Opening Statement of Commissioner Caroline D. Pham before the Energy and Environmental Markets Advisory Committee
September 20, 2022
Good morning. I am excited to be attending my first EEMAC meeting as a CFTC Commissioner. I am sorry that I couldn’t be with you in Oklahoma today as I had originally planned. In fact, one of my earliest assignments as an intern at the CFTC was to research Cushing, and I had hoped to finally see it with my own eyes and see if I got it right.
I would like to thank Commissioner Mersinger for her sponsorship of this Committee and the EEMAC members for their service. I am thrilled that the EEMAC will have the benefit of Commissioner Mersinger’s sponsorship and leadership. The EEMAC hits close to home because energy and commodity markets impact our everyday lives. Without efficient and effective markets, we feel the impact in just about every aspect of our daily lives, from the moment we turn on the lights, to sitting down to dinner. Commissioner Mersinger’s focus on ensuring that the CFTC pursues policies that promote reliable energy supplies and stable prices for all Americans is more important than ever.
The pain of energy costs this summer has been well-documented: everyone was impacted, whether with gas prices on road trips or electricity bills for air conditioning. Overseas, policymakers are grappling with the fallout from the Russian pipeline shutdown, proposing to curb energy consumption in response. More drastic measures reportedly considered included price caps on wholesale power and gas, as well as suspending derivatives trading, and imposing bands for futures trading.
The CFTC is a regulator with decades of experience in volatile energy markets under stress and has shown global leadership in developing appropriate policy responses. We, as CFTC Commissioners, need to consider the vital role our markets play in the current conditions. It is critical to have this advisory forum for expert input from the public, and I look forward to the EEMAC’s consideration of these and other issues in the coming years.
 Patti Domm, Gasoline Prices May Have Peaked for the Summer and Could Be Headed Below $4, CNBC, (July 20, 2022), https://www.cnbc.com/2022/07/20/gasoline-prices-may-have-hit-summer-peak-and-could-be-headed-below-4-.html.
 Scott Horsley, Soaring Electricity Bills Are the Latest Inflation Flashpoint, NPR, (Sept. 13, 2022), https://www.npr.org/2022/09/13/1122371879/electricity-utilities-gasoline-gas-prices-inflation-august-cpi-consumer-prices.
 Kate Abnett, Industry Says EU Plan to Tackle Energy Crisis Falls Short, Reuters, (Sept. 16, 2022), https://www.reuters.com/markets/europe/industry-says-eu-plan-tackle-energy-crisis-falls-short-2022-09-16/.
 Nora Buli & Julia Payne, Price Caps Are a Bad Idea, European Energy Association Says, Reuters, (Sept. 13, 2022).
 Rebekah Tunstead, EU Plan to Suspend Power Derivatives Gets Icy Response, Risk.net, (Sept. 8, 2022).
 The spring 2020 volatility in the energy markets is a recent example, which included price and demand swings for oil, as well as exchange circuit breakers being hit. See CFTC Interim Staff Report, Trading in NYMEX WTI Crude Oil Futures Contract Leading Up To, On, and Around April 20, 2020 (Nov. 23, 2020).