During the week of May 21, 2007, the House passed two pieces of legislation to reduce the burden of rising gas prices on American families. The President has threatened to veto both bills.
The Energy Price Gouging Prevention Act - H.R. 1252
On May 23, 2007, the House passed the Energy Price Gouging Prevention Act, H.R. 1252, which will provide immediate relief to consumers by giving the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) the authority to investigate and punish those who artificially inflate the price of energy. It will ensure the federal government has the tools it needs to adequately respond to energy emergencies and prohibit price gouging - with a priority on refineries and big oil companies.
The Energy Price Gouging Prevention Act will give the President the authority to take immediate action in the face of an energy crisis by declaring a national energy emergency and making it illegal for the sale of crude oil, gasoline or petroleum at unconscionable levels.
The legislation will also provide the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) with new authority to investigate and prosecute those that engage in this “predatory pricing”, from oil companies on down to local gas stations, with an emphasis on those who profit most. This includes the gouging of gasoline, home heating oil, propane or natural gas. It will empower the federal government to impose tough civil penalties - of up to triple damages of all excess profits - on companies that have cheated consumers
The No Oil Producing and Exporting Cartels (NOPEC) Act - H.R. 2264
On May 22, 2007, the House passed the No Oil Producing and Exporting Cartels (NOPEC) Act of 2007, H.R. 2264, which will enable the Department of Justice to take legal action against foreign nations for participating in oil cartels that drive up oil prices globally and in the United States. This legislation does so by exempting OPEC and other nations from the provisions of the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act when acting in a commercial capacity; by making clear that the so-called “Act of State” doctrine does not prevent courts from ruling on antitrust charges brought against foreign governments; and by authorizing the Department of Justice to bring lawsuits in U.S. courts against cartel members.