Challenges Mounting Against AUC Power Line Decision

The St. Albert Gazette and Sherwood Park News report on the number of legal and other challenges already underway against the November 1, 2011 decision by the AUC (Alberta Utilities Commission) to let AltaLink and EPCOR build the controversial Heartland power line above ground. Over 15,000 urban and rural residents would be negatively affected.

Last week, the County of Strathcona filed applications with the AUC for a Review and Variance of its decision and Suspension of the decision until their appeal is heard. Strathcona is submitting that there were numerous errors of fact and law that raise a substantial doubt as to the correctness of the Commission’s decision. They submit that the AUC misapprehended the evidence on the merits of the underground option, erred in its determination of what is in the public interest, and erred in its considerations of the Sherwood Park and Edmonton Greenbelt as an appropriate route for the line. The County has also submitted new facts that were not available to the AUC prior to its decision.

Yesterday, rural Sturgeon County landowners filed a legal challenge in the Alberta Court of Appeal on two grounds: the commission erred in law by not conducting a comprehensive cost-benefit analysis of the line, and Premier Redford interfered politically and influenced the decision by the quasi-judicial commission.

RETA has announced that it will also be filing appeals of the AUC decision.

Last week the Alberta Association of Municipal Districts and Counties (AAMDC) passed a resolution requesting the provincial government to put all projects they consider “critical” (including the Heartland line) on hold until a comprehensive cost-benefit review is completed.

Karen Shaw, a Sturgeon County Councillor,  said the building of all these high voltage power lines that aren’t needed is “going to cripple the economy and it’s going to be bad for all Albertans”. Sturgeon County Mayor Don Rigney said because the Heartland line is supposed to link the East and West Alberta lines, and those two lines have been put on hold, it makes no sense for the Heartland line to proceed. “There’s enough power in the Heartland area for one to two upgraders”, Rigney said, adding that only one is being built. “They’re building a system for market conditions that no longer exist.”

(As well, any tar sands upgraders that actually might get built in the Heartland area will be co-generating their own power, so do not need dirty coal-fired electricity from Wabamun which the Heartland line is meant to transmit.)

~ by RETA on November 30, 2011.

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