Alberta Government Flip Flop on Heartland Power Line

Early on October 21, the Alberta Utilities Commission (AUC) issued a letter to all Heartland registered and interested parties indicating that Alberta Energy Minister Ted Morton had formally asked the AUC to suspend or adjourn its consideration of the Heartland, Western Alberta and Eastern Alberta transmission lines. Rightfully so, the suspension would give the government time to review its approach to these controversial and unnecessary lines. A few hours later, Premier Redford unilaterally overturned her Energy Minister’s direction , and ordered the AUC to go ahead with the Heartland line, because she mistakenly believed the Heartland line is critical to Alberta’s economy.

RETA has now had an opportunity to review the many responses and hundreds of news articles plus electronic media coverage on the unbelievable flip flop by the Alberta Government regarding its approach to the Heartland power line. Following are some of the more common themes to responses from Albertans:

1. Premier Redford has seriously overstepped her authority both as Premier and a lawyer by ordering the AUC to continue its consideration of the Heartland line which she emphatically stated was critical. She has interfered with a quasi-judicial process which is similar to phoning a judge about a friend who received a drunk driving ticket in hopes of getting the charge dropped.

2. Albertans and all Opposition parties were shocked that the new Premier would interfere politically with a quasi-judicial process. It raises serious questions about the independence of the AUC.

3. How can the Premier give the go-ahead to the Heartland line which is supposed to connect the proposed Eastern Alberta and Western Alberta lines, when she agrees that the need for the Eastern and Western Alberta lines must be reviewed? The Heartland line makes no sense unless both the Eastern and Western Alberta lines are also built.

4. How can the Premier consider the Heartland line necessary when there has been no factual information whatsoever presented by the Alberta Electric System Operator (AESO), Alberta Government, AltaLink or EPCOR to show that the line is needed? In fact, all of the credible evidence by industry, academics and responsible electricity use associations indicates clearly that the line is not needed. If it is built, it will be a line to nowhere.

5. The Alberta Government Cabinet obviously does not have its act together when it comes to the electricity file, because first the Energy Minister told the AUC to suspend its consideration of the Heartland line, and then a few short hours later Premier Redford overturned that direction.

6. Bill 50, which legislated the building of the Heartland line, must be scrapped – not simply reviewed – but scrapped.

Following is a small sampling of the response by RETA, as reported by the media, to this incredulous flip flop by the P.C. Government: Energize Alberta, Edmonton Journal, St. Albert Gazette, and Journal of Commerce.

Here are just some of the responses reported by the media from other Albertans: Global TV (1), Edmonton Journal (1), CBC, Calgary Herald, iNews 880, Wildrose News Release, NDP News Release, Calgary Beacon, CTV (1), Canadian Business, Global TV (2), Edmonton Sun, Sherwood Park News (1), CTV (2), Edmonton Journal (2), Red Deer Advocate, Sherwood Park News (2), Edmonton Journal (3) and Edmonton Journal (4).

~ by RETA on November 15, 2011.

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