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Peterson in the middle of cap-and-trade tussle

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The cap-and-trade policy debate may just be getting started in Congress, but the fight over who gets to regulate the emerging carbon market has already turned into a feisty insider battle.

Bloomberg reports that a tug of war has begun between Rep. Collin Peterson, D-Minn., and Rep. Edward Markey, D-Mass., over who gets to control what would become one of the world’s largest derivatives markets.

On one side stands Peterson, who chairs the House Agriculture Committee, which oversees the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC). On other side is Markey, who heads the House Energy and Environment Subcommittee, which supervises the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC).

Both congressmen claim that their committees have more experience regulating the relevant markets.

While the difference between the CFTC and FERC may seem fairly trivial from outside the beltway  —  a matter of two letters in a four-letter acronym —  to the committee members it is anything but.

Campaign money from industries, you see, has a funny way of flowing to members of committees with the corresponding regulation power.

Bloomberg reports thusly: “Employees of oil and gas companies gave $2 million to the House Energy and Commerce Committee, which oversees their industry, in the 2008 elections, according to the Washington-based Center for Responsive Politics. That compares with $1.1 million to the House Agriculture Committee, which has jurisdiction over oil and gas futures markets through the CFTC.”

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