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Lawmakers renew effort to give Justice Dept. power to take on OPEC


Antitrust legislation that would give the Department of Justice new tools to go after the countries that make up the OPEC oil cartel is receiving fresh attention from a bipartisan group of lawmakers in the face of soaring prices at the pump.
 
The No Oil Producing and Exporting Cartels Act, or NOPEC, would allow the Justice Department to go after OPEC members with antitrust lawsuits. It recently advanced with bipartisan support in the Senate Judiciary Committee, and Democrats and Republicans in both chambers are lobbying their leaderships to back the proposal and hold floor votes.
 
But the energy industry and presidential administrations going back to Republican George W. Bush have opposed such an idea over fears it could spark retaliation, and take away power from the executive branch by limiting its diplomatic tools for engaging with foreign countries on a range of issues.

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