Danielle Smith on the Heartland Line

The Sherwood Park News is reporting today on Danielle Smith’s visit to Sherwood Park last week and on her comments about the Heartland Transmission Line. The full story is below, and you can read the story in its original location here (http://www.sherwoodparknews.com/ArticleDisplay.aspx?e=3470317).

“Wildrose leader Danielle Smith held a meeting in council chambers on Thursday, Feb. 9, which invited Heartland Transmission Line opponents to share ideas and strategize.

Smith is strongly pushing for the lines to not go forward, and this meeting was another chance to hear ideas and concerns. There was representation from Elk Island Public Schools, Responsible Electricity Transmission for Albertans (RETA) and the Colchester Parents Association, as the Colchester Elementary School will close if the lines are placed above ground.

Wildrose candidates Paul Nemetchek and Garnett Genuis were also on-hand to speak with attendees.

“The way Sherwood Park has just been completely ignored, the way this issue has been pushed at breakneck speed without proper consultation is completely unacceptable and Wildrose is committed to remedying that if we have the chance,” Genuis said following the meeting.

Smith said it was very clear to her during the meeting that residents do not want to have the lines built. She added this has also been clear due to the fact there have been very few interveners at any of the previous information sessions who felt the line was needed, but yet, the provincial government is forging ahead.

“If we form government, we will go back to the drawing board on all the lines proposed under Bill 50,” Smith said. “We have committed to repealing Bill 50 and doing an independent needs assessment.”

During a media session following the meeting, Smith was questioned regarding what she would do if the independent needs assessment showed the line was a necessity. She responded by saying that the government would still need to mitigate the costs on residents and on schools.

“Part of the issue is, they’re building a line on the basis of old information from a number of years ago when there were 13 different upgrader projects that were planned for the area, and so I have to defer to the wisdom of the consumers that are going to be impacted by it,” Smith said, adding she had a hard time believing an independent needs assessment would deem the line necessary. “This is a reason why we need to have these reviews, because these decisions shouldn’t be made by politicians for political reasons, they should be made once the landowners, consumers and residential groups have had an opportunity to have some input into the hearings.”

Smith hopes there can be a great deal of discussion surrounding the power lines in the next election, as this is a province-wide issue since Bill 50 has not been repealed. She added that if the lines are built, not only does it affect safety, but also the costs of residential power bills.

“Everybody is impacted when we have transmission lines built that we don’t need,” she said.

Smith will also push to have generators pay a portion of the cost for new lines if they are built, as currently, 100 per cent of the cost is borne by rate payers.

“Those are the kinds of things that we would do to change the way transmission decisions are made, so we would hopefully bring a bit more discipline to it,” she said. “I think that’s something all Albertans should be concerned about.” “

~ by RETA on February 14, 2012.

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