An Unlikely 1970s-Era Environmentalist

Energy Institute Blog

A 1974 American Electric Power advertisement claim rings hollow today.

There was a lot of breaking news during the summer of 1974. Watergate was in full swing, culminating in President Nixon’s resignation on August 8, oil prices were skyrocketing, and Patty Hearst was still held by kidnappers. All these monumental headlines may explain why my parents decided to save a couple issues of the New York Times from that July, and why I came across them at their house a couple weeks ago.

The back page of the July 31, 1974 front section had an amazing advertisement, which I’ve reproduced below.

There are a number of striking things about this ad.

  • American Electric Power’s claim to environmentalism. The ad is for American Electric Power (AEP), who today produce more electricity from coal than any other US company by a long shot (see the figure below, which is based on this…

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