The Alberta Court of Appeal has decided to hear the appeal by the Shaw family of the AUC’s approval of the Heartland power line (St. Albert Gazette, iNews 880). This is the best news opponents of the overhead double-circuit 500kV line have had in a long time. Following is a news release issued today by RETA, strongly supporting the appeal (see CBC News and Sherwood Park News coverage).
(Sherwood Park) March 29, 2012. Responsible Electricity Transmission for Albertans is elated that the Alberta Court of Appeal decided yesterday to hear the Shaw appeal of the Alberta Utilities Commission approval of the Heartland Transmission Project.
Legal counsel for Sturgeon Councillor Karen Shaw will now be able to argue in front of a three-judge panel that there was political interference in the AUC process and the AUC failed to consider the social and economic impacts of the line.
“We fully support the Shaw appeal”, said John Kristensen, RETA VP Technical. “We were shocked last October when Premier Redford overturned her Energy Minister’s request that the AUC suspend its process while the government reviewed the Heartland Transmission Project, Western Alberta Transmission Line and Eastern Alberta Transmission Line. She told the AUC to go ahead with the Heartland line because she said it was critically needed. That’s outright interference with what the government keeps telling us is an independent quasi-judicial process. As a lawyer, the Premier should know better.”
There’s a good chance the Heartland line can be stopped, depending on the outcome of the appeal.
There was overwhelming opposition to the Heartland line at last year’s AUC hearing. Homeowner groups, landowner groups, individual homeowners and landowners, schools, industrial power consumer groups, the Alberta Food Processors Association, small and large businesses, municipalities, and RETA presented volumes of evidence on the negative health, safety, property value, environmental, economic and aesthetic impacts of the line.
“With respect to the social and economic impacts, unfortunately, the AUC chose to believe the applicants (AltaLink and EPCOR) and their hired consultants who essentially said there were no negative impacts of an overhead Heartland line”, continued Kristensen. “How all that evidence presented by all of those interveners could be rejected is mindboggling.”
RETA sincerely hopes that the Shaw appeal will be successful, and that the unnecessary Heartland line will finally be stopped.