Saturday, May 16, 2009

Stupak introduces legislation to address excessive energy market speculation

WASHINGTON -- U.S. Congressman Bart Stupak (D-Mich.) has introduced revised legislation aimed at closing loopholes that have allowed speculators to manipulate energy markets and artificially inflate prices. Stupak’s Prevent Unfair Manipulation of Prices (PUMP) Act, H.R. 2448, takes a comprehensive approach to addressing the loopholes that allow energy traders to evade federal oversight and for the first time establishes carbon derivatives as a regulated energy commodity.

"The crises in the housing and financial sectors have shown us what happens when federal regulators are not keeping a close eye on Wall Street," Stupak said. "The Obama Administration’s announcement this week to strictly regulate the derivatives market and put an end to some of this excessive speculation is a welcome step. Congress must take what the Administration has proposed and build on it to create a strong regulatory system that protects American consumers."

Next week the House Energy and Commerce Committee, of which Stupak is a member, will markup energy and climate change legislation, the American Clean Energy and Security Act, which will create an entirely new carbon derivates market which speculators can manipulate. The 2009 PUMP Act would give the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) the authority to regulate carbon derivates as an energy commodity.

"The carbon derivatives market should based on a strong regulatory framework," Stupak said. "The finite nature of carbon credits and absence of a physical commodity leave it particularly vulnerable to speculation. That is why it is so important that any cap and trade system we consider includes the strong provisions the PUMP Act provides."

Stupak noted that although energy costs are down substantially from a year ago, the American people, Congress and federal regulators should not be lulled into a false sense of complacency. Addressing excessive energy speculation should be a key part of any new energy policy because another dramatic increase in oil prices, such as the one we saw last spring and summer, would further devastate the already weakened economy.

"We need look no further than today’s oil prices, which have jumped 30 cents in some communities in the past week, to see the effect speculators have on energy prices," Stupak said. "Supply is at a 20-year high, demand is at a 10-year low, yet oil prices are up 70 percent since the beginning of the year. The national average price for gasoline was $1.61 in January; today it is $2.29. This cannot be explained by simple supply and demand. Speculators are driving these prices."

Stupak is a senior member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee and Chairman of its Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations. In this role, Stupak has led House investigations into the role speculators play in driving up the cost of energy. Documents and testimony related to the Subcommittee’s investigation in the 110th Congress can be found at http://energycommerce.house.gov/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=1393&catid=31&Itemid=58 and at http://energycommerce.house.gov/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=635&catid=31&Itemid=58.

For more information on Congressman Stupak's issues, visit his Web site.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Arts Center to offer children's class on Henri Matisse May 23

HANCOCK -- The Copper Country Community Arts Center presents "An Afternoon with Henri Matisse," an art class for students ages 6-12 years old. The class will study the life and work of artist Henri Matisse. Students will then make art in the style of Matisse’s cut outs.

The class will be taught by Leona Blessing from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, May 23. Students must register by Wednesday, May 20.

Call the Arts Center at 482-2333 for class fee and more information. The Copper Country Community Arts Center is located at 126 Quincy Street in Hancock.

Sons of Norway to celebrate Norwegian Constitution Day May 17

HANCOCK -- Please join the Sons of Norway for their Annual Syttende Mai celebration from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Sunday, May 17, at Gloria Dei Lutheran Church, Hancock.

The event will include a potluck dinner and musical entertainment by the children, Robin Oye and special guest musicians Dave Bezotte and friends, playing Norwegian music. This is the Norwegian Constitution Day celebration, which is one of Norway's most important Celebrations of the Year, so you do not want to miss this! If you have Norwegian clothing, please wear your outfit.

"Bring the family, friend(s) and a dish to share and be ready for fun!" says Connie Julien, member and webmaster, Ulseth Lodge, Sons of Norway. "We will eat about 6 p.m. so arrive early!"

For more information about the Ulseth Lodge, Sons of Norway, visit www.nlc-calumet.org/son.

"Kalevala: Land of Heroes" to be May 15, 16 in Negaunee

MARQUETTE -- A special two-day run of "Kalevala: Land of Heroes" will be performed on Friday, May 15, and Saturday, May 16, at the Vista Theater in Negaunee.

Evening shows begin at 7:30 p.m., and the Saturday Matinee will be at 2 p.m. (with special reduced pricing).

Come about 15 minutes ahead of curtain to hear Tanya Stanaway play a lovely mini-concert before each performance.

If you are unable to make the show, Paul Olson offers some video from the show on his YouTube Channel: http://www.youtube.com/user/olsonpau

Olson notes also that a segment of the show (approximately 30-45 minutes) will be performed at Marquette's Scandinavian Midsummer Festival on June 20.

Bike to Work Day offers events, info, prizes May 15

HOUGHTON -- Join a group of cyclists who will hold Bike to Work Day on Friday, May 15. The event is co-sponsored by Michigan Tech Sports and Recreation and the Outdoor Activities Club.

The point: demonstrate how easy it is and encourage the activity.

Cyclists on the waterfront trail in downtown Houghton can enjoy free food and beverages. Cyclists and pedestrians can also pick up commuting information, visit a bike fix-it booth and see the City of Houghton's new bike rack design.

For those cycling from north of the bridge to Michigan Tech, the recommended route is riding southbound on the bridge, then turning right by the Powerhouse and connecting with the waterfront trail and on to the Tech campus.

Other events include a bike expo from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Shelden Avenue.

"The city is closing a couple of blocks (no, not the ones that currently have large holes)," says Dean Woodbeck of Keweenaw Trails. "We'll have giveaways, prizes, discounts on commuter gear from Cross Country Sports, bike movies at the Rhythm Theater, details on Downwind's summer bike to work program, tricycle races for all ages, a kids' mountain bike skills course and much, much more."

Cyclists can register for Bike to Work Day, making them eligible for a prize drawing, by visiting www.keweenawtrails.com/commute. Details about all of the events are also available at Keweenaw Trails.

Mont Ripley offers its two parking lots, on either side of M-26, to Michigan Tech employees to park for free and either bike or carpool to campus.