TortsProf Blog

Editor: Christopher J. Robinette
Widener Commonwealth Law School

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

"NOPEC" - High Gas Prices, Let's Sue

On Tuesday, the House passed the "No Oil Producing and Exporting Act of 2007," which would allow the Department of Justice to sue members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) in U.S. court.  A similar bill has passed the Senate Judiciary Committee, and has been placed on the Senate's legislative calendar for a vote.  President Bush has threatened to veto the Act, though the House passed the bill with enough votes to override a presidential veto.   

Putting aside the likely demise of this bill in the political process, is the solution to higher gas prices really a lawsuit?   What does this bill say about our cultural propensity to solve problems through litigation? 


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Veto or not, wouldn't the law be unenforceable since the members of OPEC are sovereign nations? I think this effort says less about our cultural propensity toward litigation than it does about our political leaders' propensity toward pandering to any voter frustration.

Posted by: Colin Samuels | May 23, 2007 5:31:54 PM

NOPEC addresses this point by stripping OPEC of sovereign immunity and eliminating any Act of State doctrine defense. Plus, the bill does not authorize a private cause of action, but rather only gives the DOJ (Attorney General) authority to sue. So, the imagined lawsuit would be sovereign vs. sovereign.


Posted by: Sheila Scheuerman | May 23, 2007 7:14:31 PM

"Imagined" lawsuit, indeed. Do the authors of this bill really think it will lower the price of gas? What childish foolishness! I'd like to think that this is just political grandstanding, because if our elected representatives are truly ignorant enough to think they have recourse here, then we as a nation are in for a rough ride ahead.

Posted by: Guy Fleegman | May 23, 2007 11:45:58 PM

So why can't other countries decide for themselves how much oil they want to pump out of the ground in their countries?

Posted by: GMR | May 24, 2007 4:47:53 PM

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