Michael G. Morris

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Michael Morris: Source: AEP

Michael G. Morris is the leader of the largest private sector consumer of coal in the United States.[1] Morris has been president, chief executive officer, and chairman of American Electric Power since 2004.[2]


Prior to joining AEP he was chairman, president and chief executive officer of Northeast Utilities System, beginning in 1997. Prior to joining Northeast Utilities, Morris was president and chief executive officer of Consumers Energy, the principal subsidiary of CMS Energy, and president of CMS Marketing, Services and Trading. Previously, Morris served as president of Colorado Interstate Gas Co. (CIG) and as executive vice president of marketing, transportation and gas supply for ANR Pipeline Co., both of which are subsidiaries of El Paso Energy. Morris also founded and served as president of ANR Gathering Co., one of the first gas marketing companies in the United States.[2]

Morris has served on the U.S. Department of Energy’s Electricity Advisory Board, the National Governors Association’s Task Force on Electricity Infrastructure, and the Connecticut Governor’s Council on Economic Competitiveness & Technology. He is a trustee of the Bushnell Overseers and the Board of Regents of Eastern Michigan University. He is also a director of St. Francis Care Inc., Nuclear Electric Insurance Limited, American Gas Association, Spinnaker Exploration, Flint Ink Corp., Webster Financial Corp. and Cincinnati Bell. He is second vice chair for the Edison Electric Institute, and past chairman of the Board of the Connecticut Business & Industry Association.

Morris graduated from Eastern Michigan University in 1973, then worked in the environmental department of Commonwealth Associates, where he prepared environmental impact statements for electric utility transmission lines, natural gas and oil pipelines and power plants.

Morris received a law degree, cum laude, from the Detroit College of Law and is a member of the Michigan Bar Association. He is a past member of the Board of the Detroit College of Law, the Institute of Gas Technology, Eastern Michigan University Foundation, the Olivet College Leadership Advisory Council, and the Library of the Michigan Foundation.


In May 2007, Forbes listed Morris as receiving $13.05 million in total compensation for the latest fiscal year, with a three-year total compensation of $22.03 million. He ranked 3rd on the list of CEOs in the Utilities industry, and 137th among all CEOs in the United States.[3]

Statement against new coal plants

In November, 20007, Morris told the Economist magazine: "No utility with any respect for its shareholders money would build a heavily polluting coal burning power plant in America these days; for fear that it would become a liability if the government moved to limit emissions of greenhouse gases." [4]

Citizen action and protest against AEP

Earth First! and Rising Tide activists blockade a bridge leading to the Clinch River power plant on July 10, 2006.

July 10, 2006: Earth First!/Rising Tide blockade of Clinch River Power Plant

On July 10, 2006, 75 Earth First! and Rising Tide North America activists blockaded an access bridge leading to American Electric Power's coal-fired Clinch River Power Plant near Carbo, Virginia. Several people stretched a rope across the bridge and suspended themselves off the bridge's edge; others waved a coal truck onto the bridge, blockaded it, deflated its tires, and locked themselves to the truck. The protestors demanded that Clinch River and other outdated coal plants be shut down, and that mountaintop removal coal mining be ended. After several hours in which coal trucks were unable to get into the plant, police agreed to make no arrests if the activists would dismantle their blockades.[5][6]

Proposed coal plants

  • Hempstead (sponsored by Southwestern Electric Power Co (SWEPCO), a subsidiary of American Electric Power)

Existing coal-fired power plants

AEP had 52 coal-fired generating stations in 2005, with 26,595 MW of capacity. Here is a list of AEP's coal power plants with capacity over 100 MW:[7][8][9]

Plant Name State County Year(s) Built Capacity 2007 CO2 Emissions 2006 SO2 Emissions Annual Deaths[10]
John E. Amos WV Putnam 1971-73 2933 MW 15,300,000 tons 117,299 tons 87
Rockport IN Spencer 1984, 1989 2600 MW 16,600,000 tons 83,543 tons 140
Gavin OH Gallia 1974, 1975 2600 MW 18,700,000 tons 24,787 tons 45
Conesville OH Coshocton 1962, 1973, 1976, 1978 1891 MW 9,060,000 tons 90,540 tons 44
Cardinal OH Jefferson 1967, 1977 1880 MW 10,100,000 tons 86,880 tons 55
Welsh TX Titus 1977, 1980, 1982 1674 MW 11,900,000 tons 37,154 tons 37
Mitchell WV Marshall 1971 1633 MW 8,478,000 tons 53,152 tons 51
Muskingum River OH Washington 1953, 1954, 1957, 1958, 1968 1529 MW 7,299,000 tons 122,984 tons 28
Mountaineer WV Mason 1980 1300 MW 7,727,000 tons 31,052 tons 38
Philip Sporn WV Mason 1950-52, 1960 1106 MW 5,407,000 tons 39,741 tons 110
Tanners Creek IN Dearborn 1951, 1952, 1954, 1964 1100 MW 5,963,000 tons 35,494 tons 120
Big Sandy KY Lawrence 1963, 1969 1097 MW 5,807,000 tons 46,476 tons 55
Northeastern OK Rogers 1979, 1980 946 MW 7,511,000 tons 34,645 tons 62
Pirkey TX Harrison 1985 721 MW 6,037,000 tons 32,391 tons 20
Oklaunion TX Wilbarger 1986 720 MW 5,016,000 tons 3,794 tons 7
Clinch River VA Russell 1958, 1961 713 MW 3,680,000 tons 27,134 tons 69
Kammer WV Marshall 1958-59 713 MW 3,244,000 tons 119,369 tons 70
Flint Creek AR Benton 1978 558 MW 3,977,000 tons 8,526 tons 20
Kanawha River WV Kanawha 1953 439 MW 1,820,000 tons 13,543 tons 40
Glen Lyn VA Giles 1944, 1957 338 MW 1,356,000 tons 13,632 tons 31
Picway OH Pickaway 1955 106 MW 366,000 tons 15,071 tons not available
Total 26,597 MW 155,348,000 tons 1,037,000 tons 1,129

In 2005, AEP's 21 major coal-fired power plants emitted 155.3 million tons of CO2 (2.6% of all U.S. CO2 emissions) and 1,037,000 tons of SO2 (6.9% of all U.S. SO2 emissions).

Death and disease attributable to fine particle pollution from AEP coal plants

In 2010, Abt Associates issued a study commissioned by the Clean Air Task Force, a nonprofit research and advocacy organization, quantifying the deaths and other health effects attributable to fine particle pollution from coal-fired power plants.[11] Fine particle pollution consists of a complex mixture of soot, heavy metals, sulfur dioxide, and nitrogen oxides. Among these particles, the most dangerous are those less than 2.5 microns in diameter, which are so tiny that they can evade the lung's natural defenses, enter the bloodstream, and be transported to vital organs. Impacts are especially severe among the elderly, children, and those with respiratory disease. The study found that over 13,000 deaths and tens of thousands of cases of chronic bronchitis, acute bronchitis, asthma, congestive heart failure, acute myocardial infarction, dysrhythmia, ischemic heart disease, chronic lung disease, and pneumonia each year are attributable to fine particle pollution from U.S. coal plant emissions. These deaths and illnesses are major examples of coal's external costs, i.e. uncompensated harms inflicted upon the public at large. Low-income and minority populations are disproportionately impacted as well, due to the tendency of companies to avoid locating power plants upwind of affluent communities. To monetize the health impact of fine particle pollution from each coal plant, Abt assigned a value of $7,300,000 to each 2010 mortality, based on a range of government and private studies. Valuations of illnesses ranged from $52 for an asthma episode to $440,000 for a case of chronic bronchitis.[12]

Table 1: Death and disease attributable to fine particle pollution from American Electric Power coal plants

Type of Impact Annual Incidence Valuation
Deaths 1,127 $8.23 billion
Heart attacks 1,758 $192.0 million
Asthma attacks 17,989 $0.9 million
Hospital admissions 209 $19.37 million
Chronic bronchitis 674 $299.18 million
Asthma ER visits 996 $0.4 million

Source: "Health Impacts - annual - of Existing Plants," Clean Air Task Force Excel worksheet, available under "Data Annex" at "Death and Disease from Power Plants," Clean Air Task Force. Note: This data includes the following plants owned by AEP and subsidiaries Appalachian Power, Cardinal Operating Company, Central Operating Company, Columbus Southern Power Company, Indiana Michigan Power, Kentucky Power Company, Ohio Power, Southwestern Electric , and Public Service Company of Oklahoma: Clinch River, Glen Lyn, Amos Plant, Kanawha, Mountaineer Plant (Appalachian Power Co); Cardinal, (Cardinal Operating Co.); Philip Sporn, (Central Operating Co); Conesville, (Columbus Southern Co); Tanners Creek, Rockport Plant, (Indiana Michigan Power Co); Big Sandy Plant (Kentucky Power Co.); Gavin Power Plant, Kammer Plant, Mitchell Plant, Muskingum, (Ohio Power Co); Northeastern Station, Riverside Power Plant, (Public Service Company of Oklahoma), Flint Creek, Pirkey and Welsh, (Southwestern Electric Power Co).



  1. Existing U.S. Coal Plants
  2. 2.0 2.1 "AEP board elects Michael G. president, CEO, and chairman elect," AEP press release, December 16, 2003
  3. CEO Compensation: #137 Michael G Morris, Forbes.com, May 3, 2007.
  4. "Coal Power," The Economist, November 17, 2007, p.71
  5. Earth First! Blockades Power Plant, Asheville Global Report, July 26, 2007.
  6. Resisting King Coal, Rising Tide website, July 11, 2006.
  7. "Existing Electric Generating Units in the United States, 2005", Energy Information Administration website, accessed April 2008.
  8. Environmental Integrity Project, Dirty Kilowatts: America’s Most Polluting Power Plants, July 2007.
  9. Dig Deeper, Carbon Monitoring for Action database, accessed Aug. 2008.
  10. Deaths attributable to fine particle pollution, as estimated by Abt Associates. See interactive map at "Find Your Risk from Power Plant Pollution," Clean Air Task Force interactive table, accessed February 2011. Also see "The Toll from Coal: An Updated Assessment of Death and Disease from America's Dirtiest Energy Source," Clean Air Task Force, September 2010, and "Technical Support Document for the Powerplant Impact Estimator Software Tool," Prepared for the Clean Air Task Force by Abt Associates, July 2010
  11. "The Toll from Coal: An Updated Assessment of Death and Disease from America's Dirtiest Energy Source," Clean Air Task Force, September 2010.
  12. "Technical Support Document for the Powerplant Impact Estimator Software Tool," Prepared for the Clean Air Task Force by Abt Associates, July 2010

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