Monday, May 31, 2010

US House Votes To More Than Quadruple Per-Barrel Oil Tax $BP


WASHINGTON -- The U.S. House of Representatives on Friday voted to more than quadruple a tax on the oil industry that finances a federal oil-spill trust fund, setting the stage for greater funding amid focus on an oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

The tax would increase to 34 cents per barrel from 8 cents currently under the measure, which was included in a broader bill to extend jobless benefits and provide temporary tax breaks. The broader bill cleared the House on Friday by 215-204. The Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund is a source of funding for oil-spill cleanups.

The U.S. Senate will take up the measure when it returns after the Memorial Day recess. Little opposition to the per-barrel tax increase suggests that the measure has a good chance of passing.

The $1.6 billion that the fund holds is estimated to be less than what will be needed to clean up a BP Plc (BP, BP.LN) spill that followed an April 20 oil-rig explosion. Though BP has indicated that it will pay all "legitimate costs" related to the spill, the disaster is focusing attention on the issue.

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