Monday, July 14, 2008, 9:51 AM

Washington is getting anxious, Part II

Last month we looked at the gathering P.R. storm confronting oil futures traders in Congress, where lawmakers are fretting over the idea of voters paying $4 per gallon of gas as they enter the voting booth in November. With lawmakers exploring punishing new regulations, the industry has finally launched a public awareness campaign to soften anxiety on Capitol Hill, educate the voting public, and separate their business from other market forces impacting oil and gas prices. The question is whether it is too little, too late.

First, the industry launched this website to help the press, public and Congress separate fact from fiction. Second, they've kicked off a paid advertising campaign in newspapers like Roll Call that are read by Capitol Hill staffers. Third, experts are publishing their own commentaries in the Wall Street Journal and elsewhere arguing that regulating the futures market will do little to curb prices. Fourth, the industry is furiously lobbying Capitol Hill to stamp out burdensome regulations before it's too late.

The P.R. push is more than warranted. Twelve airline CEO's just called on Congress to regulate the futures market and launched a populist website of their own. A tri-partisan coalition of Senators introduced a plan last week to bring the futures industry to heel, joining dozens of other congressional proposals. This political drama - and the high stakes battle to shape public opinion - bears watching in the coming weeks and months.

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Anonymous Brandon Wright said...

The airlines are not the only group fighting speculation in the oil markets. PMAA, a trade group representing more than 8,000 petroleum markters, is leading a coalition to return the basic principles of supply and demand to oil markets. Our members have testified before House and Senate committees and have met with Administration officials.

Our members lose money when the price of oil rises and if something isn't done soon, people may freeze this winter because they cannot afford to buy heating oil.

July 15, 2008 at 3:32 PM  

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