Business Roundtable, an association of 150 CEOs of some of the largest U.S. corporations, on Wednesday unveiled a comprehensive energy plan calling for a more diversified and domestic-based energy supply mix, increased energy efficiency and more investment in new technology. Among other things, the CEOs want expanded access to oil and natural gas supplies in the Rocky Mountains, the U.S. coasts and Alaska, as well as increased nuclear power supplies.

The plan calls for a mix of "sound" government policies, technological innovation and proactive, voluntary efforts. The report was developed in response to ongoing energy-related concerns of members. Business Roundtable CEOs have ranked energy costs as one of the most difficult challenges affecting their business and the overall U.S. economy, second only to health care costs.

"With this blueprint, America's CEOs are speaking with one voice and calling for new approaches to meet our energy challenges," said Michael G. Morris, chair of the association's Energy Task Force and CEO of American Electric Power. "Our plan will help ensure our nation's energy security by making our energy system more domestic, more diverse and more efficient. Our plan recognizes that we cannot afford to ignore any pathway that will contribute to stable, clean and affordable energy supplies."

Morris said the energy supply has to include "ethanol and other bio-fuels, nuclear power, greater access to conventional domestic oil and natural gas reserves, coal-to-liquids, coal gasification and energy efficiency."

Recommendations in the blueprint include:

"The production, distribution and overall cost of energy are among the most difficult challenges facing today's business environment," said Morris. "And we believe the business community has a special responsibility to provide leadership on this issue. Our recommendations provide an aggressive yet balanced approach."

Business Roundtable companies together have $4.5 trillion in annual revenues and more than 10 million employees. Member companies comprise nearly a third of the total value of the U.S. stock markets and represent more than 40% of all corporate income taxes paid. Collectively, they returned $112 billion in dividends to shareholders and the economy in 2005. To download the energy plan, go to www.businessroundtable.org.

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