Posted by Daniel Kish 

 Today Congress takes up H.R. 6074, the “NOPEC” bill.  In sum, the bill states: 

“It shall be illegal and a violation of this Act… to limit the production or distribution of oil, natural gas, or any other petroleum product…or to otherwise take any action in restraint of trade for oil, natural gas, or any petroleum product when such action, combination, or collective action has a direct, substantial, and reasonably foreseeable effect on the market, supply, price, or distribution of oil, natural gas, or other petroleum product in the United States.” 

It goes on to provide that anyone found guilty of doing such a thing can be sued in U.S. courts.  This should raise interesting questions for supporters of the bill and our entire national energy policy for that matter.  For decades now, Congress has limited the production and distribution of petroleum right here at home.

For example, all but two of the NOPEC bill’s sponsors are also coauthors of a bill to make ANWR’s coastal plain a permanent wilderness, which would “limit the production or distribution of oil, natural gas, or any other petroleum product…” from a small area that could add the oil equivalent of another Texas right here at home.  ANWR could produce 1 million barrels a day, just like Texas does, but your Congress continues to deem it illegal to do so.

In fact, it is now illegal in the United States to:

  1. Produce oil or natural gas from ANWR.
  2. Produce oil or gas from 85% of the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) in the lower 48 States.
  3. Produce oil or gas from federal lands that contain oil shale (America has 2 trillion barrels of oil shale – twice as much as the entire world has used since the first oil well was drilled in Pennsylvania 150 years ago).
  4. Enter into a government contract to buy oil from oil shale, oil sands (like those from Canada, our increasingly important energy partner), and coal-to-liquid facilities (America has centuries of coal that could be converted into clean modern fuels, like South Africa does).

That’s the problem with Washington today – the oil is in places like Texas, Alaska, Oklahoma and America’s Outer Continental Shelf, but the dipsticks are all in Congress.  They spend all of their time passing legislation to make energy harder to produce in America so we have to import more and more, and then they turn around and blame OPEC for supply shortages and high prices here at home.   

The result is that America is now using only 3% of its Outer Continental Shelf to produce our own energy, while 97% of it lies fallow.  Onshore, we are only allowed to look for energy on 6% of our taxpayer-owned government lands, while 94% of it is not being used.  For a continent that has more diverse kinds of energy (coal, oil shale, natural gas, methane hydrates, oil sands and the like) than anywhere else in the world, this is what former U.S. Senator James Buckley called “economic and strategic masochism.”


Unfortunately, opposition to American energy production has become a bipartisan issue.  Our Congress seems to think we can run North America, which is responsible for one third of the world’s economic output, on animal and vegetable matter and a small army of attorneys suing OPEC.  Let’s turn those lawyers loose on Congress instead, and insist that lawmakers be liable under “NOPEC” as well.



Print Friendly, PDF & Email