WASHINGTON, March 20, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- A recent court decision limiting the U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission's (FERC) market enforcement authority is disappointing and highlights an issue that may be ripe for legislative action, FERC Commissioner Tony Clark said Wednesday at a Platts Energy Podium newsmaker event in Washington.
"The unfortunate outcome is that there is less light in an area that deserves it and ultimately the public's interest is harmed when that happens," Clark said. Clark is the newest of the FERC's five commissioners.
Clark was referring to a March 15 decision by the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals that held that the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) has exclusive jurisdiction over futures trades.
The court tossed out FERC's $30 million penalty against natural gas futures trader Brian Hunter for allegedly manipulating the New York Mercantile Exchange natural gas futures contracts in the spring of 2006. The CFTC is separately prosecuting Hunter for allegedly manipulating those markets.
Clark told the Platts Energy Podium that he wished the court had taken a different path.
"I was disappointed with the decision. I would have hoped that there might have been a way for the court to attempt to harmonize the statutes that were at play in a way that could have I think in the best way protected the public's interest."
The ruling may mean that there is less oversight of cross-market manipulation, he said.
"I don't think that's what Congress intended, so there may be a legislative fix that's needed."
FERC has a number of enforcement proceedings pending, involving alleged market manipulation by companies that traded at a loss in either a financial or physical electricity market in order to gain in the other market.
For now, it is tough to tell what impact the Hunter decision will have on FERC's current and future enforcement work, Clark said.
"I think it might be a bit of a stretch to say that it impacts all of these cases that we have," he said, noting that Hunter was not trading in the physical markets that FERC oversees.
"With regard with what may happen in the future, I think that we don't know because we don't know what exact cases may be out there," he said.
A recording of the Tony Clark session is available via podcast at this link: http://plts.co/PEPclark.
Sponsored by Platts, a leading global energy, petrochemicals and metals information provider, Platts Energy Podium provides an ongoing forum for prominent newsmakers and the press to address important energy and environmental issues.
Members of the media may receive complementary registration for Platts Energy Podium events by contacting Kathleen Tanzy at 212-904-2860, Kathleen_tanzy@platts.com. For more information on energy and energy policy, visit the Platts website at www.platts.com.
About Platts: Founded in 1909, Platts is a leading global provider of energy, petrochemicals and metals information and a premier source of benchmark prices for the physical and futures markets. Platts' news, pricing, analytics, commentary and conferences help customers make better-informed trading and business decisions and help the markets operate with greater transparency and efficiency. Customers in more than 150 countries benefit from Platts' coverage of the carbon emissions, coal, electricity, oil, natural gas, metals, nuclear power, petrochemical, and shipping markets. A division of The McGraw-Hill Companies (MHP), Platts is headquartered in New York with approximately 900 employees in more than 15 offices worldwide. Additional information is available at http://www.platts.com.
About The McGraw-Hill Companies: The McGraw-Hill Companies (MHP), a financial intelligence and education company, signed an agreement to sell its McGraw-Hill Education business to investment funds affiliated with Apollo Global Management, LLC in November 2012. Following the sale closing, expected in early 2013, the Company will be renamed McGraw Hill Financial (subject to shareholder approval) and will be a powerhouse in benchmarks, content and analytics for the global capital and commodity markets. The Company's leading brands will include: Standard & Poor's, S&P Capital IQ, S&P Dow Jones Indices, Platts, Crisil, J.D. Power and Associates, McGraw-Hill Construction and Aviation Week. The Company will have approximately 17,000 employees in more than 30 countries. Additional information is available at http://www.mcgraw-hill.com/.
- Investment & Company Information