Public Statements & Remarks

Opening Statement of Commissioner Caroline D. Pham before the Energy and Environmental Markets Advisory Committee

June 27, 2023

I’m pleased to welcome today’s meeting of the Energy and Environmental Markets Advisory Committee (EEMAC), its third under the sponsorship of Commissioner Mersinger.  I want to thank Commissioner Mersinger and EEMAC Secretary Lauren Fulks for highlighting important issues out west, since I’m a native Californian.

The American West has been the site of highly productive mining and metals production for more than 100 years, including the nearby Kennecott Copper Mine situated outside Salt Lake City, which Commissioner Mersinger led a visit to yesterday.[1]  The Kennecott Mine is one of the world’s largest and deepest open-pit copper mines and has significantly influenced Utah’s economy and geography.[2]  The production of cooper at Kennecott Copper Mine contributes significantly to the overall global supply of copper.[3]

This EEMAC meeting truly drives home the point that the CFTC has been deeply grounded in the real economy.  Of course, mining operations and production here in Utah and the West play a crucial role in informing the price of copper futures.  Since 1988, producers and end users have been able to use CFTC-regulated copper futures to manage risks—in turn helping to provide greater price discovery for the markets, which generates benefits for the entire value chain all the way to consumers.

Today’s program reflects how important derivatives remain to our economy and our future.  Metals such as copper are important inputs to the energy transition and energy infrastructure, raising even higher the stakes of today’s challenges such as inflation, rising interest rates, geopolitical events, and supply chain issues,[4] and the need for market-based solutions.  Given the CFTC’s decades of experience with risk management, price discovery, and ensuring market integrity including pricing information—and promoting responsible innovation—I look forward to the EEMAC’s discussion of wetland mitigation credits.[5]

And how fitting that we gather in person and virtually at the Weber County Public Library near Salt Lake City to learn about these important issues.  Weber County, which attracted fur trappers in the 1800s and the aerospace industry now,[6] is an example of a region’s significant contributions to American innovation.  Finally, I want to thank the EEMAC members, associate members, and subcommittee members for making sure that the EEMAC is an excellent source of expertise, experience, and shared work on our country’s essential resources, markets, and products.

[1] Philip F. Notarianni, “Copper Mining,” Utah History Encyclopedia (University of Utah Press 1994).

[4] Yusuf Khan, “Copper Shortage Threatens Green Transition,” Wall Street Journal (Apr. 18, 2023); IEA, “The Role of Critical Minerals in Clean Energy Transitions,” World Energy Outlook Special Report (March 2022).

[5] Patrick W. Hook & Spenser T. Shadle, “Navigating Wetland Mitigation Markets: A Study of Risks facing Entrepreneurs and Regulators,” Yale Center for Business and the Environment (Dec. 2013),