Release #09.034
June 26, 2009

ALPA Calls on Congress to Control Excessive Oil Speculation

WASHINGTON – The Air Line Pilots Association, Int’l (ALPA) calls on Congress to pass legislation that would help control excessive speculation in the commodity futures marketplace by enhancing oversight, transparency, and reporting requirements, as well as imposing limits on cumulative speculative positions across all markets.

“Oil prices have begun to climb again and, given the other challenges facing our economy right now, it’s clear that we need to act swiftly to stabilize the marketplace to head off another significant price spike,” said Capt. John Prater, ALPA’s president. “The legislation currently before Congress will help foster a stable oil supply and support a healthy airline industry, which plays a fundamental role in the nation’s transportation infrastructure and contributes enormously to the country’s economy.”

ALPA was among more than a dozen members of the Commodity Markets Oversight Coalition to sign a letter sent to Rep. Collin Peterson (D-Minn.), chairman of the U.S. House Agriculture Committee, calling for the amendment to impose limits on speculation across all markets and passage of the “Derivatives Markets Transparency and Accountability Act of 2009” (H.R. 977).

If passed, H.R. 977 would put in place a number of much-needed changes to commodities oversight laws. It would require the clearing (or settling) of all standardized futures contracts and those traded over-the-counter, strengthen record-keeping and reporting requirements for traders and exchanges, and close many of the loopholes that undermine price discovery in futures markets. The Association also asks Congress to add a provision to the current bill language that would require the Commodity Futures Trading Commission to impose aggregate speculative position limits on traders across all markets.

In 2008, ALPA’s Board of Directors passed a resolution calling for a comprehensive energy policy that reduces fuel prices and volatility by controlling rampant speculation, recognizes aviation’s contributions to conservation, continues the use of carbon-based fuels without increasing the industry’s tax burden, and supports new technology. ALPA’s leaders also urged creation of a transportation policy that fosters a viable and functional airline industry and protects the long-term interests of the public and all airline employees. Prater created the ALPA President’s Task Force on Aviation Sustainability and the Environment in 2007 and this key group works to pursue a comprehensive national energy policy based on this Board directive.

“While strong national policy on energy and transportation is the real solution for the airline industry and the nation’s economy, passing this legislation would be important progress toward ending the rampant oil speculation that has contributed to the recent spikes in oil prices,” continued Prater. “ALPA will continue to work with the U.S. Congress and the Administration to craft a national energy and transportation policy that positions our airline industry and our nation to succeed.”

Founded in 1931, ALPA is the world’s largest pilots union, representing nearly 54,000 pilots at 36 airlines in the United States and Canada.

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CONTACTS: Linda Shotwell, 703/481-4440 or