[Sign Up Now] to Receive Our FREE Daily SCVTV-SCVNews Digest by E-Mail

Inside
Weather
Santa Clarita CA
Cloudy
Cloudy
60°F
 
Calendar
Today in
S.C.V. History
May 23
1941 - SCV's first real movie house, the American Theater, dedicated in Newhall [story]


Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif.

[Sen. Feinstein] – Alarmed by the recent spike in gas prices, as well as shortages at California gas stations, U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., sent a second letter Monday to Jon Leibowitz, chairman of the Federal Trade Commission, asking for an immediate investigation to protect California’s consumers.

“California commuters are facing the highest gas prices and the longest commutes in the country,” Feinstein said.  “Paying hundreds of dollars to fill your tank every time you go to the pump is untenable, particularly because it does not appear the price spike and supply disruption are related to supply and demand.”

In her letter, Feinstein added: “California’s consumers are all too familiar with energy price spikes which cannot be explained by market fundamentals, and which turn out years later to have been the result of malicious and manipulative trading activity.  It is with this history in mind that I call on the FTC to act immediately and aggressively to protect California’s consumers.”

Full text of the letter follows:

 

October 7, 2012

The Honorable Jon Leibowitz

Chairman

Federal Trade Commission

600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW

Washington, DC 20580

 

Dear Chairman Leibowitz:

I am writing to express my deep concern that the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is failing to take action to protect California consumers from malicious trading schemes in the California gasoline market.

In order to uphold the FTC’s consumer protection mandate, I ask the Commission to open an immediate investigation into price spikes in California, to begin collecting relevant data on California’s gasoline markets, and to establish a permanent market monitoring team.  In 2007, Congress gave the FTC unique authority to investigate and prevent any manipulative or deceptive device or contrivance that could be resulting in unjustifiably high gasoline prices.  I believe the FTC can only uphold this mandate by actively monitoring markets and investigating unusual behavior.

First, I request that the FTC immediately initiate an investigation to determine if the price spike in Southern California this week results from an illegal short squeeze. A Reuters investigation cites industry sources who believe that the 97-cent price spike in CARBOB gasoline this past week “has many of the hallmarks of a classic short squeeze.” Multiple trade sources say Tesoro Corporation was caught short on supply. In the severely concentrated Los Angeles gasoline market, the few sellers were reportedly able to squeeze Tesoro either through collusion or use of market power.  An FTC investigation is likely the only way to determine whether this reported squeeze took place.

Publically available data appears to confirm that market fundamentals are not to blame for rising gas prices in California.  Despite a pipeline and refinery shut down, gasoline production in the state last week was almost as high as a year ago, and stockpiles of gasoline and blending components combined were equal to this time last year, state data show.

Second, I ask that the FTC immediately seek data sharing agreements that will allow it to monitor gasoline and oil markets actively and effectively.  Data on prices, trading activity, refinery output, demand, stocks, and other information are vital to determine if trading activities reflect fraud, manipulation, or other malicious trading practices.  While much of this data is currently collected, but not released, by the CFTC, the Energy Information Administration, the California Energy Commission, and private sources, the FTC does not collect, compile, or analyze this information in any organized or ongoing way.  I believe that obtaining relevant data is a basic prerequisite of effective consumer protection.

Third, I request that the FTC establish a permanent gasoline and oil market oversight unit modeled on the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s (FERC) Division of Energy Market Analytics and Surveillance.  As you know, FERC’s anti-manipulation authority in natural gas and electricity markets mirrors the FTC oil market authority nearly word for word.  With its authority, FERC has built an entire division of market monitoring professionals who oversee trading in real time to protect consumers from malicious trading practices.  I fail to understand why the FTC has not yet set up its own unit to oversee oil markets.

California’s consumers are all too familiar with energy price spikes which cannot be explained by market fundamentals, and which turn out years later to have been the result of malicious and manipulative trading activity.  In order to prevent such abuse from occurring again, Congress has spent more than ten years building up the market oversight authorities of the CFTC, the FTC and the FERC.  However, our efforts depend on aggressive and serious enforcement within the Commissions.

It is with this history in mind that I call on the FTC to act immediately and aggressively to protect California’s consumers.  I look forward to your prompt response and action.

Sincerely,

Dianne Feinstein

United States Senator

Comment On This Story
COMMENT POLICY: We welcome comments from individuals and businesses. All comments are moderated. Comments are subject to rejection if they are vulgar, combative, or in poor taste.
REAL NAMES ONLY: All posters must use their real individual or business name. This applies equally to Twitter account holders who use a nickname.

1 Comment

  1. eddy smith says:

    This only took how many years of gas price manipulation for a politician to do something? Now the next question will be,”How many politicians do the gas and oil lobbyists already own and will it protect the people or the gas and oil companies?

Leave a Comment


SCV NewsBreak
LOCAL NEWS HEADLINES
Tuesday, May 22, 2018
CHP to Conduct Maximum Enforcement Period for Memorial Day Weekend
SACRAMENTO – As the unofficial start of summer, Memorial Day weekend is a busy time on California roadways.
Tuesday, May 22, 2018
May 28: Eternal Valley Memorial Day Ceremony
Join the Santa Clarita Valley Chamber of Commerce in honoring fallen heroes at Eternal Valley's Annual Memorial Day Ceremony.
Tuesday, May 22, 2018
Becerra Files Brief to Protect Birth Control Access Under ACA
SACRAMENTO — California Attorney General Xavier Becerra filed a legal brief on Wednesday defending the nationwide preliminary injunction California secured on December 21, 2017, protecting birth control coverage under the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
Keep Up With Our Facebook

Latest Additions to SCVNews.com
1941 - SCV's first real movie house, the American Theater, dedicated in Newhall [story]
Bolstering a countywide movement to fight homelessness, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors approved an ordinance on Tuesday providing homeowners with new opportunities to build or convert existing spaces into Accessory Dwelling Units, also known as “backyard homes” or “granny flats.”
Supes Approve Housing Solution to Fight Homelessness
Here is the list of Santa Clarita arts-related events for May 24-June 2:
May 24-June 2: Santa Clarita Arts Calendar
LOS ANGELES – The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced its summer programming lineup this week for both Los Angeles and New York.
‘Grease’ 40th Anniversary, ‘Hairspray’ Among Academy’s Summer Screenings
On May 24, tech professionals, child welfare leaders, political figures and foster youth will descend on L.A.’s “Silicon Beach” to explore how technology can address some of the toughest issues facing Los Angeles County’s foster care system.
LA’s Tech, Child Welfare Sectors to Address County’s Foster Care System
In recognition of National 529 College Savings Day, the Santa Clarita Optimist Foundation’s Safety Town – Santa Clarita program announced Monday the launch of a 4-day promotion by ScholarShare 529, California’s state-sponsored college savings plan.
May 29-June 1: ScholarShare 529, 4-Day Promotion
LANCASTER – The California League announced Monday that JetHawks outfielder Vince Fernandez has been named Player of the Week for the period from May 14-20.
JetHawks’ Fernandez Named Cal League Player of the Week
When thinking about leadership positions in government, people often picture a man before considering a woman. These career-based gender stereotypes often psychologically institutionalize men and women.
CSUN Professor’s Film Tackles Gender Bias in Leadership Positions
Two months after being honorably discharged from the U.S. Marines, Leonel Gonzalez enrolled at College of the Canyons with the goal of becoming a psychologist.
After Overwhelming Start, COC Student Veteran Readies for Graduation
SACRAMENTO – As the unofficial start of summer, Memorial Day weekend is a busy time on California roadways.
CHP to Conduct Maximum Enforcement Period for Memorial Day Weekend
The Canyon Theatre Guild has announced the cast for its production of, "Gilligan's Island the Musical."
Canyon Theatre Guild Announces Cast of Gilligan’s Island the Musical
The California Enterprise Development Authority will hold a Teleconference Meeting, Thursday, May 24, 2018 at 10:30 a.m.
May 24: California Enterprise Development Authority Teleconference Meeting
The Santa Clarita Valley Sanitation District Board of Director's Regular Meeting will take place Friday, May 25, at 11:30 a.m.
May 25: Sanitation District Regular Meeting
The Santa Clarita Artists Association (SCAA) presented scholarship awards on Monday totaling $2,250 to three high school graduating seniors who are majoring in art in the SCV community.
Local Graduating Seniors Awarded with Art Scholarships
Join the Santa Clarita Valley Chamber of Commerce in honoring fallen heroes at Eternal Valley's Annual Memorial Day Ceremony.
May 28: Eternal Valley Memorial Day Ceremony
SACRAMENTO — California Attorney General Xavier Becerra filed a legal brief on Wednesday defending the nationwide preliminary injunction California secured on December 21, 2017, protecting birth control coverage under the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
Becerra Files Brief to Protect Birth Control Access Under ACA
1865 - Discoverer Ramon Perea and partner sell Pico Canyon oil claim to Edward Beale & Robert Baker for $300 [story]
Santa Clarita Valley condominiums that changed owners during April 2018 yielded a median price of $410,000, which set a record high and for the first time broke the $400,000 benchmark, the Southland Regional Association of Realtors reported Monday.
SCV Condo Median Prices at Record High as April Sales Jump
The Santa Clarita City Council will hold special and regular meetings at City Hall on Tuesday, May 22, starting at 5 p.m. and 6 p.m., respectively.
May 22: Santa Clarita City Council Special, Regular Meetings
“Fresh Meat,” a play by CSUN graduate student Karen Casady set to open next month as part of the Hollywood Fringe Festival, is the tale of a dalliance with cannibals and furries, and what happens when one small algorithm goes awry.
CSUN Grad Student Play About Cannibalism Set for Fringe Festival
The Santa Clarita Community College District’s Board of Trustees will hold its next business meeting at College of the Canyons’ Valencia campus on Wednesday, May 23, starting at 3 p.m.
May 23: COC Board of Trustees Business Meeting
With the goal of contributing to coral reef research, California State University, Northridge biology alumna Jessica L. Bergman has submitted her graduate thesis project, “Behavior of Brooded Coral Larvae in Response to Elevated pCO2,” to the National Science Foundation East Asia Pacific Summer Institute.
CSUN Grad Adds to Research on Acidification of Coral Larvae
College of the Canyons brought home three All-American designations and set a new school record during the two-day California Community College Athletic Association Track & Field State Championships hosted by Bakersfield College May 18-19.
Cougars Earn Three All-American Nods at CCCAA State Championships
College of the Canyons had 13 players recognized with All-Western State Conference East Division honors including sophomore slugger Calvin Estrada who was named Player of the Year, and sophomore southpaw Jacob Lopez who tossed a season worthy of Pitcher of the Year Honors.
Thirteen Cougars Named All-WSC; Lopez, Estrada Take Top Honors
College of the Canyons all-conference soccer goalkeeper Jordan Burrow will transfer to Ottawa University in the fall after committing to continue her playing career as a member of the Braves.
Canyons Goalkeeper Jordan Burrow Signs With Ottawa University
The Lancaster JetHawks are excited to announce that Major League Baseball Hall of Famer Roberto Alomar will appear at The Hangar in the festivities for the 2018 California League All-Star Game, to be presented by the city of Lancaster on Tuesday, June 19.
Hall of Famer Roberto Alomar Added to JetHawks’ All-Star Game Festivities
Michel Moore, the Los Angeles Police Department's First Assistant Chief and a Santa Clarita resident, is one of three finalists in the search for a new LAPD chief.
Santa Clarita Resident Michel Moore in Running for LAPD Chief
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is pleased to announce a donation to the Margaret Herrick Library and the Academy Film Archive from George Stevens, Jr., the award-winning filmmaker and founder of the American Film Institute.
AFI Founder George Stevens Jr. Donates Archive to AMPAS
The LA County Arts Commission and the Homeless Initiative Second Dwelling Units Pilot Program recently announced the winners of the Yes to ADU Design Competition, which invited artists, architects and engineers to submit concept designs for Accessory Dwelling Units — also known as “granny flats” or ADUs — as possible solutions to LA County’s homelessness crisis.
County Yes to ADU Design Winners Offer Homelessness Solutions
The Santa Clarita City Council hosted a dedication ceremony on Friday morning to celebrate a public art addition to one of the city’s busiest trails: the Santa Clarita Cycling Bear by local artist Frank Rock.
Santa Clarita Cycling Bear Dedicated During National Bike Week
The city of Santa Clarita has updated the list of productions shooting in the city and the Santa Clarita Valley for the week of May 21-27, 2018.
‘Mayans MC,’ ‘Missing Time,’ ‘Unbound’ Now Filming in Santa Clarita
Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk Dean C. Logan reminds eligible voters that the registration deadline to vote in the June 5 Statewide Primary Election is Monday night at 11:59 p.m.
Monday Last Day to Register to Vote in June Primary
The California Retail Survey, which compares retail sales activity for each of California’s 58 counties and 482 cities, ranked the city of Santa Clarita 22nd in retail sales in its most recent report.
Santa Clarita Ranks No. 22 in California Retail Survey
A bipartisan coalition of 39 state and territory Attorneys-General including California AG Xavier Becerra Monday urged Congress to combat the opioid epidemic by passing the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA) 2.0 and the Comprehensive Addiction Reform, Education and Safety (CARES) Act.
State AG’s Press Congress to Fight Opioid Epidemic
The Santa Clarita Valley Water Agency, or SCV Water, and Los Angeles County Waterworks District #36 have released their Annual Water Quality Report for 2018.
SCV Water Releases Annual Water Quality Report
The JetHawks allowed 10 extra-base hits, and 19 hits overall, in a 12-2 rubber-game loss to the Inland Empire 66ers on Sunday afternoon at San Manuel Stadium.
JetHawks Lose Rubber Game in 66ers Rout