School bus driver Barb Russell heard there was good money to be made here in the oil fields of North Dakota, so last month she packed a bag, locked her Farmington, Minn., home, and headed west. She tripled her income.
Environmentalists and industry experts say a leaked cable is among several examples from unguarded moments and public documents that signal the administration’s willingness to push ahead with the controversial pipeline, even as its agencies conduct environmental and economic reviews.
The Federal Trade Commission confirmed Monday that it’s opened a broad investigation into the companies that turn crude oil into gasoline, looking into whether they have engaged in anti-competitive practices or manipulation to drive up prices at the pump.
When al-Qaida tried in 2006 to blow up Saudi Arabia’s Abqaiq oil processing facility, arguably the world’s most important petroleum hub, it was taken as a sign of strength that internal security had foiled the attack. U.S. State Department cables tell a different story.
Nearly nine in 10 traders betting that oil prices would rise this spring were financial speculators, not end-users of oil, Commodity Futures Trading Commission Chairman Gary Gensler said. He vowed that his agency will soon act “to guard against the burdens of excessive speculation.”
With oil trading near $100 a barrel and gasoline near $4 a gallon at the pump, Americans can take solace in knowing that securing sources of oil has been a chief focus of U.S. embassies across the globe for years. Of 251,287 State department documents WikiLeaks passed to news organization, 23,927 of them — nearly one in 10 — reference oil.
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