GOVERNMENT: Unwelcome Gift

The U.S. Supreme Court last week gave the Federal Power Commission a power it did not seek and does not want: authority to control natural gas prices charged by "independent" producers, i.e., those who are not affiliated with interstate pipeline companies. In the gas-producing states of Texas, Oklahoma and New Mexico, the reaction was one of dismay. Regulatory efforts by those states are aimed at conserving natural resources, and prices have a direct effect on conservation policies. At one time gas prices were so low that the gas was wasted; the expense of gathering it was more than the selling...

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