Opening Statement of Chairman Gary Gensler, Commodity Futures Trading Commission, Meeting of: The Energy and Environmental Markets Advisory Committee

September 16, 2009

Good morning. Thank you Commissioner Chilton for chairing today’s meeting of the Energy and Environmental Markets Advisory Committee. I look forward to a productive discussion of some of the key issues facing the Commodity Futures Trading Commission.

I’d also like to join Commissioner Chilton in welcoming all of the EEMAC members. I wish to thank you for all of your advice and contributions.

Energy markets are at the forefront of the CFTC’s regulatory agenda. The top seven energy contracts that we regulate have a notional value of nearly $700 billion. It is essential that this agency continues to police the energy markets for fraud, manipulation and other abuses by promoting market integrity and enhancing transparency.

Earlier this summer, we held three hearings into if the Commission should set position limits in the energy markets. The Congress mandated in our statute that the CFTC set position limits to protect the American public. We do so in the agriculture markets. Working with the exchanges, we did so for energy and metals contracts through June, 2001. In that regard, I understand that a major exchange will release a White Paper on position limits later today. I thank them for their contribution to this dialogue and look forward to reviewing their paper. I believe that we should continue to seriously consider the benefits of position limits. I look forward as well to hearing from EEMAC members on this issue.

We also are working with Congress to ensure that the “trade” part of any “cap-and-trade” legislation is effectively regulated. Last week I testified on behalf of the Commission at a Senate Agriculture Committee hearing on the CFTC’s experience and expertise regulating emissions trading markets. The Commission already oversees trading and clearing of futures and options contracts based on sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxide and carbon dioxide allowances and offsets listed on the New York Mercantile Exchange and the Chicago Climate Futures Exchange. I believe that the CFTC is best equipped to regulate the larger carbon trading markets that would be created as a result of cap-and-trade legislation. I hope that EEMAC members will provide insight into current regulatory practices and how the Commission can best regulate a bigger market for carbon allowances and offsets.

Again, I’d like to thank my fellow Commissioners and EEMAC members for participating in today’s meeting. I look forward to learning from the presenters and having a good dialogue on the most important energy and environmental issues facing the Commission. Thank you again Commissioner Chilton for calling this meeting.

Last Updated: June 10, 2010