Stupid Congress Tricks: Let’s Sue OPEC

Did you know that the House of Representatives passed a bill, 324-84, that allows the US government to sue OPEC over our high oil prices? Sounds pretty stupid to me. We don’t want to drill for our own oil, but we think we can tell our biggest supplier to lower the price of oil or else we will take them to court. The egos of these people are out of control. And they have little common sense as well. Robert Bryce at Energy Tribune has a great story on this.

When it comes to energy policy, Congress keeps getting dumber and dumber. The latest example: a bill passed by the House of Representatives on Tuesday that will allow the U.S. government to sue OPEC for conspiring to raise prices.

Gateway Pundit has some interesting charts and comments on this.

There are several reasons why the bill, which passed by a margin of 324 to 84, makes no sense. I’ll just focus on two: reciprocity and hypocrisy.

First, reciprocity. If the U.S. can demand that foreign oil producers increase their output, what’s to stop them from demanding that we produce more of what they want? This point was made most succinctly by Robert Rapier, the author of the R-Squared Energy Blog. On April 29, he wrote a column that shows just how nutty this idea is:

Let’s say Saudi Arabia loves American wood. They love it so much, that their purchases start to drive the price higher. It seems other countries love American wood as well, so supplies are tight. But Saudi feels like they have a God-given right to cheap wood. Therefore, they demand that we increase production of our wood to bring prices back down. They demand that we overproduce our resources in order to meet what they would prefer to pay, because they have grown dependent on our wood. So, they threaten to sue and take us before the world court.

Rapier, a clever chemical engineer, went on, saying that by threatening to sue OPEC, the U.S. is demanding that the oil-producing countries “produce according to the price we prefer to pay — not necessarily what’s in their own best long-term interest.”

That’s precisely the point. The U.S. has no legal right to compel foreign companies (or countries) to produce more of anything. Further, if we could somehow force the OPEC members to produce more oil, then why not sue the Dutch to make them produce more beer? I like Heineken. But I don’t like paying $1 per bottle. How about if we sue the Netherlands for under-producing Heineken?

The other problem with the House measure is its blatant hypocrisy. Congress has restricted drilling in the U.S. by making (for example) the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and other areas off-limits to oil and gas exploration. Thus, the U.S. wants to protect its own environment – by preventing new oil production in America — while demanding that foreigners spend billions to drill on their lands. We’re told repeatedly that A.N.W.R. won’t make much difference in terms of new supplies. Not true. According to the U.S. Geological Survey, the refuge holds about one-third of America’s oil reserves and more than half of its gas reserves.

The new House measure aimed at OPEC comes just one week after a Senate vote that prevents energy companies from drilling in A.N.W.R. On May 13, by a margin of 56 to 42, the Senate blocked a measure that would have allowed oil exploration in A.N.W.R. and in areas that lie offshore the Pacific and Atlantic coasts. After the vote, Sen. Richard Durbin, an Illinois Democrat, dismissed the idea that domestic energy production will do any good, declaring that “We can’t drill our way to lower prices.”

We can’t. But if Congress can force foreign countries to drill more, lower prices are certain?

It just gets dumber and dumber.

Gateway Pundit has more.

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One Response

  1. Yeah, sure. Customers ALWAYS get to set the price.

    Morons.

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