AUSTIN, Texas (AP) _ The trustee overseeing the Enron bankruptcy case in New York approved the appointment of a committee of former Enron Corp. employees Thursday to voice their interests.

A group called the Severed Enron Employees Coalition and the Texas attorney general's office had asked for the committee appointment

``What can I say? We're thrilled,'' said bankruptcy attorney Scott Baena of Miami, who filed the request on behalf of the coalition.

In letters to Baena and Texas Attorney General John Cornyn, U.S. Trustee Carolyn Schwartz said she granted the request because of issues peculiar to the cases, noting that there are more than 20,000 participants in Enron's employee benefits plans and many lawsuits relating to Enron's 401(k) plan.

She asked for recommendations on the composition of such a committee.

``We intend to propose a cross-section of the employees and former employees of Enron of which we'll get from our committee membership,'' Baena said Thursday night. ``Our group, which is now approaching 600 members, is quite representative of the types of clients they have of the employee group at large.''

Jeff Boyd, deputy attorney general for litigation, said the Texas Attorney General's Office made the request because of concern over whether the existing creditors' committee could adequately represent the interests of Enron employees.