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The Players Enron used whatever vehicle it had at its disposal to sell its scheme to the unsuspecting In 1997 Enron found it was battling some environmentalists in Oregon it planned to acquire Portland General Electric Oregons largest public utility Warning that Enrons motives were of a highly predatory nature the staff of the states Public Utility Commission PUC opposed the merger They warned that an Enron takeover would mean less ability to protect the environment increased insecurity for PGEs workers and in all likelihood soaring prices Other critics argued that Enrons actual plan was to cannibalize PGE in particular its hydropower which Enron would sell into Californias energy market Enron recruited the noted environmental utility guru Ralph Cavanagh of the Natural Resources Defense Councils NRDC to do their bidding He also has ties to the Energy Foundation a San Francisco-based coalition of environmental groups A graduate of Yale University Law School Ralph Cavanagh possesses impressive credentials In addition to his duties at the National Resources Defense Council he is a past member of the Energy Engineering Board of the National Academy of Sciences and a visiting professor at Stanford University and the University of California Berkeley But it is in the trenches of utility policy reform that he has built his considerable reputation Beginning in 1979 Mr Cavanagh focused his efforts on the electric utility sector He strived to make them more in line with the environment and less profit driven He pushed for more conservation of energy resources throughout the Northwest In 1996 he shared credit for the nations most ambitious multi-state energy conservation partnership the Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance Additionally both in the Pacific Northwest and California Cavanagh had a reputation for working to guarantee that low-income citizens share equally in the benefits of sustainable energy investment He was the right choice to argue for Enron entering Oregons power-market But even a man of impeccable standards can be deceived by visionaries
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