WASHINGTON (AP) - Congress needs to close the "Enron loophole"
and require the regulation of electronic commodity exchanges in the
energy markets to protect consumers, the head of a Senate
investigative panel said Monday.
Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., who chairs the Senate's permanent
subcommittee on investigations, said he would introduce legislation
shortly in response to speculative trading by Amaranth Advisors
LLC, which collapsed last year after losing more than $6 billion in
natural gas trades.
An investigation conducted earlier this year by Levin's Senate
panel found that Amaranth, in order to avoid trading limits it
faced on the New York Mercantile Exchange, shifted its activities
to InterContinental Exchange Inc., which does not have similar
Levin said the speculative bets partially were to blame for high
natural gas prices last winter that hurt consumers, local utilities
and school districts.
"Amaranth went into the casino, that's their business, but a
whole lot of folks who were impacted by the price increase that
resulted from the huge Amaranth gamble, those folks took a hit,"
Levin told reporters at the Platts Energy Podium.
Amaranth, which is based in Greenwich, Conn., folded last year
after losing about $6 billion.
(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)