Respecting the Environment
AEP strives to balance the responsibility of providing reliable electric service and respecting the environment when siting, constructing and maintaining transmission lines and substations. We use industry best practices to protect wetlands, waterways, habitats and endangered species.
Planting for Pollinators
At the core of our values is the belief that we must work toward a sustainable energy future. The Dawes Arboretum Right-of-Way Project is part of this important work. Here, we are finding the incredible value and environmental benefits in helping native plants, including powerful pollinators, to flourish after transmission construction is finished.
Respecting the American Burying Beetle in Oklahoma
In Eastern Oklahoma, AEP teams up with biologists to survey the Maud to Weleetka Transmission Improvements project area for the endangered American Burying Beetle. In May 2019, AEP received an Incidental Take Permit (ITP) from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for the American Burying Beetle. An AEP-wide Multi-Species Habitat Conservation Plan is also under development for Transmission projects.
Respecting the Indiana Bat
AEP is dedicated to protecting wildlife and the habitats they call home. Following a project in West Virginia, the company built artificial roosts to keep the Kanawha State Forest a sanctuary for the Endangered Indiana Bat.
For safety and reliability reasons vegetation and large trees must be trimmed or removed from the right-of-way before construction begins. Utility foresters work with construction managers to develop a clearing plan to lessen the impact. Documentation of the environmental impacts, mitigations and all applicable environmental approvals are required before clearing begins.
AEP meets with individual landowners to address specific issues related to marketable timber, firewood, large shade trees and fruit-bearing trees that are in close proximity to homes adjacent to or within the required right-of-way.
Construction often requires access to remote locations and the need for:
- Access roads measuring 12 - 20 feet wide.
- Use of wooden mats for soil protection.
- Working with landowners to identify the best locations for access roads.
- Identifying existing roads for access, where feasible.
Construction and Environmental Monitoring
A pre-construction meeting provides crews with the project scope, permit and regulatory requirements, siting requirements, special landowner requests or restrictions and responsibility for certain types of permitted work. Regular review meetings are held once construction begins.
Balancing Transmission Line Maintenance and the Environment
AEP’s Forestry Department is dedicated to managing power line rights-of-way in an environmentally conscious manner.
The company’s vegetation management program complies with North American Electric Reliability Corporation standards that mandate minimum clearance distances between a transmission line and the nearest vegetation. The standards are designed to:
- Protect the electric transmission system and minimize outages.
- Minimize any adverse environmental impacts.
- Ensure compliance with all applicable laws and regulations.
- Perform maintenance work safely and as economically as possible.
- Maintain a positive relationship with landowners and the public.