Adding more fuel to the debate over oil costs, antitrust lawyers are warning Capitol Hill that pending legislation aimed at combating price hikes could backfire and might even harm the consumers the bill purports to protect.

The Oil and Gas Industry Antitrust Act of 2006, authored by Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Arlen Specter, R-Pa., targets a number of measures at the petroleum industry. They include amending antitrust law by making some supply actions illegal, allowing the Federal Trade Commission and the Department of Justice to sue OPEC and requiring studies by FTC and DOJ to assess their ability to regulate mergers, acquisitions and information exchanges among oil industry participants.

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