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Gov. Jim Douglas, R-Vt., and Quebec Premier Jean Charest have concluded a first of its kind forum on energy and the environment sponsored by the Conference of New England Governors and Eastern Canadian Premiers.

The forum included a series of recommendations aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions, increasing the use of renewable energy sources and conservation, and enhancing energy trade within the region.

"These recommendations are an important step in determining our energy future, as it recognizes the intricate and essential link between energy use, the environment and our regional economies," comments Douglas.

The topics that were discussed include making energy efficiency a priority and allowing renewable energy resources to be cheaper than conventional sources, increasing cooperation among governments and energy suppliers to ease burdens of energy generation and transmission, and developing renewable portfolio standards across the region.

According to the government officials, the recommendations will be further refined and formally presented for discussion at the next meeting in June.

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