Monday, June 11, 2007

ACC Members Upbeat Amid Favorable Industry Conditions

Favorable industry conditions and improved fortunes for ACC fostered an upbeat mood at the organization’s annual meeting, held late last week at the Greenbrier in White Sulphur Springs, WV. ACC has added more than 25 new members over the past two years, including Huntsman and Chevron Phillips Chemical, and has scored legislative victories on critical issues such as natural gas and chemical plant security. Companies are "more willing to invest precious CEO capital on issues that matter to industry," says Dow Chemical chairman and CEO Andrew Liveris, who also serves as ACC chairman. "Previously, the level of CEO turnout would not have been as robust." Senior industry executives say ACC has regained strength after turmoil and the defection of some key companies earlier this decade. "There is improved transparency, and better leadership and prioritization of issues," says Celanese chairman and CEO David Weidman, who also serves as ACC vice chairman. "There is greater confidence in the organization, which has increased involvement." U.S. Energy policy remains a critical priority, officials say. "You will see some changes in our natural gas advocacy in the coming months,” says ACC president and CEO Jack Gerard. "I’d expect some new fresh faces as co-sponsors [on upcoming legislation] who will surprise some people." Chemical makers need to stay focused on energy and climate change issues, Liveris says. "Energy is the issue of our time,” he says. "It’s not just a chemical industry issue. The challenge is finding ways to get higher value and lower emissions from energy resources, and our industry will be a key player."

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