Companies, official battle out the Oklahoma coal-fired plant using advertisements 

Anybody who's read The Oklahoman probably couldn't miss a series of full-page ads talking about a proposed coal-fired, electricity-generating plant.


The dueling ads were either against the coal " supporting the viewpoint of Oklahoma gas drilling giant Chesapeake Energy Corp. " or for it " funded by Oklahoma Gas and Electric, which wants to build the plant.


One also may have seen the huge etching-like sketch of Oklahoma State Treasurer Scott Meacham, weighing in on behalf of Chesapeake's stand. The ad, which ran in The Oklahoman, features the sketch in a tasteful style, looking like the picture on a hunnert-dollar bill, with the head bigger than William Shatner's.


"I oppose the Red Rock coal plant because of the staggering costs Oklahomans could face for years to come," the ad states. It includes Meacham's signature.


CFN does find it interesting that a state official for an elected office would appear in a huge, big ol' ad on behalf of a company known for political activism.


The matter wasn't lost on OG&E, according to a story in The Edmond Sun.


"We are extremely concerned that the treasurer agreed to the use of his office in an attempt to unduly influence the outcome of a proceeding before the Corporation Commission," said OG&E spokesman Brian Alford. "By taking these actions, he has attempted to insert himself as a central figure into a proceeding in which he has no official standing. These actions, coming so late in this process " under way for more than a year " lead us to question his motive."


In a separate statement, according to the Sun, state Sen. David Myers, R-Ponca City, voiced similar concerns, saying the treasurer was trying to politically lean on the state Corporation Commission in a ham-handed attempt to influence its decision.


"An administrative law judge has already spoken on the matter, saying that the electricity the plant would generate is needed," Myers said. "I think Mr. Meacham needs to deal with the responsibilities of the state treasurer's office and let those charged with handling utility and natural resource matters tend to theirs."


Meacham responded, according to the article, by saying he was a simple Joe Citizen who has a right to express himself on the issue.


"Predictably, OG&E is trying to marginalize me and put me in a box, preventing me from speaking out on this issue like any other citizen should be able to do on a statewide issue," he said.

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