Stabenow requests RIN market investigation

By Erin Voegele | September 24, 2013

Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., has issued a letter to Gary Gensler, chairman of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, requesting that the CFTC investigate allegations about possible manipulation of the markets for renewable identification numbers (RINs). Stabenow chairs the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry.

According to a press release issued by the Agriculture Committee, recently reports have highlighted potential speculation and manipulation of the unregulated markets, which may have contributed to recent market volatility and price spikes.

Within the letter, Stabenow said she is looking to the CFTC to use its expertise and authority to help preserve RIN market integrity, particularly with respect to the price discovery function of these markets and the ability of end users to hedge their risk and comply with the requirements of the renewable fuel standard  (RFS). “Specifically, I would like the CFTC to help determine whether factors other than supply and demand have been causing extraordinary volatility in the price of RINS and to what extent fraud and manipulation have been affecting the price of RINs,” Stabenow wrote in the letter, noting that she is concerned a lack of transparency in the RIN markets has made them more susceptible to manipulation.

Stabenow also asks the CFTC to notify the Agriculture Committee as soon as possible if there are limits to its authority, expertise or resources that could inhibit it from monitoring RIN markets. In addition, she requests that the CFTC coordinate with the U.S. EPA.