Energy Trading Bill Defeated

By Published On: December 14, 2003

Senator Dianne Feinstein?s attempt to apply energy trading restraints in the post-Enron market failed November 5. After a lengthy floor debate, the vote was 56 to 41. ?That should be the end of the issue,? said one debate observer. After previously losing a close vote on the bill in June, Feinstein was given a second chance to propose it as an amendment to an appropriations bill, HR 2673. The language would have regulated the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, calling for exclusion of certain types of energy trades, such as swaps. Those trades were blamed for inflating the wholesale electricity market and were accused of causing runaway prices during the energy crisis. The bill also would have increased fines, from $5,000 to $1 million, for violating federal power and natural gas laws. The trading exemptions were made after intense lobbying efforts by Enron were documented in the 1990s.

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