News bites: Senators press DOJ on gas price spikes

Reuters reports that six senators want the Justice Department to probe whether market manipulation by West Coast refiners led to gasoline price spikes.

From their story:

The senators, all Democrats, want the Justice Department to conduct a "refinery-by-refinery probe" and subpoena records from California refineries to see whether public reports of maintenance shutdowns were accurate. Two of the state's largest refiners are Valero Energy Corp and Tesoro Corp.

"We are requesting a Department of Justice investigation of possible market manipulation and false reporting by oil refineries, which may have created a perception of a supply shortage when in fact refineries were still producing," the senators said in a letter to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder.

The Washington Post looks at the people facing criminal charges in the BP oil spill.

Time magazine’s Bryan Walsh compares the fiscal cliff to the “climate cliff” as the latest United Nations global warming talks open.

“The climate crisis is as real as the fiscal one—perhaps even more so. But we seem set on ignoring it, even as we go headfirst over the cliff,” he writes.

Bloomberg reports that oil prices traded near their lowest point in a week amid “concern that lawmakers are struggling to reach agreement on how to address the nation’s deficit.”