Write a Letter
RETA Guidance on Writing to Your Elected Provincial Representatives
In the wake of a very biased November 1, 2011 decision by the Alberta Utilities Commission to let AltaLink, EPCOR and Quebec-based SNC-Lavalin build the massive Heartland power line above ground next to so many homes, schools, daycares, businesses and environmentally sensitive areas, we will only be as effective in opposing this ludicrous decision as our collective voice. This is your chance to have democracy work for you!
We strongly encourage you to:
- Send a letter to your MLA (Member of the Legislative Assembly).
- Send a letter to the Premier of Alberta.
- Send a letter to Energy Minister Ken Hughes.
The letters (or emails) can have identical content but should be sent separately and addressed directly.
It is imperative that:
- All letters are written personally, expressing your own views. A form letter simply won’t have the effect we need. You can borrow ideas from this website (see below).
- Letters should be sent by e-mail or regular mail to the addresses below.
Honourable Alison Redford (PC)
Room 307, Legislature Building 10800 – 97th Avenue Edmonton, AB T5K 2B6 e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
or,Honourable Ken Hughes (PC)
Minister of Energy
Room 404 Legislature Building
10800 – 97 Avenue
Edmonton, AB T5K 2B6 e-mail: email@example.com
phone: 780-427-3740 or, your MLA (we have listed the MLAs whose constituencies include the Heartland route selected by the AUC on November 1, 2011 . If you have a different MLA, please consult the Alberta Government website.): Cathy Olesen (PC)
MLA, Sherwood Park
#116B, 937 Fir Street
Sherwood Park, AB T8A 4N6 e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
phone: 780-417-4747 or, Dave Quest (PC)
MLA, Strathcona-Sherwood Park
#19, 99 Wye Road
Sherwood Park, AB T8B 1M1
or, Naresh Bhardwaj (PC)
5732 – 19A Avenue Edmonton, AB T6L 1L8 e-mail: email@example.com
or, Peter Sandhu (PC)
MLA, Edmonton-Manning 5523 – 137 Avenue Edmonton, AB T5A 3L4 e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
phone: 780-414-0714 or, Hon. Jeff Johnson (PC)
Minister of Education
4807 – 50 Street Athabasca, AB T9S 1C8 e-mail: email@example.com phone: 780-675-3232
or, Deron Bilous (NDP)
MLA, Edmonton-Beverly-Clareview 552 Hermitage Mall 40 Street & Hermitage Road Edmonton, AB T5A 4N2 e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org phone: 780-476-6467 or, Hon. Gene Zwozdesky (PC)
Speaker of the Legislative Assembly of Alberta MLA, Edmonton-Mill Creek 8207 Argyll Road Edmonton, AB T6C 4B2 e-mail: email@example.com phone: 780-466-3737
If you have any questions regarding the form of your letters send us an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The following points are intended to assist you with creating the body of your letter.
It is always helpful if you can tell a bit about yourself, e.g. “I’m a mother of 3 children…”, or, “I have lived in Sturgeon County for…”, or, “I have a business in Ellerslie..”, or, “My children go to Colchester School…” etc. In other words, personalize the letter.
Then, discuss your views on the Alberta Utilities Commission’s (AUC) November 1, 2011 decision that it is in the “public interest” to build an above-ground Heartland line through the Edmonton and Sherwood Park Greenbelts in Edmonton and Strathcona County, and through northeast Sturgeon County.
Building an overhead line in this area will directly and adversely impact 5,194 homes (over 15,000 people), several schools and daycares, a hospital and many businesses. Colchester School will have to close down because parents do not want to risk their children’s health and safety attending school so close to an overhead high voltage power line. The Heartland line will be the largest and most massive high voltage line ever built in Alberta, with towers up to 77 metres tall (253 feet) which is about twice as tall as any others in Alberta.
Hundreds of scientific and medical studies clearly indicate that prolonged exposure to overhead high voltage line electromagnetic fields (EMFs) and the corona effect significantly increases the risks of leukemia, other cancers, Alzheimer’s disease, miscarriage, birth defects, suicide, depression and dozens of other diseases.
Even though it was the AUC that rendered the final decision on the precise routing of this monstrous line, it is the Alberta Progressive Conservative Government that set the wheels in motion for this ludicrous decision by pressing AltaLink and EPCOR to build the line in the Edmonton and Sherwood Park Greenbelts which were set aside in the early 1970′s to protect agriculture and the natural environment. As well, the P.C. Government passed several laws in 2008 and 2009 that took away the public’s right to question the need for this line, legislated where the line would be built, streamlined the process for the government to unilaterally designate private land for power line routes, and exempted all high voltage power lines from environmental impact assessments.
To top it all off, Premier Alison Redford interfered with the quasi-judicial AUC hearing process in late October 2011 by ordering the AUC to render its decision on the Heartland line because she mistakenly thinks this line is necessary. The fact is the line is not needed, as clearly indicated by industry, industrial organizations, academics, responsible electricity use groups, and the vast majority of Albertans. The Heartland line will be a line from nowhere to nowhere because there is not enough electricity generation at the upstream end to fill the 6,000 MW capacity of the line, and there is not enough demand at the downstream end to warrant its construction. The line will be energized to only 15% of its capacity until 2027 and then to only 30% of its capacity thereafter. So why a double-circuit 500 kilovolt line with a 6,000 MW capacity??
An underground feasibility report prepared for the Alberta Electric System Operator (AESO) in 2010 clearly indicates that an underground Heartland line is technically and financially feasible and is reliable. However, the AESO, the P.C. Government, the AUC, AltaLink and EPCOR refuse to recognize the many benefits of burying the Heartland line. A buried line would essentially eliminate or significantly reduce negative health, safety, property devaluation, environmental and aesthetic impacts of an above ground line. And, when capital, maintenance and transmission loss costs are combined over the life of a line, buried lines are less expensive than overhead lines. Unfortunately, the P.C. Government and the AUC favour big power industry profits over the health, safety and financial security of Albertans.
It is therefore critical that you make it clear to Premier Redford, Energy Minister Ken Hughes and to your MLA that the line must be buried in order to address your concerns about the health, safety, property value, aesthetics and environmental impacts of overhead lines. It’s time to bury high voltage power lines whenever they run near homes, schools, daycares, hospitals and environmentally sensitive areas.
Thank you for your support in writing letters. We remain optimistic that this most unfortunate and biased decision of the AUC can be overturned, and that the matter is far from resolved. It is your letter writing that will ultimately help the P.C. Government understand that it would be doing the right thing by either ensuring that the Heartland line gets buried, or re-evaluating whether the line is even needed at all, considering the reduced development of the Industrial Heartland.