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Reuters reports that a monthly associates meeting at Walmart headquarters in Bentonville, Arkansas, recently featured an appearance by T. Boone Pickens, the Texas oil tycoon who currently is engaged in an enormous public relations effort to get Americans to consider various forms of alternative energy sources.

During that meeting, Pickens reportedly urged Walmart CEO Lee Scott, who was in attendance, to switch the company’s fleet of trucks to compressed natural gas … and according to Pickens, Scott has ordered a study of what it would take to make such a conversion.

Walmart spokesman Greg Rossiter tells Reuters that a possible conversion to natural gas is one of many options being actively studied by the company.

• More details have been released about the settlement reached between Walmart and its former vice chairman, Thomas Coughlin, who has been convicted of wire fraud and tax evasion. Because Coughlin’s illegal activities took place during his employment at Walmart, the company sought to void his multi-million dollar retirement package, an effort that Coughlin sought to derail.

It already has been reported that the settlement reduced Coughlin’s original $17 million retirement package to about $6.75 million. In addition, Walmart agreed to pay all of Coughlin’s medical bills as of August 21, 2008; and put $250,000 into a trust account pending the outcome of two civil suits brought against Coughlin. Both sides also agreed not to make disparaging comments about the other.

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