This story comes from Gentry, Arkansas, home to the Wild Wilderness Drive Through Safari. AEP's engineer drew a transmission line through a portion of the safari on his power line routing etch-a-sketch. Perhaps the engineer didn't understand that a drive through safari means that there are wild animals roaming loose through the area? Or maybe he just doesn't care. After all, he's not the one who may be eaten by a lion while constructing this project.
AEP says they can't move the power line out of the park because the route has already been approved by the PSC. Instead, they are dragging the safari owner (a former AEP employee who didn't initially object to the route for fear of retaliation) through expensive and contentious eminent domain proceedings that will exceed the cost to AEP of simply filing a revised route at the Arkansas Public Service Commission. It's pure and classic utility behemoth stupidity, where the tail regularly wags the dog.
Instead, AEP is trying to fix things through intimidation and censorship. Local media has been avoiding this story because they also fear retaliation from AEP. Hey... AEP... censor this... :-)
In addition to efforts to effect a media blackout, AEP has been cyber stalking the community members leading the movement to save Safari 4. One of them recently found this notification when logging into her Linked In account.
Can't you just see the inter-office memo that may have gone out last week?
To: All AEP Transmission Employees
From: Nick Akins, CEO
Subject: Cyber-stalking Opponents of Our Projects
It has come to my attention that some of you have been gathering information for our AEP transmission project opponent dossiers while signed in to your personal Linked In accounts that bear your job title and AEP's logo. Please be aware that your profile views show up on the opponents Linked In pages! In the future, please make up a fake Linked In profile to use for AEP-authorized cyber-stalking. I suggest using the name Neil Peart, drummer for the band Rush. He's way, way cool and I want to be just like him when I grow up!
Remember: Safety and Transparency First!
You should be. What do you think the jury hearing the safari eminent domain case next week is going to think of your heavy-handed tactics?