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Snowe, Feinstein and Levin Call for Inclusion of Bi-Partisan Energy Transparency Legislation in Final Farm Bill Extension

Snowe-Feinstein-Levin Passed Legislation would Close the “Enron Loophole”

WASHINGTON D.C. – U.S. Senators Olympia J. Snowe (R-Maine), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Carl Levin (D-Mich.) called on Senate leaders to include legislation to strengthen regulation of energy trading in the Farm Bill reauthorization conference agreement.  The Senate passed similar legislation co-sponsored by Senators Feinstein, Levin and Snowe as part of the Farm Bill in December of 2007 that would increase federal oversight authority to detect and prevent manipulation in U.S. electronic energy markets, create an audit trail, and increase transparency.

“Americans have lost confidence in our energy markets,” said Senator Snowe.  “It is clear that traders are rushing into the oil futures markets and it absolutely critical that we ensure that these transactions are transparent and consistent with the fundamentals of futures trading.  The price of oil and gasoline has a tremendous impact on consumers and we must provide the regulatory framework that ensures that these prices are dictated by supply and demand, rather than manipulation by energy traders.”

“I hope the conferees will be able to reach agreement on this legislation and include it in the Farm Bill extension,” Senator Levin said.  “With speculation in the energy markets helping to push up energy prices to record levels, it is critical that our federal regulators be able to detect and prevent price manipulation and excessive speculation.”

“The need for transparency in our nation’s electronic energy markets has never been greater. Energy prices are skyrocketing. The price of oil topped more than $108 per barrel this week. Gas prices have spiked to $3.50 in California -- and, in some places, $4 per gallon. Millions of American families are struggling with the high cost of heating their homes,” Senator Feinstein said. “It’s time for Congress to pass this measure to prevent unscrupulous traders from manipulating prices and driving up energy costs.”

The Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, chaired by Senator Levin, and the Government Accountability Office (GAO) recently released reports identifying gaps in the federal oversight in energy markets.  The Commodity Futures Trading Commission also issued a report recommending legislation to increase federal oversight authority of electronic trading platforms where much of the energy market remains unregulated today.  The legislation passed by the Senate is now in conference with the House of Representatives as part of the Farm Bill. 


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