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- Welch presses top regulator to crack down on Wall Street speculators driving up gas prices
Wed, Mar 7, 2012 09:58 AM
Rep. Peter Welch (D-Vt.) recently pressed the head of the agency
tasked with regulating energy market speculation to crack down on
Wall Street speculators who are driving gas prices higher and
Welch questioned Commodities Future Trading Commission (CFTC)
Chairman Gary Gensler at a House Agriculture Committee hearing Feb
29 morning on a Goldman Sachs report that speculation is adding
nearly $25 to the price of a barrel of oil. The CFTC has said
that Wall Street speculators are adding up to $15 to the price of a
tank of gas.
"We have low demand for oil and higher than normal supply yet gas
prices in Vermont and around the country have spiked nearly 20
cents in the last month alone," Welch said. "Why? Because
Wall Street speculators are rolling their dice yet again and
consumers are paying the price for their winnings. Congress needs
to get the cop back on the beat and shut down their casino."
Welch is pushing his legislation to provide a dedicated funding
stream for CFTC so it can crack down on speculators. At the Feb 29
hearing, Chairman Gensler welcomed Welch's legislation and urged
Congress to act on it.
Welch is simultaneously working to throw a wrench in speculators'
activity and bring immediate relief to Vermonters at the pump. He
is lobbying President Obama to release oil from the nation's
strategic petroleum reserve which, history shows, undermines that
speculative bets being placed by Wall Street speculators. The last
four presidents have released oil from the reserve with the effect
of lowering gas prices between eight and 33 percent.