A Senate committee last week passed legislation that would attempt to allow lawsuits in U.S. courts against any foreign state or cooperative for limiting the production of oil or natural gas. The bill, nicknamed “NOPEC,” targets the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC).
It’s ironic that the “NOPEC” bill tries to ban the very thing that U.S. energy policy does on a daily basis – limiting production of oil and natural gas supplies. Consider the following:
- The majority of America’s offshore acreage remains off-limits to oil and gas exploration and production.
- Exploration and development in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico – which accounts for 30 percent of all U.S. crude oil production – was effectively banned for the past year.
- Legislation enacted in the U.S. is targeted at restricting the supply of oil from Canada – a country whose oil reserves are second only to Saudi Arabia’s.
Like the “use it or lose it” smoke screen, this legislation is nothing but a tactic to divert Americans’ attention from the fact that U.S. politicians continue to restrict access to domestic energy supplies – a decision with negative consequences for U.S. energy security and energy markets.
Opening up U.S. resources can create jobs, increase government revenues and put downward pressure on prices. Instead, some politicians keep using every excuse in their playbook to avoid having to take a look in the mirror. “NOPEC” is just the latest example.