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ATA Supports Bill to Curb Energy Market Speculation

April 20, 2010

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Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D-Ark.) has introduced legislation to curb excessive commodity speculation and protect the trucking industry's ability to hedge its exposure to increased fuel prices.
The American Trucking Associations expressed its support for the bill, which could be attached to the comprehensive Financial Reform Legislation.

"The trucking industry appreciates Sen. Lincoln's leadership on this critical piece of legislation that will increase transparency in energy markets and reign in excessive speculation," said Rich Moskowitz, ATA vice president. "The legislation will help ensure that fuel prices are linked to the market forces of supply and demand."

According to the ATA, speculators have made it difficult for the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) to effectively regulate and oversee commodity markets, which determine the price for crude oil, gasoline, and home heating fuels.

Lincoln's legislation includes mandatory clearing and trading requirements and real-time reporting of derivatives trades that will close existing loopholes in the energy futures markets. The draft legislation is aimed at such financial players as hedge funds and insurance companies, while leaving an exemption from clearing and exchange trading requirements for other commercial hedgers such as trucking companies, petroleum marketers, utilities, airlines and farmers.

"Diesel fuel is the lifeblood of the trucking industry, and sudden fluctuations in operating expenses, especially fuel, can devastate trucking companies," said Moskowitz. "Increasing transparency and setting position limits while preserving the ability of commercial entities to hedge fuel purchases will strengthen the link between commodity prices and market fundamentals."

A copy of Sen. Lincoln's draft legislation can be found at http://ag.senate.gov/site/legislation.html.

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