Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Walberg: Foreign Oil Profits Before People

Democratic Congressman John Conyers (MI-14) sponsored a bill, HR 2264, which would amend current law "to make oil-producing and exporting cartels illegal". The name Conyers came up with for it was "NOPEC"-- No Oil Producing and Exporting Cartels. Here's the relevant text:

    The Sherman Act (15 U.S.C. 1 et seq.) is amended by adding after section 7 the following:

    7A. (a) It shall be illegal and a violation of this Act for any foreign state, or any instrumentality or agent of any foreign state, to act collectively or in combination with any other foreign state, any instrumentality or agent of any other foreign state, or any other person, whether by cartel or any other association or form of cooperation or joint action--

      `(1) to limit the production or distribution of oil, natural gas, or any other petroleum product;

      `(2) to set or maintain the price of oil, natural gas, or any petroleum product; or

      `(3) to otherwise take any action in restraint of trade for oil, natural gas, or any petroleum product;

    when such action, combination, or collective action has a direct, substantial, and reasonably foreseeable effect on the market, supply, price, or distribution of oil, natural gas, or other petroleum product in the United States.

    (b) A foreign state engaged in conduct in violation of subsection (a) shall not be immune under the doctrine of sovereign immunity from the jurisdiction or judgments of the courts of the United States in any action brought to enforce this section.

    (c) No court of the United States shall decline, based on the act of state doctrine, to make a determination on the merits in an action brought under this section.

    (d) The Attorney General of the United States may bring an action to enforce this section in any district court of the United States as provided under the antitrust laws.'.

In other words, this makes it illegal for a foreign government or its buddies in the United States to artificially inflate oil prices. As we see gas prices push higher and higher ($3.65/gallon in downtown Tecumseh today), this makes sense. We rely on foreign oil, and it would be best to close the avenues by which foreign governments could hold us hostage, figuratively and literally.

Sounds like a reasonable idea, right? Well, that's what most members of the House thought, because it passed, 345 to 72. In the vote, 125 Republicans-- a majority of the Republican caucus-- joined the Democrats in supporting the bill.

Tim Walberg voted No. He was joined by Michigan Republican Pete Hoekstra (MI-02). The rest of the Michigan delegation voted in favor of it.

So, Congressman Walberg, what were you trying to say there? Is it really a good idea to allow foreign governments to subvert the free market (favorite phrase of conservatives) and threaten our national energy security?

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this legislation is ridiculous, being able to sue OPEC is like putting a warrant out for Kim Jung Il's arrest for crimes against humanity... Nothing will come of either... not sure why this is even a post... ha!
Was this the silly bill which the media reported as a bill that would sue OPEC?

I also think it is ridiculous. If it is illegal, do we simply refuse to buy their oil now? How cheap will it be for China to keep advancing at a break-neck pace if the world demand for OPEC oil falls by exactly the amount of US consumption?

How are we going to fill our gas tanks if this actually passed? I'm actually suprised Walberg opposed it. If we vote this into law, we'd need 100,000 people to move to Alaska to start drilling ANWR tomorrow just to dent that demand.
yeah, it was that faux "anti-OPEC" bill, I'm all for screwing the tyrants in the Middle East, but you do that with alternative energy and some major conservation. This Congress has been disappointing to say the least... Where's their backbone, let Bush keep vetoing their bills and blame him, instead they just keep on capitulating to Shrub...
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