With a hatred usually reserved only for the boogeyman or Lindsay Lohan movies, the U.S. Senate has set its sights on energy traders accused of driving up oil prices with a new bill aimed at cracking down on excessive oil speculation. The bill is being championed by Senate Democrats to try to get record oil prices under control. However, they face opposition from Senate Republicans, who argue that the bill should also open up offshore oil production currently banned by federal law. They argue that by just focusing on speculators, the bill will fail to fix the supply and demand problems that are also affecting oil prices. The Democrats counter that E&Ps already have access to enough federal lands to accomodate production needs. However, if you're looking for radical changes in any kind of policy, you might as well keep looking. Democrats only hold a slight majority in the Senate, which means both parties have enough voting power to halt any policies brought up by the other side. And since Democrats and Republicans seem to have fundamentally different views on what is causing high oil prices, we're unlikely to see any definitive laws be enacted unless they're severely watered down to the point that they do nothing. –Stephen Payne, Editor, Oil and Gas Investor This Week; www.OilandGasInvestor.com; spayne@hartenergy.com