Wichita U.S. Sen. Pat Roberts told a Kansas oil and gas group Monday that he worries about Congress raising taxes on the oil and gas industry to pay for massive government spending programs.
"Some of these people have no conscience, absolutely no conscience, and they do not understand the oil and gas industry. The fossil fuel industry, obviously with the Gulf oil spill, we've got targets on our back. We've been there before. It is a very dicey situation," Roberts told the Kansas Independent Oil and Gas Association.
His comments came during a panel with other members of the state's congressional delegation on energy policy. The lawmakers used the opportunity to defend the industry against perceived threats from Congress and President Barack Obama.
U.S. Rep. Todd Tiahrt told the group that the industry is "in peril." One of the easiest targets to raise revenues is the oil and gas industry, he said.
"You are up against a tough challenge at least until January," Tiahrt said.
Rep. Lynn Jenkins apologized to small business owners, saying they were operating in an environment of uncertainty about taxation, regulation, health care and other legislation.
"There is just so much uncertainty I think it paralyzes the economy and then we wonder why the economy is not growing and why people aren't hiring," Jenkins said.
Sen. Sam Brownback cited what he called a "sea change" moving against the Obama administration as the public questions whether the country can afford the spending programs.
Brownback said he feared environmental groups will use the Gulf oil spill to get more regulations passed on the oil and gas industry.
"This was terrible ... but don't use that to go after the oil and gas industry," Brownback said.