The title of the article in Friday’s Wall Road Journal — “Drivers Feel Pinch of Climbing Fuel Prices” — says all of it. But we now have an anomaly in our courts, irresponsibly supported by the govt and legislative branches of our authorities, in the manner that our courts interpret Sovereign Immunity and, in flip, its affect on our each day lives. Technically talking, Sovereign Immunity is a legal doctrine by which the sovereign state cannot commit a authorized fallacious and is subsequently immune from civil swimsuit or authorized prosecution. But right here it has been prolonged by our courts, with the backing of our government department and the acquiescence of our legislative branch, to giving sure nationwide business entities a free cross overriding our legal guidelines reminiscent of these relating to anti-trust and commercial collusion.
Quite incredibly sovereign immunity has for years been prolonged to the machinations of OPEC cartel members and their very vital enterprise pursuits in the United States. Just last Might a turning valve ceremony passed off at Port Arthur, Texas, bringing on stream the growth of the Motiva Refinery, now the most important refinery within the United States owned and operated jointly by Saudi Aramco (Saudi Arabia’s national oil company) and Shell (a lot in the style of the Aramco-Shell “SASREF” refinery operating on the very coronary heart of Saudi Arabia’s petrochemical trade, Jubail Industrial City).
But OPEC’s tentacles lengthen additional into U.S. gasoline and petroleum product manufacturing and their markets. Right here we now have happily gouging American shoppers via the OPEC-manipulated value of oil, the huge presence of Petroleos de Venezuela’s (PDVSA, Venezuela’s nationally owned oil company) with refineries and amenities in Houston and Corpus Christie Texas; Lamont, Unwell.; Paulsboro, N.J.; Lake Charles and Chalmette in Louisiana; Savannah, Ga., and St. Croix within the Virgin Islands refining and advertising and marketing gasoline, jet fuel, diesel, petrochemicals, lubricants, asphalt. All along with a capacity of more than a million barrels per day — this while proudly owning and operating greater than thirteen,000 gas stations all through the U.S. and Puerto Rico.
Here we have now two main gamers within the U.S. gasoline market whose guardian company’s objective is not to supply competitively priced gasoline and petroleum products to service the U.S. market and its pinched consumers, however moderately to maintain the value of oil excessive and have the quoted price of WTI (West Texas Intermediate — the U.S. benchmark on the commodity exchanges) quoted at levels approaching these of Brent Crude (the more international and significantly increased benchmark price quoted on the London Change).
Being tied to the OPEC Cartel, their goals can readily be alleged to be at clear variance with those of a stand alone refinery needing to source its crude oil within the market. The stand alone refinery would do its utmost to procure the least expensive supply of crude and do all it may to cut back the worth of oil in its procurement insurance policies thereby servicing the gasoline market at probably the most aggressive price possible. Not so with the OPEC Frankensteins given their cozy and open access to our markets whose aims could be reasonably construed to push up the price of the core input of the refining industry, crude oil.
Would the built-in U.S.-based producers of crude oil and refined petroleum products resembling ExxonMobil, Chevron, etc., collude as to the output and pricing of their crude oil manufacturing they would be behind bars long since. A detailed Justice Department look at the machinations of crude oil procurement of Motiva and Citgo may yield some vital and oil market moving/gasoline pricing outcomes.
Astonishingly, our government, most particularly the govt department, has been a staunch defender of the courtroom’s interpretation of sovereign immunity as it applies to the distortions vested on the American consumer by OPEC nationwide oil companies. In the case of Spectrum Stores Inc. v Citgo Petroleum Corporation (case no. 09-20084 -C.A. 5. Feb. Eight, 2011), alleging that Citgo, as an oil production company in its affiliation with the OPEC member PDVSA, was in violation of the Sherman Act and Clayton antitrust act, the court docket dominated for Citgo citing the following rationale:
“Because the political question doctrine is jurisdictional, we deal with it Fawley first. Once we accomplish that, we discern that the complaints before us successfully problem the structure of OPEC and its relation to the worldwide manufacturing of petroleum. Convinced that these matters deeply implicate considerations of international and defense coverage, considerations that constitutionally belong within the government and legislative departments, we conclude that we lack jurisdiction to adjudicate the claims. We hold alternatively that the complaints search a remedy that is barred by the act of state doctrine, that is, an order and judgment that might interfere with sovereign nations’ control over their own pure resources. Accordingly, we affirm the judgment dismissing the complaints.”
Astoundingly, in whole disregard of the monetary and economic injury that the OPEC-associated oil firms are inflicting on both national and international economies our government department had gone full bore in siding with the courts decision by having the Justice Division, the Commerce Division, the Division of Energy, State Department submit amicus briefs in help of the Appellees (Citgo et. al.) and in affirmation of the judgment.
The legislative department of our government has been more proactive on this concern (please see (“NOPEC ‘No Oil Producing and Exporting Cartels Act’: A Presidential Difficulty and Check of Political Integrity” 09.10.12) from which the next is taken:
“But some years ago, in 2007, there was a real effort to alter the equation in a elementary approach when Congress voted overwhelmingly, in defiance of the oil lobby and their allied pursuits for the NOPEC bill, so named because it might permit the international oil cartel, OPEC, and its national oil companies working outdoors the law, hiding behind our sovereign immunity shield, to be sued and held accountable for what are clearly anti-aggressive attempts to restrict the world’s provide of petroleum and the consequent impression on oil prices.
In defiance of oil pursuits Congress voted overwhelmingly for the Bill (70 votes to 23 within the Senate and 345 to seventy two within the Home). This was an act of refreshing and courageous leadership by our Congress only to be abandoned after President George W. Bush, that nice stalwart of oil interests and pal of Saudi Arabia, made it clear that he would veto the invoice ought to it land on his desk.”
Regretfully the Obama administration has executed little on this situation as pointed out within the weblog submit above, aside from have its agencies file amicus briefs in help of our courts current interpretation of Sovereign Immunity while American shoppers struggle with gas prices which have risen by 50 cents up to now month alone.
It’s unbelievable that at the moment and beneath these circumstances we’re giving a free move to members of the OPEC coven, something we denied to John D. Rockefeller and his Commonplace Oil. At that time the reining in of the standard Oil monopoly was an act of national coverage that was key to making a freely aggressive marketplace that was essential to America’s rising industrial ascendancy.
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