But here's where it gets really interesting -- Morris starts talking about "NIMBYs" and the "inertia in this country" that causes people to say "nothing in my backyard" when they flip on the light switch. So, Mikey, what's in YOUR backyard? Swimming pool? Tennis court? Stable of expensive foreign sports cars? Until you're willing to trade backyards with a few friends of mine, shut your pie hole! It's really easy to call names and pontificate when it doesn't affect you, isn't it? He goes on to say that "the American people are equally bright (reference to earlier comment about AEP employees being bright) and all you have to do is tell people the truth". In that case, we've been doing your job for you for the past two years -- telling the American people the truth, and they get it. Oh boy, do they get it! They all know that PATH is a greedy scam.
And, what about Allegheny Energy's take on "NIMBYs, BANANAs and NOPEs"? First, I just have to get this out of my system -- QUIT ABUSING THE APOSTROPHE! An apostrophe is used to show possession or to take the place of missing letters in a contraction. It is NOT used to indicate a plural noun. Okay, now back to the show...
Aldie Warnock of Allegheny Energy actually embarrassed himself giving this inspid presentation at a NARUC meeting. He listed the following "problems" with transmission expansion: NIMBY's, BANANA's, NOPE's (yes, I'm shuddering), Viewsheds, Federal Lands, Heritage Zones and Conservation Easements. I've got one more for ya -- LACK OF NEED! He then goes into the problems they encountered with the TrAIL line. Pay particular attention to slide 18, TrAIL Timeline, "November ELECTIONS!", this will come into play later in this post. He details his "Public Opinion Findings" that just make me laugh! How out-of-touch with the actual public is this guy? Most of these are the absolute truth and can't be fixed, except for the last two: "Third party validation can impact the business communities views" (shudder again) and "Residents listen to their local business and industry". Aldie, nobody believes anything FERC, DOE, and especially PJM, say anymore -- they've cried wolf regarding the need for PATH a few too many times to retain any credibility. As far as residents listening to local business and industry -- nobody believes them either, and because they're local we already know their reputation and word travels fast when power company-funded front groups are mixed into the equation. Bad idea!
He finishes up with the "Lesson's Learned" (shudder), but it's readily apparent that Allegheny Energy hasn't learned these lessons at all! "Education, Education, Education, Early and Often!" The ship has already sailed on this one, and PATH wasn't on it. Oops! Beat to the punch by the opposition! "Very clear and concise messaging" Ship. Sailed. The minute you hired Charles Ryan Associates. "Tours for Media and Public Officials" -- we all know how great that one worked out, don't we? Can you say public relations disaster? "Third Party Validators" -- great idea, if you had any real friends at all and didn't have to pay them to pimp your project. "Companies need ALLIES". See answer to last bright idea.
If you thought that was pathetic, Holly Kauffman of Allegheny Energy revamped the presentation (and cleaned up some, but not all, of the apostrophe abuse) and presented it again at an EEI meeting. Holly adds "WIFM (What's in it for me?)" to the list of "problems". Great -- but you don't have anything to offer. Anything at all. She also adds two slides entitled "Public Concerns" and offers this unintelligible gem, "Can't see electric when line is overloaded". ??? If you think that's bad, she also offers some information that is JUST PLAIN WRONG, such as: "Lack of Understanding of the Legal Process". Apparently she must have been referring to herself because under this heading we find, "Right to access properties to do studies necessary for CPCN and permits". PATH has no such right! Do you suppose this is where Louis Berger Group got their instructions?
Read her rendition of "Opposition Topics". Holly's confusion intensifies here because some of these are actually power company strategies, such as: the entire concept of fearmongering, among which she details "Federal Government will over rule State's Authority" (how many times have they played the FERC card in the PATH case?); "Fear of neighbor retaliation if ROW is signed" (they put this idea in landowners' heads to coerce them to sign); and the best one, "Put public officials on the spot before elections" (remember Aldie's TrAIL Timeline?) The last one is a real screamer, "Not held accountable like utility to be factual in statements". Oh, boy, if someone is holding the utility accountable for their lies, there's a HUGE debt waiting to be paid! The rest of these topics are true... does the truth hurt so much that you need to try to garner sympathy by mentioning them?
See slide entitled "Other CPCN Hearing issues". Holly continues to whine about landowners not allowing them to do their surveys before having a permit in their hand; and "Agreements reached between parties in case were viewed cynically because negotiations are confidential". No, Holly, they were viewed cynically because the PSC staff recommended that TrAIL's permit be denied and Governor Manchin's interference with "closed door" meetings is what got you your permit. It was crooked and illegal, you twit!
It's time to write a new chapter in their book of strategy. They're being soundly pummeled by the opposition on all fronts. Must be because their strategy sucks. After PATH is defeated, maybe I'll let them know exactly what went wrong. Or maybe I'll just pack up my bag 'o tricks and move on to their next project ;-)
Addendum: For more about how FERC, power company, coal company and political players arrogantly conspire against us "little people", visit Calhoun Powerline for quotes from the 2005 Charleston Love Fest, such as Chairman Wood of FERC who said, “[I] hope we don’t have that transmission project become common dinner table talk for the average citizen before we actually take care of it.”