Sanders Applauds Tapping Oil Reserves

Says Speculator Curbs Would do More to Lower Gas Prices 

Sen. Bernie Sanders Thursday applauded the decision by the United States and other oil-consuming countries to push down energy prices by releasing 60 million barrels of oil from government reserves.

A member of the Senate energy committee, Sanders had called on President Obama to help lower prices by tapping the Strategic Petroleum Reserve.

Strict new limits on commodity market speculators, like those proposed in legislation  that Sanders introduced last week, would have a greater impact on lowering prices that consumers pay for gasoline and other fuels.

"I applaud the Obama administration for releasing oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, something that I have strongly supported doing for a long time.  While today's action is a positive step forward, much more needs to be done to bring real relief to Americans at the gas pump," Sanders said. 

"We have got to stop Wall Street speculators from ripping off the American people by constantly betting that oil prices will go up and up and up.  The bill that I introduced would eliminate excessive oil speculation once and for all."

Sanders' bill would force the chairman of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission to establish strong position limits to eliminate excessive oil speculation. It also would impose margin requirements so investors would have to back their bets with real capital.

In addition, the measure would classify as speculators bank holding companies, investment banks or hedge funds that engage in proprietary oil trading. The commission chairman would be given broad power to take any other actions needed to ensure that the price of crude oil, gasoline, diesel fuel, jet fuel, and heating oil accurately reflects the fundamentals of supply and demand.