POLICY: Socking It to Big Oil

The nation's big energy companies did not know whether to laugh or cry last week. On the one hand, they were flooded with glowing second-quarter earning reports that testified to the industry's basic strength. But at the same time, they were besieged as never before by onslaughts launched by critics in the Carter Administration, Congress and consumer groups. At the very least, their opponents seek to place the companies under extremely tight federal scrutiny; at worst, they want to break up the companies into smaller—and almost certainly far less profitable—parts.

The rising...

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