- The Washington Times - Monday, March 16, 2009

WASHINGTON (AP) - Interior Secretary Ken Salazar will meet with major oil company executives to assure them the Obama administration views oil as important to the country’s energy future.

But Salazar, in a conference call with reporters Monday, defended proposals to end a manufacturers’ tax break for oil companies and higher royalties on oil pumped from federal waters. He said the higher taxes and royalties are simply a matter of fairness.

Salazar said the taxpayer _ like a private land owner _ should get the maximum return from the federal government’s oil and natural gas.

Salazar also said he remains opposed to any development of oil in Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, even with directional drilling from outside the refuge.

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