Washington, D.C.—In response to announcement that the No Oil Producing and Exporting Cartels Act (NOPEC) has been reintroduced in the U.S. House of Representatives, General James T. Conway (Ret.), the 34th Commandant of the United States Marine Corps and Co-Chair of Securing America’s Future Energy’s (SAFE) Energy Security Leadership Council (ESLC) made the following statement:
“For as long as the United States relies on oil to power its transportation system, the country’s economic and national security will remain threatened by oil price volatility and market manipulation from the OPEC cartel, no matter how much oil we produce here at home. NOPEC legislation will give the United States Attorney General a critical tool to hold the cartel and its member nations to account, ensuring a fairer and more transparent oil market—while bringing the country a step closer toward the Administration’s energy dominance goals.”
If enacted, H.R. 948 would amend the Sherman Act to give the U.S. Attorney General the ability and option to bring lawsuits against OPEC or any of its members for anti-competitive conduct. By doing so, the bill would prevent OPEC from hiding under sovereign immunity and the act of state doctrine to evade U.S. antitrust law. Moreover, NOPEC would provide the U.S. government with significantly greater leverage over this cartel and/or its specific members, reducing the likelihood and severity of oil price volatility, which on both the high and low ends massively distorts decisions throughout the American economy, and damages U.S. consumer interests.
Robbie Diamond, President and CEO of SAFE, added that NOPEC is a responsible pathway to ending the manipulation as it leaves the power to take action in the hands of the Attorney General and the Administration.
“It is time for the U.S. to counter OPEC’s pernicious effect on the American economy, and NOPEC would provide the federal government with an effective tool to do exactly that. If OPEC members conducted the same manipulation in the United States that they practice in Vienna, they could be prosecuted. Their actions have a profound impact on U.S. consumers, businesses and our military, and our government can no longer allow that,” Diamond added.
OPEC’s market manipulation has cost American consumers $3.4 trillion, benefiting countries that share neither our strategic priorities nor our free-market values. The U.S. military also spends $81 billion per year to ensure the security of the world’s oil supply. Despite this, OPEC continues to manipulate the market to suit their goals, frequently at American expense. A clear example of this is the OPEC response to U.S. shale production: In 2014, the cartel continued its high levels of production, sending the price of oil tumbling from $110 per barrel in June 2014 to just $26 by February 2016, hurting the U.S. energy industry. By August 2016, 200,000 people had lost their jobs, and approximately 200 companies had filed for bankruptcy.
The U.S. is the world’s largest oil-consuming country, requiring 20 percent of global supply to meet its daily demand. The transportation sector, which is 92 percent powered by petroleum, accounts for 70 percent of U.S. oil demand alone meaning that when oil prices spike, businesses and consumers have no alternatives available at scale. This singular dependence on oil jeopardizes American economic sovereignty and reorders U.S. foreign policy priorities.
To counter this vulnerability and insulate the U.S. economy from oil price shocks, SAFE advocates for a range of policies designed to reduce the country’s dependence and achieve oil dominance. These include maximizing domestic production, modernizing and strengthening fuel economy standards, adopting advanced transportation fuels including electricity and natural gas, and expeditiously deploying autonomous vehicles.
About Securing America’s Future Energy
Securing America’s Future Energy (SAFE) is an action-oriented, nonpartisan organization that aims to reduce America’s dependence on oil. Near-total dependence on petroleum in the transportation sector undermines the nation’s economic and national security, and constrains U.S. foreign policy. To combat these threats, SAFE advocates for expanded domestic production of U.S. oil and gas resources, continued improvements in vehicle fuel efficiency, and transportation sector innovations including electric vehicles, natural gas trucks, and autonomous vehicles. In 2006, SAFE joined with General P.X. Kelley (Ret.), 28th Commandant of the U.S. Marine Corps, and Frederick W. Smith, Chairman, President, and CEO of FedEx Corporation, to form the Energy Security Leadership Council (ESLC), a group of business and former military leaders committed to reducing the United States’ dependence on oil. Today, the ESLC is co-chaired by Frederick W. Smith and General James T. Conway (Ret), 34th Commandant of the U.S. Marine Corps.
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