June 13, 2008
ALPA to Congress: Stabilize Fuel Prices Now
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Air Line Pilots Association, Int’l (ALPA) urged Congress this week to act to stabilize energy markets and end the rampant speculation that has led to the recent jumps in oil prices and put an economic stranglehold on the U.S. airline industry. ALPA, together with other unions, organizations, and corporations, called for swift action in a joint transportation industry coalition letter sent to Congressional leaders.
“Our country’s airline industry stands on the verge of an economic crisis rooted in record-high, irrational oil prices,” said Capt. John Prater, ALPA president. “Congress needs to act now to stabilize energy markets and rein in the out-of-control fuel prices that are setting the stage for financial disaster for U.S. airlines, their employees, and their families.”
ALPA and other coalition members called on Congress to create a commonsense, long-term energy policy and to reform existing policy to ensure a fair, transparent, and balanced energy commodities market. Current policy permits speculators to manipulate the U.S. energy market to earn huge profits, while driving up the cost of oil for consumers and adding to the existing economic burden on the nation’s energy-dependent industries, including the airlines.
“The U.S. airline industry is already struggling to gain its economic footing,” continued Prater. “The current policy that allows speculators to exploit energy markets for profit while hard-working airline employees face layoffs is unconscionable.”
Successfully reforming the energy commodities market must be conducted carefully, the coalition wrote in the letter, to avoid unintended consequences, but efforts must contain three critical elements:
Fully closing all loopholes that allow institutional investors to avoid limits on the size of their investments.
Ensuring that all energy traders are subject to the limits imposed on U.S. exchanges.
Increasing margin requirements and imposing appropriate disclosure/financial requirements on institutional investors.
“Time is of the essence for U.S. airlines and their employees and for the nation’s economy as a whole,” concluded Prater. “Congress owes it to our nation’s workers to act immediately to put fairness and balance back into the nation’s energy markets and bring the cost of oil under control.”
Founded in 1931, ALPA is the world’s largest pilots union, representing 55,000 pilots at 40 airlines in the United States and Canada.
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Contacts: Linda Shotwell, Molly Martin, 703/481-4440 or firstname.lastname@example.org