CalPERS Opposes Bill to Curb Oil Speculation

July 25, 2008 ( - Saying it has a fiduciary duty to workers and retirees to diversify their investments, the California Public Employees' Retirement System (CalPERS) released a statement on Thursday opposing the Stop Excessive Energy Speculation Act of 2008, The Politico reported.

The fund, which has $1.3 billion of its total $239 billion investment portfolio in commodities, according to The Politico, said legislation limiting its ability to invest in the commodities market would hurt workers and retirees invested in the pension fund.

Among other things, the bill would substantially broaden federal regulators’ authority over the vast marketplace for privately negotiated derivatives, called swaps and would limit the stakes that speculators and other noncommercial energy traders could take, both in private transactions and in the public futures markets, according to the New York Times.

Reuters reports that the bill failed a key procedural vote on Friday and will now be set aside in order for lawmakers to consider other legislation. Senate Democrats said the legislation was needed to give the government new powers to curb speculators, whom many lawmakers accused of being behind the run-up in crude oil and gasoline prices, while Republicans strongly opposed the speculation bill, arguing the legislation should be modified to also boost U.S. oil production.