Thursday, February 20, 2003

What's the Buzz?

Presbyterians lose Cinergy quest

The Presbyterian Church (USA) has lost its attempt to get a shareholder proposal for more environmental reporting on Cinergy Corp.'s proxy statement this year.

But, a church spokesman said, it has won access to more information on the issue from the utility.

The Securities & Exchange Commission has told Cinergy that it won't sanction the company for excluding the proposal for an annual environmental report from its shareholder proxy materials. Cinergy argued that the proposal was vague, duplicated information it already publishes and would require it to speculate on future regulations.

The Rev. William Somplatsky-Jarman of the church's corporate responsibility staff said while the SEC decision will exclude the proposal from this year's proxy, the church feels it has opened a useful dialogue with Cinergy.

He said the church, which holds more than 200,000 Cinergy shares, held a conference call with utility officials this month and the company has expressed a willingness to share more information.

The Cinergy proposal was one of shareholder proposals planned by a coalition of shareholder and environmental groups at the five largest carbon dioxide-emitting public utilities. Carbon dioxide from burning coal is the primary greenhouse gas linked to global warming.

Mike Boyer

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