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Study: Fossil Fuels Plays Limited Role In West

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DENVER (AP) – A new report says the fossil fuels industry’s longest-lasting economic impact is from tax revenues, not jobs, and recommends maximizing those revenues by raising rates.

The report by Headwaters Economics says government data show the industry accounted for less than 3 percent of total employment in Colorado, Montana, New Mexico and Utah in 2008. The figure was about 8.5 percent in Wyoming.

The study acknowledges seasonal workers might have been missed, along with workers improperly categorized in other industries.

A 2009 trade group study puts the percentages much higher.

As for tax policies, Doug Flanders of the Colorado Oil and Gas Association says stable taxes and “sensible regulation” are needed to attract industry investments.

Headwaters Economics says it’s funded by various donors as well as federal agencies like the Forest Service.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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