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New Energy Producer, Consumer Coalition Debuts

A new coalition -- the Energy Initiative Coalition -- debuted in Washington, DC Friday. The group, which is co-chaired by former Sen. John Breaux of Louisiana and former Long Beach, CA, mayor Beverly O'Neill, will be different from other energy coalitions that focus solely on the interests of one group, said a Breaux spokesman.

The Energy Initiative Coalition is "very broad based" and will represent the interests of two groups -- the producers of energy and the consumers of energy -- and will educate the public about energy policies, noted Joah Spearman. "This is the first time such a far-reaching group of energy consumers and producers have come together to work on the very important issue of energy policy," said Breaux, who served in Congress for 32 years before leaving in 2002.

The group currently has 31 members -- nine energy-producing trade associations and 22 energy-consuming associations that represent the interests of 50 to 100 million Americans, Spearman said.

The coalition's members include some heavy hitters, such as the U.S. Conference of Mayors, American Petroleum Institute, the Interstate Natural Gas Association of America, Edison Electric Institute, Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, AFL-CIO Building Trades Division, American Automobile Association, Consumer Energy Alliance, Domestic Petroleum Council, National Conference of State Legislatures, National Governors Association, the National Ocean Industries Association, National League of Cities and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

Following Friday's debut, coalition members met in break-out sessions led by Breaux and ONeill to begin what will be a six-month process of deliberations, educational outreach and public meetings that will produce a final report for Congress and the Bush administration. The report, which will make energy-related recommendations, will be submitted by the end of spring 2007, Spearman said.

The coalition will not have a physical office in Washington, he noted. Those seeking more information on the group can contract Breaux or the coalition's members, many of which have offices in the Washington area, or they can go to the coalition's website at http://www.theenergyinitiave.org, Spearman said.

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