Democratic Senate candidate Bruce Lunsford held a press conference this afternoon to unveil his eight-point energy independence plan. Lunsford says the plan will provide both short-term relief and long-term solutions.
Here’s Lunsford’s plan from his press release. Let’s discuss.
Opening Up the Strategic Reserve. The Lunsford Plan would take a two-fold approach to the Strategic Petroleum Reserve. It would continue the moratorium on putting new oil into the Reserve, as well as releasing barrels from the Reserve into the marketplace to lower gas prices. This could put up to 50 million barrels of oil back into supply, which would have an impact on prices. In the past, America has tapped the SPR which resulted in a dramatic decrease in price. [Energy Information Administration; New York Times, 9/23/00; Center For American Progress, “Sell Oil From The Strategic Petroleum Reserve To Lower Prices,” 6/13/08]
Fully Closing The “Enron Loophole.” The “Enron loophole” allows hedge funds, investment banks, and other Wall Street speculators to secretly buy and sell oil contracts. It is named after Enron, the notorious energy trading company, which pushed for a provision that kept energy trading off of regulated exchanges, evading speculation limits and accountability. Experts, including oil executives and economists, say that speculation trading has potentially increased oil prices by as much $40 per barrel, or $1 per gallon of gas. The Lunsford Plan would fully clamp down on Wall Street traders who are driving up oil prices in search of paper profits and bring more accountability to energy trading. [Congressional Quarterly Weekly, 4/12/08; Business Week Online, 5/14/08; Detroit Free Press, 10/31/07; Dr. Mark Cooper, Testimony Before Senate Commerce, Science, And Transportation Committee, 6/3/08]
Read the rest after the jump…