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May 13, 2009

Public Citizen Urges Strong Regulations Over Energy and Carbon Emissions Markets to Protect Households From Unfair Prices

At Energy and Environmental Advisory Committee, Program Director Tyson Slocum Will Advocate Reining in Financial Speculators

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Tyson Slocum, director of Public Citizen’s Energy Program, today begins his service to the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission’s Energy and Environmental Markets Advisory Committee. In this capacity, Public Citizen will be providing advice to federal regulators on how best to regulate energy commodity markets and emerging carbon emission markets as part of proposed cap and trade climate legislation.

The 33-member committee, which will address carbon and emissions trading, is an expansion of an existing committee, which was focused exclusively on energy markets. As Congress considers the creation of a new, trillion-dollar carbon derivatives market as part of climate legislation, Public Citizen’s participation as the lone public interest consumer advocate will be to ensure that strong regulations are implemented in futures markets to protect households from harmful speculation.

“Deregulation and lack of transparency in commodity markets have been disastrous for households trying to make ends meet. Markets that are fully transparent and overseen by strong, well-funded regulators help limit the harmful role of financial speculators and ensure that prices are fair,” Slocum said.

Stronger regulations over energy and emission trading markets would reduce the level of speculation and limit the ability of Wall Street investment banks and hedge funds to engage in anti-competitive behavior that contributed to the record-high energy prices Americans have faced.

With the goals of creating the ideal regulatory framework for energy markets and creating a model for the cap and trade carbon market proposed in Reps. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) and Edward Markey’s (D-Mass.) climate change bill, Public Citizen’s seat at the table will help ensure consumer interests are represented in a forum historically controlled by Wall Street speculators and polluting industries.

“Public Citizen will use this appointment to ensure that the Commodity Futures Trading Commission hears from consumers about the need for strong regulations and consumer protections for energy and environmental markets,” said Sidney Wolfe, M.D., acting Public Citizen president.

In February, Slocum testified before the U.S. House Committee on Agriculture about the need for Congress to restore transparency to the futures market, where energy prices are set. Slocum’s proposed reforms include fully regulating the over-the-counter derivative market.

READ Slocum’s February testimony.

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