TigerHawk has an interesting post defending the oil business (or we former Texan oil company hacks say, the "awl bidness") here. But after mulling the matter over, I've decided that Congress can do the least amount of harm to the nation if they take on a huge investigation of the oil companies.
I suggest they start trying to figure out how royalties are to be paid to oil royalty owners, including the fantastic Minerals Management Service. From there they can look at the rise in competition in buying crude oil. Maybe they can figure out how to get more oil from what are now considered "depleted" oil fields. Perhaps they can all take a camping trip the area of ANWR set aside for oil exploration and report back on the wonderful scenic vistas they observed. Perhaps they will spend a few weeks on an offshore rig in the Gulf of Mexico.
I further suggest they take a look at the environmental regulations they have passed over the years that have played a large role in making the building of new refineries more difficult and impacted the operation of the existing refineries. I suggest they look into the reasons why we are so dependent on oil, natural gas and coal instead of having developed a sound system of nuclear power plants. Perhaps they can explain the move to ethanol when there is a domestic shortage and a high tariff imposes against imported ethanol. Maybe they should look into how Brazil is getting so much more ethanol for its buck than we are.
Maybe they can figure out how to get oil from oil shale without polluting ground water (and how water can get to the oil shale in the first place).
Maybe they can calculate the cost of the accountants and auditors needed to comply with federal laws. And the attorneys...
Maybe they can do study on the transportation issues invloved in moving crude oil around the world, the cost of tankers, pipelines, and all the rest of it.
And the cost of moving refined product (not just gasoline) to every corner of the country. How does asphalt get from Corpus Christi to Dead Level, North Dakota, anyway? Or -Senator Schumer - from Corpus Christi to New York - do you have a clue?
That's enough to keep them busy for a couple of weeks. And keeping them busy means they won't be doing anything really stupid for a couple of weeks.
Way to go, Mr. President. You are way ahead of those bozos in Congress.