Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Sue OPEC? Congress Should Sue Itself

Michael Cembalest is chief investment officer of JPMorgan Private Bank. Forbes reprinted an exerpt from one of his bi-weekly "Eye on the Market" e-mails in which he states that instead of Congress suing OPEC, it should sue itself.

As the U.S. endures an energy crisis and imports more than 60% of its energy needs, the House of Representatives and the Senate have decided to take action. They overwhelmingly voted to modify the Sherman Antitrust Act and allow OPEC to be sued in U.S. courts for running a cartel. The Senate, however, is currently reconsidering the bill because it was shelved even after the body approved it last year. The mind reels.

Over the last 30 years, elected U.S. officials blocked nuclear build-out and spent fuel storage construction; impeded the construction of oil refineries; refrained from passing meaningful alternative energy legislation; imposed an import tax on cheaper Brazilian ethanol; prevented offshore drilling in Alaska, California and Florida; delayed tighter auto fuel-efficiency standards for 30 years; blocked the construction of liquefied natural gas ports; killed wind farms in their own backyards (and back bays); and neglected opportunities for public-private sector partnerships on energy research and development.

Congress got it wrong; it should sue itself instead.
It's an interesting read, and you can find it here.

Also, Ed Wallace had an interesting commentary on oil in Business Week.

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