PC Candidates Don’t Understand Electricity Issues

During debates on the Land Assembly Project Area Act (Bill 19) and the Electric Statutes Amendment Act (Bill 50 ) in 2009, it was obvious the PC MLAs did not comprehend what they were agreeing to. Both leading up to and following passage of this legislation, there was overwhelming and widespread opposition from Albertans. A little bit of subsequent tinkering with the Land Assembly Project Area Act has done little to improve it – the government continues to have the unilateral authority to establish high voltage power line corridors on private land and essentially sterilize the land for other purposes. Readers will recall that Bill 50 took away the public’s opportunity to review and provide input on the need for new high voltage power lines, a particularly important right considering Alberta ratepayers pay 100% of the cost for new transmission infrastructure.

As well, prior to the election call, PC MLAs continued to think that all of these new 500 kilovolt power lines are necessary, when in fact they are not. Industrial power consumer groups, many large and small businesses in Alberta, the University of Calgary, all opposition parties, and the majority of Albertans know these lines are not needed or at minimum they are significant overbuilds.

Many of these MLAs are running again in the current election for the Alberta PC Party. They continue to be misinformed about electricity matters in Alberta. New PC candidates are also misinformed, as evident by comments made by Maureen Kubinec, the new Barrhead-Morinville-Westlock PC candidate. Based on her comments to the Morinville News, she believes the Heartland Transmission Line is necessary. During the AUC Heartland hearing last year, it was clearly shown that this line was not needed because only one of the 9 proposed bitumen upgraders is actually being built in the Industrial Heartland…and only because the Alberta government is heavily subsidizing its construction and operation. And, any upgraders that might actually get built there will cogenerate their own electricity and therefore do not need coal-fired power brought in from Wabamun by the Heartland Line.

RETA urges Albertans to ask their candidates from all parties a few basic questions about electricity transmission – for example:

1) Do you think all the new high voltage power lines currently planned are necessary?

2) Do you agree that, for those lines that are shown to be absolutely necessary, they should be buried whenever they run close to homes, schools, daycares and hospitals?

It’s time to elect candidates who understand electricity matters, and who will listen to our concerns about overhead power lines.

~ by RETA on March 26, 2012.

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