Sen. Henry Bellmon (R-Okla.), who has won praise for a sensible non-partisan approach to the budget process and a variety of other issues, yesterday broke the mold and urged the domestic oil industry to shut down production until Congress kills the proposed "confiscatory" oil tax.
Bellmon, who is from an oil state, told the Senate that President Carter's proposal to tax domestic crude oil as decontrolled prices rise has got the situation upside down. The only way to produce more oil in this country and reduce reliance on imports, said Bellmon, is to let the industry keep profits and put them into production of hard-to-reach oil deeper in the ground or trapped in rocks which is now too expensive for the industry to go after.
He said the industry should act like the patriots of two centuries ago protesting an unjust tax with the Boston Tea Party. He proposed they start next Tuesday, the birthday of Abraham Lincoln, the "Great Emancipator," with a production shutdown that would be remembered as "Energy Emancipation Day."
Every oil drilling rig and every producing oil well should be shut down, he said, until House-Senate conferees on the tax bill "produce a bill which will provide the incentive to produce oil needed for national security and economic stability. A 30-day or even 90-day disruption in this nation's oil production will not paralyze the country, but will wake it up."