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Co-sponsoring legislation to eliminate excessive oil speculation in response to turmoil in Iraq

(WASHINGTON, DC)  – U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) joined a coalition of Senators in introducing legislation to give federal regulators emergency power to stop speculators from taking advantage of turmoil in Iraq to drive up oil prices and make motorists pay more for gasoline. The legislation introduced Thursday is sponsored by Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and is cosponsored by 14 Senators, including Shaheen.

“Higher prices for fuel caused by excessive speculation continue to hurt consumers and small businesses, particularly as we enter the summer travel season,” Shaheen said. “We need to make sure the Commodity Futures Trading Commission acts quickly to reign in excessive speculation that puts a strain on American families and hurts our economy at a time when we can least afford it.”

The legislation would compel the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), the federal agency that regulates oil markets, to use all of its authority, including its emergency powers, to eliminate excessive oil speculation. Representative Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) has introduced a companion bill in the House.

Nationwide, the average price for a gallon of gas this week was $3.70-a-gallon, according to the Energy Information Administration, a dollar increase from what gas cost consumers five years ago. Shaheen has repeatedly spoken out against about the negative impact of speculation and the need to end the practice. Earlier this year, Shaheen was part of a group of New England Senators who called for the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to review of this winter’s natural gas prices to ensure that markets have been functioning properly and that prices have not been increased by speculation or manipulation. In March, Shaheed urged the CFTC to crack down on speculation in commodities markets and she had previously asked the Commission to establish rules to limit speculation in commodities markets.

To read the legislation, click here.