4 Candidates Fighting the Heartland Transmission Line

Many candidates for the upcoming Alberta provincial election (expected some time in April) are already out talking to voters, and electricity transmission is expected to be a major issue. Voters in all ridings are concerned about transmission costs, which have become increasingly out of control in the absence of an effective process for assessing what our transmission needs are. In some ridings, the effects on a community of having transmission lines in close proximity to where people live and work are also likely to be an election issue.

The proposed Heartland Transmission Line starts south of Edmonton, and travels north along the east side of the city to the Industrial Heartland. Candidates in the affected ridings, especially in Sherwood Park, Strathcona-Sherwood Park, Fort Saskatchewan-Vegreville, and Athabasca-Redwater are already seeking to engage with their constituents on this issue.

“I’m finding the Heartland Transmission Line to be a central issue in a lot of people’s minds,” said Sherwood Park Wildrose candidate Garnett Genuis. “They want the line buried, or better yet not built at all. The almost complete silence of members of other parties on this issue is really setting up a clear choice in voters’ minds. If you oppose the overhead line, then vote for me. If you support the overhead line, then vote for somebody else.”

Travis Olson, Wildrose candidate in Athabasca Redwater, feels particularly strongly about this issue and is a strong supporter of RETA’s work on it. “There is no need for this Heartland Line. Experts at the U of C public policy school, the Fraser Institute, and the Industrial Power Consumers Association of Alberta agree that these lines are completely unnecessary and will scare business out of our province by driving up power bills. I commend RETA for their hard work on this issue – they are working, as I am, to bring greater attention to the economic and community impacts of this unnecessary overbuild.”

Shannon Stubbs, Wildrose candidate in Fort Saskatchewan-Vegreville sees the impact of these lines first hand: “I recently talked to a third generation farmer in the area and he explained very clearly to me how the lines will destroy his farm and destroy his business and he won’t get fair, full and timely compensation.  And that’s the truth about these transmission lines- they will disrupt families, businesses, farms, and land and property value, and schools, all along the routes.”

Paul Nemetchek, Wildrose candidate in Strathcona, has spoken out previously about the problems with Bill 50, the importance of RETA’s work, and the need to stop the Heartland Line as soon as possible. PC candidates have yet to be selected in all of these ridings, but the PC government is rushing ahead full steam on the Heartland Line. These four Wildrose candidate are all in ridings which the Wildrose has a strong chance of winning. Unless the government changes direction on this, the PC candidates selected in these four ridings will have a very tough time.

~ by RETA on January 22, 2012.

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