Members of the Sustainable Energy Coalition called upon the leaders of the House-Senate conference committee trying to resolve differences between the two chambers’ competing energy bills to “let the sun shine in” on the negotiations.Washington D.C. – September 10, 2003 [SolarAccess.com] The Coalition criticized current plans to conduct as few as just two meetings of the conferees — a pro forma opening session and a second closing one to secure a rubber-stamp vote of a proposed bill — while, in between, deals are cut by a few members and their staff out of the public eye. This approach virtually assures that key decisions affecting the nation’s long-term energy policy will be made in the proverbial “smoke-filled, behind closed-door sessions” and heavily influenced by special interest groups, said the coalition. They added that the strategy closely parallels the approach used by the Bush-Cheney energy task force two years ago which they say resulted in the Administration attempting to defend an unbalanced, irresponsible, and largely discredited energy policy. “Secrecy has no place in designing energy policies that will affect every American’s pocketbook and environment as well as influence national security, the economy, the likelihood of future blackouts, and increased reliance on energy imports,” the coalition said. “Decisions made by congressional negotiators should be made in bi-partisan public sessions and members of Congress should be prepared to be held fully accountable for the policies they craft. The coalition added that members of the House-Senate conference should use the opportunity of the energy bill conference to support and strengthen those provisions in the competing bills that will promote the future development of energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies.