H.R. 6074 (110th): Gas Price Relief for Consumers Act of 2008

110th Congress, 2007–2009. Text as of May 21, 2008 (Placed on Calendar in the Senate).

Status & Summary | PDF | Source: GPO

HR 6074 PCS

Calendar No. 744

110th CONGRESS

2d Session

H. R. 6074

IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES

May 21, 2008

Received; read twice and placed on the calendar


AN ACT

To amend the Sherman Act to make oil-producing and exporting cartels illegal 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 `Gas Price Relief for Consumers Act of 2008'.

TITLE I--AMENDMENT TO SHERMAN ACT

SEC. 101. SHORT TITLE.

    This title may be cited as the `No Oil Producing and Exporting Cartels Act of 2008' or `NOPEC'.

SEC. 102. SHERMAN ACT.

    The Sherman Act (15 U.S.C. 1 et seq.) is amended by adding after section 7 the following:

    `Sec. 7A. (a) It shall be illegal and a violation of this Act for any foreign state, or any instrumentality or agent of any foreign state, to act collectively or in combination with any other foreign state, any instrumentality or agent of any other foreign state, or any other person, whether by cartel or any other association or form of cooperation or joint action--

      `(1) to limit the production or distribution of oil, natural gas, or any other petroleum product;

      `(2) to set or maintain the price of oil, natural gas, or any petroleum product; or

      `(3) 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.

    `(b) A foreign state engaged in conduct in violation of subsection (a) shall not be immune under the doctrine of sovereign immunity from the jurisdiction or judgments of the courts of the United States in any action brought to enforce this section.

    `(c) No court of the United States shall decline, based on the act of state doctrine, to make a determination on the merits in an action brought under this section.

    `(d) The Attorney General of the United States may bring an action to enforce this section in any district court of the United States as provided under the antitrust laws.'.

SEC. 103. SOVEREIGN IMMUNITY.

    Section 1605(a) of title 28, United States Code, is amended--

      (1) in paragraph (6) by striking `or' after the semicolon;

      (2) in paragraph (7) by striking the period and inserting `; or'; and

      (3) by adding at the end the following:

      `(8) in which the action is brought under section 7A of the Sherman Act.'.

TITLE II--CREATION OF DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE PETROLEUM INDUSTRY ANTITRUST TASK FORCE

SEC. 201. ESTABLISHMENT OF DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE PETROLEUM INDUSTRY ANTITRUST TASK FORCE.

    (a) Establishment of Task Force- The Attorney General shall establish in the Department of Justice a Petroleum Industry Antitrust Task Force (in this title referred to as the `Task Force').

    (b) Responsibilities of Task Force- The Task Force shall have the responsibility for--

      (1) developing, coordinating, and facilitating the implementation of the investigative and enforcement policies of the Department of Justice related to petroleum industry antitrust issues under Federal law,

      (2) consulting with, and requesting assistance from, other Federal entities as may be appropriate, and

      (3) preparing and submitting to the Congress an annual report that--

        (A) describes all investigatory and enforcement efforts of the Department of Justice related to petroleum industry antitrust issues, and

        (B) addresses the issues described in subsection (c).

    (c) Issues To Be Examined by Task Force- The Task Force shall examine all issues related to the application of Federal antitrust laws to the market for petroleum and petroleum products, including the following:

      (1) The existence and effects of any price gouging in sales of gasoline.

      (2) The existence and effects of any international oil cartels.

      (3) The existence and effects of any collusive behavior in controlling or restricting petroleum refinery capacity.

      (4) The existence and effects of any anticompetitive price discrimination by petroleum refiners or other wholesalers of gasoline to retail sellers of gasoline.

      (5) The existence and effects of any unilateral actions, by refiners or other wholesalers of petroleum products, in the nature of withholding supply or otherwise refusing to sell petroleum products in order to inflate the price of such products above competitive levels.

      (6) The existence and effects of any anticompetitive manipulation in futures markets or other trading exchanges relating to petroleum or petroleum products.

      (7) The existence and effects of any other anticompetitive market manipulation activities involving petroleum or petroleum products.

      (8) Any other anticompetitive behavior that impacts the price or supply of petroleum or petroleum products.

      (9) The advisability of revising the merger guidelines to appropriately take into account particular aspects of the petroleum and petroleum products marketplace.

      (10) The advisability of amending the antitrust laws in light of any competitive problems in the petroleum and petroleum products marketplace described in paragraphs (1)-(8) that cannot currently be effectively addressed under such laws.

    (d) Director of Task Force- The Attorney General shall appoint a director to head the Task Force.

    (e) Initial Report- The 1st report required by subsection (b)(2) shall be submitted to the Congress not later than December 31, 2008.

TITLE III--STUDY BY THE GOVERNMENT ACCOUNTABILITY OFFICE

SEC. 301. STUDY BY THE GOVERNMENT ACCOUNTABILITY OFFICE.

    (a) Study- Not later than 180 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Comptroller General of the United States shall conduct a study evaluating the effects of mergers addressed in covered merger consent decrees on competition in the markets involved, including the effectiveness of divestitures required under those consent decrees in preserving competition in those markets.

    (b) Report- Not later than one year after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Comptroller General shall submit a report to Congress and the Department of Justice regarding the findings of the study conducted under subsection (b).

    (c) Attorney General Consideration- Upon receipt of the report described in subsection (b), the Attorney General shall refer the report to the Task Force established under section 201, which shall consider whether any further enforcement action is warranted to protect or restore competition in any market affected by a transaction to which any covered merger consent decree relates.

    (d) Definition- In this section, the term `covered merger consent decree' means a consent decree entered in the 10-year period ending on the date of the enactment of this Act, in an enforcement action brought under section 7 of the Clayton Act against a person engaged in the business of exploring for, producing, refining, processing, storing, distributing, or marketing petroleum or petroleum products.

Passed the House of Representatives May 20, 2008.

Attest:

LORRAINE C. MILLER,

Clerk.

Calendar No. 744

110th CONGRESS

2d Session

H. R. 6074

AN ACT

To amend the Sherman Act to make oil-producing and exporting cartels illegal and for other purposes.


May 21, 2008

Received; read twice and placed on the calendar