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Abstract

The Commodity Futures Trading Commission (“CFTC”) and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (“FERC”) were in a jurisdictional tug-of-war until March 2013, when the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals issued a much anticipated decision in Hunter v. FERC. This Article discusses the Hunter case, which offered some clarity as to the jurisdictional boundaries of the CFTC and FERC with regard to certain types of futures contracts. Historically, the CFTC has been authorized by the Commodity Exchange Act (“CEA”) to prevent and regulate fraud and manipulation in the futures market. On the other hand, FERC is an independent agency charged with the task of regulating interstate transmission of electricity and natural gas. The Energy Policy Act of 2005 (“EP Act”) expanded FERC’s authority to prevent and prohibit manipulation in the purchase or sale of natural gas or electricity. However, as this Article mentions, it was clear to many that there would be some turf wars between the CFTC and FERC due to their overlapping jurisdiction. This Article examines the Hunter case and the court’s decision that the CFTC has exclusive jurisdiction over the natural gas futures market pursuant to the CEA.

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