Monday, September 02, 2013

corporate values...

One of the most interesting and dramatic moments in the Arkansas Public Service Commission hearing in Little Rock last week came on Wednesday when the APSC legal staff introduced a letter from the US Department of the Interior. The letter had arrived at the APSC on Tuesday and was buried in the comments section of the APSC website and was not brought to the attention of the STO legal staff until Wednesday.

The APSC staff introduced the letter to the audience and lawyers at the same time during their cross-examination of SWEPCO witness Stephen Thornhill who had been responsible for the Environmental Impact Statement prepared by Burns and McDonnell engineering company.

Following cross-examination by SWEPCO attorneys, APSC attorney Dawn Guthrie introduced the letter and asked Mr. Thornhill, "Are you familiar with the Organic Act of 1916?" Although Mr. Thornhill admitted that he had not heard of it, it was the act of Congress through which our system of National Parks was created. The Organic Act of 1916 stated its purpose as being:
" conserve the scenery and the natural and historic objects and the wildlife therein and to provide for the enjoyment of the same in such manner and by such means as will leave them unimpaired for the enjoyment of future generations."
The letter from the Department of the Interior was the second letter sent to the APSC in response to the power line proposal. Both expressed deep concern about the future of the National Battlefield Park at Pea Ridge if preferred route 33 was allowed to proceed. That power line would mar the visual impact from within the current boundaries of the park and would damage important historic battlefield properties long sought for acquisition by the National Parks Service.

Efforts to create and preserve the battlefield at Pea Ridge were begun between 1887 and 1889 by veterans of both the Union and the Confederacy who sought to honor their dead. In the Battle of Pea Ridge, March 7-8, 1862, 26,000 soldiers fought and decided the fate of Missouri and the West. It has been said that the State of Missouri was kept in the Union by the Battle of Pea Ridge.
ave the Ozarks attorneys argued over how and whether the letter should be admitted into evidence, SWEPCO attorney David Matthews argued vociferously that the letter was irrelevant because it would take an act of Congress for the Department of the Interior to acquire the lands sought for inclusion in the park. The park and Department of Interior, according to SWEPCO and SPP attorneys, has no authority to stop them from doing whatever they want to do.
American Electric Power Corporation, parent company of their SWEPCO subsidiary, claims as one of their key corporate values, that of Citizenship, which they describe as “developing a sense of community among all those they encounter.” Would it not be a better expression of the values of citizenship and community to assist the National Parks System and the people of Northwest Arkansas in the vigorous protection of all the land associated with this historic battlefield rather than to battle before the APSC for their right to its desecration?

It’s my hope that AEP/SWEPCO, the Southwest Power Pool, their management and legal staff come to a better understanding of how their proposal and their aggressive defense of it have violated their professed corporate values. I hope they see the light and pull the plug on this project.

Rather than proceeding in the Shipes Road to Kings River power line plans, AEP/SWEPCO should purchase all of the missing pieces of the Pea Ridge Battlefield Park and give those as a gift to the Park Service as the first part of their apology to the people of Northwest Arkansas for this power line fiasco they have foisted upon us. In the meantime, since they likely will not, Save the Ozarks is planning to see them in court.

It is so nice to be home and to have the wood shop available to me. I've taken up where I left off last week. One great thing about making things from wood. The material will remember right where you left off. I've sanded the top and bottom edges of various parts of the box so they can nest neatly together. Then I cut the slots for the miter keys to fit. Next will come bases and lids.

Make, fix and create...

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