WASHINGTON – Amid rising oil prices fueled
by foreign production cuts, a bipartisan group of Senate Judiciary
Committee members today reintroduced legislation that will let the federal
government take action against price fixing by OPEC, the Organization of
Petroleum Exporting Countries. The No Oil
Producing and Exporting Cartels Act, or NOPEC,
is led by the committee’s ranking member, Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and
cosponsored by Sens. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Mike Lee (R-Utah) and Patrick
“It’s long past time to
put an end to illegal price fixing by OPEC. The oil cartel and its member
countries need to know that we are committed to stopping their anti-competitive
behavior. We, in the United States, have been working for years to develop our
domestic clean, renewable and alternative energy resources. We’re also
committed to reducing our reliance on foreign oil, especially when it’s artificially
and illegally priced. Our bill shows the OPEC members we will not tolerate
their flagrant antitrust violations,” Grassley said.
“Current law has made the
Justice Department powerless to stop OPEC and its members from coordinating oil
production to manipulate prices, driving up costs for millions of Americans.
Open competition in international oil markets is critical to ensuring that
American families pay fair prices at the pump. Our bipartisan legislation would
allow U.S. antitrust laws to be enforced against OPEC producers, helping to
ensure that U.S. gas prices are fair and affordable,” Klobuchar said.
“The United States has
long prohibited price-fixing and market allocation conspiracies through our
antitrust laws, and there is no reason that OPEC – which openly and notoriously
functions as an international oil cartel – should be exempt. Our bill would
loosen OPEC’s unfair control over our economy, and help make gas more
affordable for consumers in America and across the world,” Lee said.
“As Vermonters and all
Americans suffer through the economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic, they
shouldn’t be subject to artificially inflated oil prices that impact virtually
every aspect of their lives. Oil-producing countries shouldn’t get a free
pass to engage in anti-competitive conduct that directly harms millions of
Americans. I’m proud to again cosponsor our longstanding, bipartisan
legislation to curb precisely that type of conduct. I’m hopeful that
Congress will finally enact these much-needed reforms into law,” Leahy said.
NOPEC would explicitly authorize
the Justice Department to bring lawsuits against oil cartel members for
antitrust violations. It would clarify that neither
sovereign immunity nor the “Act of State” doctrine prevents a court from ruling
on antitrust charges brought against foreign governments for engaging in
illegal pricing, production and distribution of petroleum products.
a 15-member organization that controls more than 73 percent of the world’s
crude oil reserves.
text of the legislation is available HERE