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R. Bruce Northcutt, the president and COO of Copano Energy LLC, has been elected CEO following the death of John R. Eckel Jr., who was chairman and CEO. Eckel, who was 58, founded Copano in 1992 and served as president and CEO until April 2003 when he was named chairman. Under Eckel's leadership, Copano grew from a single 23-mile natural gas pipeline to a successful midstream natural gas company with more than 6,000 miles of pipeline and seven processing plants in Oklahoma, Texas, Wyoming and Louisiana. Copano was the first midstream company to trade publicly as a limited liability company. In addition to his roles at Copano, Eckel served on the board and on the executive committee of the Texas Pipeline Association, and as CEO of Live Oak Reserves Inc., an exploration and production company that he founded in 1986. William L. Thacker, who has served on Copano's board since the company's initial public offering, has been elected chairman.

The chairman of the Oregon Public Utility Commission (PUC), Lee Beyer, 61, announced that he will step down next spring, ending eight years on the regulatory panel, the last six as its head. A former state senator, Beyer said he intends to run for a seat in the state Senate again in a district in which the incumbent has decided not to run for reelection. Beyer's current four-year PUC term expires in March 2012. Prior to being appointed to the PUC, Beyer worked for 25 years in the business and industry development sector, and also served 10 years in the Oregon legislature -- both in the Senate and the lower House.

Energy Action Northwest, a business-labor coalition formed last year to foster what it called "more balance and objectivity" to the Pacific Northwest regional energy policy debates, announced a change of leadership at the top. Edward Finklea, the executive director since the coalition's formation, recently decide to return to his legal practice effective with the start of November. In his place, Thomas Ivancie, who has been the group's communications and governmental counsel, has assumed Finklea's top administrative position in the organization. "We have to invest in infrastructure and job creation," said Ivancie, a former Oregon journalist who has 15 years of experience in communications and legislative relations. "We must add the kinds of jobs that point toward our ultimate goal -- a green, renewable energy future."

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