BOSTON  — New England and Canadian business leaders are meeting in Boston to discuss challenges and opportunities of energy trade and cooperation in North America.

The two-day conference beginning on Thursday will also feature policy makers, regulators and energy experts who are expected to discuss efforts to secure reliable and affordable energy supplies despite environment concerns and uncertainties caused by the slow pace of economic recovery.

The conference, organized by the nonprofit New England-Canada Business Council Inc., recognizes that the northeast region of the United States lacks significant local energy resources and depends heavily on imports from Canada.

New England-Canada Business Council President Anthony Cicerone says that includes natural gas which powers more than 40 percent of electric power plants. About 60 percent of gasoline sold in and around Boston also comes from a refinery in New Brunswick.

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