The US Congress has voted to brand OPEC’s efforts to control world oil prices illegal.
And with support of the legislation strong in the Senate as well, President Bush could soon be thrust into the unenviable position of siding with OPEC producers at a time of painfully high gasoline prices in the US.
As American motorists forked over a record average $3.21 a gallon — according to the most recent AAA survey — the House voted 345-72 Tuesday to approve a bill that would authorize the attorney general to sue the OPEC countries in U.S. courts.
Dubbed the “No Oil Producing and Exporting Cartels Act of 2007” or “NOPEC” bill, the measure would make it illegal for foreign governments to try to limit oil and gas production to try to control energy prices.
Championed by House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers, D-Mich., the bill would essentially make it illegal for foreign nations like those in OPEC to operate a cartel. “We don’t have to stand by and watch OPEC dictate the price of our gas,” Conyers said. “We can do something about … this anti-competitive, anti-consumer behavior. And we are.”
However President Bush is threatening to veto any move. “The Bush administration’s threat to veto this bill is just further proof that the administration favors the international oil cartel over the American consumer,” Conyers said.