Announced Actions for February 9, 2001

Application for proposed divestiture:

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The Commission has received an application for proposed divestiture from the following: El Paso Energy Corporation/The Coastal Corporation. The application concerns the merger of El Paso and Coastal, which was the subject of a proposed consent agreement for public comment announced by the FTC on January 29, 2001. Through the application, El Paso/Coastal has requested Commission approval of the sale of the U-T Offshore System, L.L.C. to Mid Louisiana Gas Transmission Company, a wholly owned subsidiary of Midcoast Energy Resources, Inc. The application was made pursuant to Paragraph III C. of the FTC's decision and order in this matter. (FTC File No. 001-0086, Docket No. C-3996; staff contact is Daniel P. Ducore, 202-326-2526; see press release dated January 29, 2001.)

Commission statement given before the Washington State House of Representatives:

On February 7, 2001, Charles Harwood, Director of the FTC's Northwest Region, testified before the Washington State House of Representatives on the subject of identity theft, and described the Commission's efforts to help victims, alert industry and equip law enforcement to deal with this crime. The prepared statement of the Northwest Region and Bureau of Consumer Protection has been posted on the FTC Web site, and addresses the Commission's role to combat identity theft. It highlights the Identity Theft and Assumption Deterrence Act of 1998 and describes the three components of the Commission's response to the Act: 1) a toll-free telephone hotline number; 2) a complaint database; and 3) consumer education efforts. The statement also describes the most common forms of identity theft, along with joint initiatives the FTC has undertaken with others (consumer reporting agencies, banks, etc.) to share complaint data and streamline dispute procedures to enable industry to develop better fraud prevention practices and consumer assistance.

The Commission vote to place a copy of the statement on the public record was 5-0. (FTC File No. V010001; staff contact is Charles A. Harwood, 206-220-4480.)

Commission order reopening the record and dismissing the complaint:

The Commission has ordered the record reopened and the complaint dismissed regarding the following: Summit Technology, Incorporated and VISX, Incorporated. This order follows complaint counsel's request that the complaint be dismissed upon issuance by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office of a Reexamination Certificate of U.S. Patent No. 5,108,388. VISX also moved to reopen the record and admit into evidence additional exhibits and the Commission has approved this request. The vote to reopen the record and dismiss the complaint was 5-0. (Docket No. 9286; staff contact is Chul Pak, Bureau of Competition, 202-326-2661; see press releases dated March 24, 1998; August 21, 1998; March 5, 1999; and June 4, 1999.)

Copies of the documents mentioned in this release are available from the FTC's Web site at and also from the FTC's Consumer Response Center, Room 130, 600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20580. The FTC works for the consumer to prevent fraudulent, deceptive and unfair business practices in the marketplace and to provide information to help consumers spot, stop and avoid them. To file a complaint, or to get free information on any of 150 consumer topics, call toll-free, 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357), or use the complaint form. The FTC enters Internet, telemarketing and other fraud-related complaints into Consumer Sentinel, a secure, online database available to hundreds of civil and criminal law enforcement agencies worldwide.

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