920s requires the oil and gas industry to pay “not less than” a 12.5 percent royalty on oil and gas produced from onshore public lands. This rate has not been permanently increased in nearly 100 years, despite the fact that there is nothing preventing Congress or the Obama administration from doing so.

The federal royalty for oil and gas production on public lands is much lower than what is paid to some states and private landowners for oil taken from their lands. The state of Texas, for example, assesses up to a 25 percent royalty for oil produced from its lands. North Dakota has a royalty of 18.8 percent, while Wyoming’s rate is at least 16.6 percent. Royalties for oil taken from private landowners nationwide are estimated to average 18.8 percent.

Blackwell also fails to mention that American oil companies have been exporting more oil products than they are importing, as far back as 2012, but prices have not dropped because of it, reported Time magazine.

Also, the American Petroleum Institute, which represents US oil companies, wants to lift a rule limiting US oil companies with regard to selling crude oil overseas, according to Bloomberg News.

However, if "America's great oil companies" want to cut Americans a break on oil, as Blackwell suggests, why are they pushing so hard to sell it overseas on the world market? Why not sell it here at home so we can "opt-out of paying high oil prices?"

Sources: Bloomberg News, Time, Center for American Progress, The New York Times, The Christian Post

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