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Vanderbilt Law Review

First Page

705

Abstract

The energy industry faces a crisis--an energy shortage that may not be alleviated for a number of years. Unlike the transitory regional supply shortages of the past, the present crisis is far more pervasive,threatening the industrial and economic progress of the nation. Authorities have predicted that this energy gap, spurred on by the convergence of a variety of circumstances affecting the delicate balance of supply and demand, will have collateral consequences that stagger the imagination, including sharp buyer competition for scarce fuel supplies and spiraling consumer prices for basic fuel services. The very existence of the crisis raises many grave questions. What factors caused the shortage? Will the energy industry be able to meet the burgeoning demand in future years? What action must be taken to avoid further crises? What can the federal government do under the existing laws and regulations to meet future energy problems? None of these questions admit to a categorical answer, but they do suggest the need for a comprehensive national energy policy that can help insure a constant fuel supply to meet the nation's expanding energy needs. The purpose of this Special Project is to analyze the current fuel markets and to investigate the antitrust and regulatory questions created by a decade of increasing concentration and interfuel combination. The Project will seek to identify actual and potential problem areas and suggest possible solutions within the antitrust and regulatory framework.

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