iBerkshires article by Tammy Daniels

PITTSFIELD — North Adams Mayor John Barrett III on Wednesday called for federal regulation of oil speculation that's driving up energy prices across the nation.

"If you made an announcement this afternoon that you were going to introduce legislation that would start taking a look into regulating the oil futures market in the United States, you could drive the price of oil down $10 a barrel," said the state's dean of mayors at a U.S. Senate hearing on energy costs and small businesses. "I can guarantee oil will be a $1.18 a gallon by tomorrow morning."

Oil hit a record $135 per barrel this week and local gas prices are hovering around the $4 mark — up a third over this time last year.

It is those rising prices that brought Sen. John F. Kerry to Berkshire Community College on Wednesday to find out what the cost of energy was doing to the cost of business here in the far west corner of Massachusetts.

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