< Back to H.R. 5253 (109th Congress, 2005–2006)

Text of the Federal Energy Price Protection Act of 2006

This bill was introduced in a previous session of Congress and was passed by the House on May 3, 2006 but was never passed by the Senate. The text of the bill below is as of Jun 5, 2006 (Placed on Calendar in the Senate).

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HR 5253 PCS

Calendar No. 461

109th CONGRESS

2d Session

H. R. 5253

IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES

May 4, 2006

Received

May 26, 2006

Read the first time

June 5, 2006

Read the second time and placed on the calendar


AN ACT

To prohibit price gouging in the sale of gasoline, diesel fuel, crude oil, and home heating oil, and for other purposes.

    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

    This Act may be cited as the `Federal Energy Price Protection Act of 2006'.

SEC. 2. GASOLINE PRICE GOUGING PROHIBITED.

    (a) Unlawful Conduct-

      (1) UNFAIR AND DECEPTIVE ACT OR PRACTICE- It shall be an unfair or deceptive act or practice in violation of section 5 of the Federal Trade Commission Act for any person to sell crude oil, gasoline, diesel fuel, home heating oil, or any biofuel at a price that constitutes price gouging as defined by rule pursuant to subsection (b).

      (2) DEFINITION- For purposes of this subsection, the term `biofuel' means any fuel containing any organic matter that is available on a renewable or recurring basis, including agricultural crops and trees, wood and wood wastes and residues, plants (including aquatic plants), grasses, residues, fibers, and animal wastes, municipal wastes, and other waste materials.

    (b) Price Gouging-

      (1) IN GENERAL- Not later than 6 months after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Federal Trade Commission shall promulgate, in accordance with section 553 of title 5, United States Code, any rules necessary for the enforcement of this section.

      (2) CONTENTS- Such rules--

        (A) shall define `price gouging', `retail sale', and `wholesale sale' for purposes of this Act; and

        (B) shall be consistent with the requirements for declaring unfair acts or practices in section 5(n) of the Federal Trade Commission Act (15 U.S.C. 45(n)).

    (c) Enforcement-

      (1) IN GENERAL- Except as provided in subsection (d), a violation of subsection (a) shall be treated as a violation of a rule defining an unfair or deceptive act or practice prescribed under section 18(a)(1)(B) of the Federal Trade Commission Act (15 U.S.C. 57a(a)(1)(B)). The Federal Trade Commission shall enforce this Act in the same manner, by the same means, and with the same jurisdiction as though all applicable terms and provisions of the Federal Trade Commission Act were incorporated into and made a part of this Act.

      (2) EXCLUSIVE ENFORCEMENT- Notwithstanding any other provision of law, no person, State, or political subdivision of a State, other than the Federal Trade Commission or the Attorney General of the United States to the extent provided for in section 5 of the Federal Trade Commission Act or the attorney general of a State as provided by subsection (d), shall have any authority to enforce this Act or any rule prescribed pursuant to this Act.

    (d) Enforcement by State Attorneys General-

      (1) CIVIL ACTION- In any case in which the attorney general of a State has reason to believe that an interest of the residents of that State has been or is threatened or adversely affected by any person who violates subsection (a), the attorney general, as parens patriae, may bring a civil action on behalf of the residents of the State in a district court of the United States of appropriate jurisdiction--

        (A) to enjoin further violation of such section by the defendant;

        (B) to compel compliance with such section; or

        (C) to impose a civil penalty under subsection (e).

      (2) INTERVENTION BY THE FTC-

        (A) NOTICE AND INTERVENTION- The State shall provide prior written notice of any action under paragraph (1) to the Federal Trade Commission and provide the Commission with a copy of its complaint, except in any case in which such prior notice is not feasible, in which case the State shall serve such notice immediately upon instituting such action. The Commission shall have the right--

          (i) to intervene in the action;

          (ii) upon so intervening, to be heard on all matters arising therein; and

          (iii) to file petitions for appeal.

        (B) LIMITATION ON STATE ACTION WHILE FEDERAL ACTION IS PENDING- If the Commission has instituted a civil action for violation of this Act, no attorney general of a State may bring an action under this subsection during the pendency of that action against any defendant named in the complaint of the Commission for any violation of this Act alleged in the complaint.

      (3) CONSTRUCTION WITH RESPECT TO POWERS CONFERRED BY STATE LAW- For purposes of bringing any civil action under paragraph (1), nothing in this Act shall be construed to prevent an attorney general of a State from exercising the powers conferred on the attorney general by the laws of that State.

    (e) Civil Penalty-

      (1) IN GENERAL- Notwithstanding any civil penalty that otherwise applies to a violation of a rule referred to in subsection (c)(1), any person who violates subsection (a) shall be liable for a civil penalty under this subsection.

      (2) AMOUNT- The amount of a civil penalty under this subsection shall be an amount equal to--

        (A) in the case of a wholesale sale in violation of subsection (a), the sum of--

          (i) 3 times the difference between--

            (I) the total amount charged in the wholesale sale; and

            (II) the total amount that would be charged in such a wholesale sale made at the wholesale fair market price; plus

          (ii) an amount not to exceed $3,000,000 per day of a continuing violation; or

        (B) in the case of a retail sale in violation of subsection (a), 3 times the difference between--

          (i) the total amount charged in the sale; and

          (ii) the total amount that would be charged in such a sale at the fair market price for such a sale.

      (3) DEPOSIT- Of the amount of any civil penalty imposed under this section with respect to any sale in violation of subsection (a) to a person that resides in a State, the portion of such amount that is determined under subparagraph (A)(i) or (B) (or both) of paragraph (2) shall be deposited into--

        (A) any account or fund established under the laws of the State and used for paying compensation to consumers for violations of State consumer protection laws; or

        (B) in the case of a State for which no such account or fund is establish by State law, into the general fund of the State treasury.

    (f) Criminal Penalty-

      (1) IN GENERAL- In addition to any other penalty that applies, a violation of subsection (a) is punishable--

        (A) in the case of a wholesale sale in violation of subsection (a), by a fine of not more than $150,000,000, imprisonment for not more than 2 years, or both; or

        (B) in the case of a retail sale in violation of subsection (a), by a fine of not more than $2,000,000, imprisonment for not more than 2 years, or both.

      (2) ENFORCEMENT- The criminal penalty provided by paragraph (1) may be imposed only pursuant to a criminal action brought by the Attorney General or other officer of the Department of Justice, or any attorney specially appointed by the Attorney General, in accordance with section 515 of title 28, United States Code.

Passed the House of Representatives May 3, 2006.

Attest:

KAREN L. HAAS,

Clerk.

Calendar No. 461

109th CONGRESS

2d Session

H. R. 5253

AN ACT

To prohibit price gouging in the sale of gasoline, diesel fuel, crude oil, and home heating oil, and for other purposes.


June 5, 2006

Read the second time and placed on the calendar