AEP coming to Tech to "listen"

Cartoon by Dan Wright (email) and Dave Ponce (email)

February 13, American Electric Power issued a news release announcing it would kick off its Listening Tour, "Oil, National Security, and What We Can Do: The Future of Energy" tomorrow at Virginia Tech at 2:00pm in Squires Haymarket Theater (Seats 484 people) with AEP's CEO Michael G. Morris

The format will be 90 minutes to two hours with Morris giving a "brief overview of America’s energy future" followed by Q&A with students. At the conclusion of the tour, AEP plans to compile the highlights of the insights, ideas, and concerns shared by students in a book to be published in the fall 2008, prior to the U.S. Presidential election.

AEP says,

The listening tour's purpose is to engage young people on college campuses across America to share their opinions and ideas, and to hear what it will take to ensure America's energy security while protecting the environment.
According to the Burning Book Collective (BB), the tour will more likely

give the public the impression that AEP is listening, yet really to back the public into a corner with only two options: oil/terrorism or coal/imminent climate chaos and destruction of Appalachia.

To that I'd add nukes, as AEP has invested in that realm and is considering expansion. In "AEP may decide in 2008 on whether to apply for COL,"Pam Radtke Russell wrote in the December 20, 2007 (by paid sub only) Platts Nucleonics Week, that December 11 Nicholas Akins, AEP's executive vice president of generation told attendees at the Power-Gen International conference in New Orleans that in order to lower emissions

We are very focused on nuclear as a possibility...

AEP has been tellling stockholders for months, according to the article, that it is considering new nuclear generation as part of a "portfolio" approach to reducing carbon dioxide emissions, and might also implement energy efficiency measures and add wind power, since according to Atkins,
We don't believe you're going to get a large-capacity coal or nuclear plant built unless you convince regulators that you've done as much as you can to reduce," [greenhouse gas emissions.]
Spokesman Pat Hemlepp later told Russell,
Our CEO, Mike Morris, has said many times that we will likely add new nuclear to our fleet in coming years. We just won't be a first mover in new nuclear in the way we're a first mover for clean coal.

Blacksburg Mountain Justice (MJ) will distribute literature at the presentation tomorrow, raising basic questions regarding AEP's policies and providing the audience with general facts in the categories (links are to the BB wiki):

Within each category, MJ will formulate one overarching question for the handout, coupled with 5-10 facts and 1-3 specific questions for the utility. There are plenty of local issues to bring up, such as Giles/Glen Lyn and Virginia MTR. Organizers say,

Hopefully, by asking informed and well researched questions MJ will stimulate non-affiliated audience members to raise their own concerns.

It will be interesting to see how AEP reacts, if the company includes the MJ "insights" in its planned book and if there will be rebuttal presentations at future stops on AEP's tour, to take place at:

The University of Arkansas at Fayetteville March 10; The Ohio State University in Columbus April 2; Howard University in Washington, D.C., April 7; Purdue University in West Lafayette, Ind., April 9; and University of Tulsa in Tulsa, Okla., April 30.


Back in December 2001, Chris Stansberry wrote in Free Republic that he had contacted jouornalist Helen Thomas (email) to tell her,

Your disrespect of President Bush - yes I said President Bush disgusts me! Your tirades during White House Press Briefings are beyond belief - time to take your show elsewhere!

Here is how she replied, according to Stansberry:

Try living your own life. I'm sure you have your hands full.

Usually I wouldn't link to the site, but the vitriol expressed against Thomas in the comments shows such a lack of civility that I'll let you read them for yourself. I got to see Thomas last year at the Virginia Festival of the Book giving her fellow journalists heck for being sheep, and although we've lost Molly Ivins, Helen's still at it, this time on February 15 in "McCain foresees 100-year war," outlining how the Republican's putative candidate is giving Bush hopes for

a third term through a proxy.