Kucinich Calls for Stronger Rules to Protect Consumers from Oil Speculation

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Nathan White (202)225-5871

Kucinich Calls for Stronger Rules to Protect Consumers from Oil Speculation

CLEVELAND, Ohio - Fifteen to thirty dollars in the price of a barrel of oil is attributable to oil speculators. At $106 a barrel, the price of oil is leading to increased gas prices for consumers. Consumers in the Cleveland area are now paying $3.74 a gallon for gasoline and the price is expected to rise further. Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) wrote to the Chairman of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission calling for stronger rules to prevent speculation.

In testimony before the Oversight and Government Reform Committee, Congressman Kucinich elicited from Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK) an admission that as much as $15 to $18 dollars is added to the price of a barrel of oil as a result of Wall Street speculation. The Consumer Federation of America estimates it is closer to $30 per barrel in 2011.

See Congressman Kucinich’s questioning of Senator Coburn here. The full text of Kucinich’s letter follows. See a signed copy here.

Gary Gensler
Chairman, Commodity Futures Trading Commission

Three Lafayette Center

1155 21st Street North West
Washington, D.C. 20581

Dear Chairman Gensler,

Today, drivers in Cleveland are paying more than $3.74 per gallon of gasoline according to the Energy Information Administration. That is a nearly 35 cent-per-gallon or 10% increase in the last month. As the Commodity Futures Trading Commission’s (C.F.T.C.) recent “Commitment of Traders” report shows, speculators on Wall Street and elsewhere reinforce their own gambling on the price of oil by issuing prophecies of ever-higher oil prices.

Americans deserve the strongest protection against the illegal and immoral behavior of those looking to exploit the market for their personal gain at the expense the rest of us. That is why I fought to strengthen the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, which authorized the rule limiting position limits on futures and swaps contracts, including contracts for oil that will take effect later this year. I strongly urge the C.F.T.C to move swiftly to implement the strongest rule possible.

Until it does, I strongly urge the C.F.T.C. to utilize its authority under the recently-finalized rule strengthening the Commodity Exchange Act so that it can aggressively pursue market manipulators in futures markets. I stand ready to help you in that effort.

My constituents need relief. I look forward to working with you to find a way to protect Ohioans from excessive speculation.

Sincerely,

Dennis J. Kucinich

Member of Congress

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