Learn more about our policy experts.

Media Contacts

Angela Bradbery, Director of Communications
w. (202) 588-7741
c. (202) 503-6768
abradbery@citizen.org, Twitter

Don Owens, Deputy Director of Communications
w. (202) 588-7767

Karilyn Gower, Press Officer
w. (202) 588-7779

David Rosen, Press Officer, Regulatory Affairs
w. (202) 588-7742

Other Important Links

Press Release Database
Citizen Vox blog
Texas Vox blog
Consumer Law and Policy blog
Energy Vox blog
Eyes on Trade blog

Follow us on Twitter


Feb. 25, 2016

CFTC Commissioners Should Reject Flawed Advisory Committee Report and Move Forward on Position Limit Rule That Will Protect Consumers

Statement of Tyson Slocum, Director, Public Citizen’s Energy Program

Note: Today, the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission’s (CFTC) Energy and Environmental Markets Advisory Committee (EEMAC) holds a public meeting in Washington, D.C. Some members of the advisory committee have advanced a report of questionable validity and origin that recommends the agency weaken a Dodd-Frank rule designed to protect consumers from energy price spikes caused by speculative buying in commodities markets. Tyson Slocum is the lone public interest and consumer representative on the advisory committee. View Slocum's dissenting remarks.

Despite the conclusions of the disputed advisory committee report, the long-stalled commodities position limit rule being considered by the CFTC should be approved as is by federal commissioners. The EEMAC’s majority report is a flawed compilation that presents no compelling new material to support overturning what the agency already has proposed. Therefore, the report should be rejected and the rule immediately adopted.

The debate around this proposed CFTC rule is more than simply a dispute about specifics in a committee report. The heart of the situation is whether the agency will do its job and protect consumers.

The 2010 Dodd-Frank Act clearly ordered the CFTC to establish position limits as a primary tool to combat the excessive speculation that had been harming consumers and hindering market integrity. While a federal court remanded the rule after a 2012 challenge by Wall Street trade associations, the re-proposed rule fully documents that excessive speculation has indeed been a major problem, and that position limits offer an important cure to help protect consumers.

If the CFTC moves forward with the rule, American consumers can expect that prices will be more a result of supply and demand rather than dictated by the whims of powerful speculators. Position limits are created for the purpose of maintaining stable and fair markets for consumers. Limits protect futures markets from excessive speculation that often create disastrous price spikes.

But the majority report ignores this evidence and instead, without providing any new evidence to back up its claims, argues that speculative position limits are unneeded; that if implemented they would cause harm to the market and market participation; and that for-profit exchanges – not public regulators – should instead apply flexible “position accountability regimes” that would be developed, overseen and run by the for-profit exchanges.

Public Citizen’s dissent from the majority report alleges that its conclusions are flawed because: 1) It was not a collaborative product; 2) It was authored on the independent initiative of only one of the nine members; 3) The report’s conclusions reflect the inadequate professional diversity of a committee whose membership is heavily weighted in favor of Wall Street and big energy interests; 4) The report ignores the large body of evidence and research showing the clear need for position limits; and 5) The for-profit exchanges feature numerous inherent conflicts of interests that render them inappropriate venues to enforce substitutes to CFTC-determined position limits.


Copyright © 2016 Public Citizen. Some rights reserved. Non-commercial use of text and images in which Public Citizen holds the copyright is permitted, with attribution, under the terms and conditions of a Creative Commons License. This Web site is shared by Public Citizen Inc. and Public Citizen Foundation. Learn More about the distinction between these two components of Public Citizen.

Public Citizen, Inc. and Public Citizen Foundation


You can support the fight for greater government and corporate accountability through a donation to either Public Citizen, Inc., or Public Citizen Foundation, Inc.

Public Citizen lobbies Congress and federal agencies to advance Public Citizen’s mission of advancing government and corporate accountability. When you make a contribution to Public Citizen, you become a member of Public Citizen, showing your support and entitling you to benefits such as Public Citizen News. Contributions to Public Citizen are not tax-deductible.

Public Citizen Foundation focuses on research, public education, and litigation in support of our mission. By law, the Foundation can engage in only very limited lobbying. Contributions to Public Citizen Foundation are tax-deductible.