US: House Panel Passes Bill Targeting OPEC

A US House of Representatives committee approved a bill on Thursday that would open up the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries to antitrust lawsuits, but it was uncertain if the measure would be considered by the full chamber, reported Reuters.

The House Judiciary Committee passed the bipartisan bill, known as the No Oil Producing and Exporting Cartels Act, or NOPEC, on a voice vote.

The legislation would change US antitrust law to revoke the sovereign immunity that has long protected OPEC members from US lawsuits. It allows the US attorney general to sue the oil producers group or any of its members on grounds of collusion.

“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,” Grassley said in a statement. “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.”

Versions of the bill have appeared without success in Congress for the past 20 years. The committee also approved a version of the bill last year by voice vote, but it never reached the full House for a vote.
Full Content: News Week & Reuters

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