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Sen. Barack Obama on Sunday said as president he would strengthen government oversight of energy traders he blames in large part for the skyrocketing price of oil.
The Democratic candidate's campaign singled out the so-called "Enron loophole" for allowing speculators to run up the cost of fuel by operating outside federal regulation. Oil closed near $135 a barrel on Friday — almost double the price a year ago.
"My plan fully closes the Enron loophole and restores commonsense regulation as part
Obama's campaign blamed the loophole on former Sen. Phil Gramm, a Texas Republican who serves as Republican candidate Sen. John McCain's co-chairman and economic adviser. The Obama campaign accused Gramm of inserting a provision into a bill in late 2000 "at the behest of Enron lobbyists" that exempted some energy traders from government oversight.
Market fundamentals such as strong oil demand in China and India, a weak U.S. dollar and geopolitical tensions in big oil producing countries "provide the best explanation for crude oil price increases," Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) Chief Economist Jeffrey Harris told a Senate panel's hearing.
Harris said his agency, which regulates futures markets, has seen "little evidence that changes in speculative positions are systematically driving up crude oil prices."
Many senators on the Energy and Natural Resources Committee disagreed, saying hedge funds and other speculators had pushed up oil prices.
"There is an orgy of speculation in the futures markets," said Democrat Byron Dorgan. "This is a 24-hour casino with unbelievable speculation."
Congress told speculators not driving up oil price
Originally posted by jetxnet
Obama's lieing as usual. It is not the root cause (if at all) of any higher Gas prices. It is a global thing, not just US based. This should tell you something that is bigger than a US problem (i.e. China's booming economy placing higher demand on current supply chains).
Originally posted by LLoyd45
Why must he wait to push this legislation through until he's President? Why not start the ball to rolling now?
Originally posted by Keyhole
FINALLY!!! Somebody in Washington who actually even mentions the "Enron Loophole" and knows it needs to be fixed!
Originally posted by jamie83
I'm taking a wild guess that neither you nor Obama have any idea what the "Enron Loophole" is or how it might possibly affect oil prices.
Congress already has acted to close the loophole, including a provision in the huge farm bill that passed earlier this year. But Obama's campaign said the candidate would go further by requiring that U.S. energy futures be traded on regulated exchanges.
I don't really know how you could find out who adds what little tid-bit to each bill that is passed.