The US House of Representatives approved legislation allowing the Justice Department to sue OPEC members for limiting oil supplies and working in order to set crude prices, but the White House threatened to veto it.
The legislation would subject OPEC oil producers, such as Saudi Arabia, Iran and Venezuela, to the same antitrust laws applicable to US companies.
The bill also creates a Justice Department task force to investigate the gasoline prices and the manipulation in energy markets.
[The bill passed by the House, if passed by the Senate, will be vetoed by the President, as it should be. After all, OPEC produces about one third of the crude consumed in the world and, if such a bill were to be effective, it must include the two-third non-OPEC producers, including American producers. Suing OPEC may provide a psychological comfort to the American consumer but it does not solve the escalating energy prices of oil, natural gas, coal and ethanol. What will the US do if, as a result of a lawsuit, members of OPEC retaliate by cutting production in half and causing the price of oil to skyrocket? What is realistically needed is an integrated national energy policy that is founded on two energy pillars: savings of energy and investment in alternative energy sources. House bills, motivated by populist election considerations, are not an alternative to national energy policy.]