Electricity Hot Issue on Alberta Campaign Trail
Electricity transmission and generation are hot issues on the current campaign trail in Alberta.
Residents in the Athabasca-Sturgeon-Redwater constituency have told candidates they don’t want the Heartland line because it isn’t needed and it will add to the already costly transmission costs that are skyrocketing in Alberta (St. Albert Gazette). Residents have also complained that their property rights have been negatively affected by the Heartland line, and that the PC government has overreached its powers by passing Bill 50 in 2009 which took away the public’s right to review the need for all these new high voltage lines.
The Wildrose candidate, Travis Olson, and NDP candidate, Mandy Melnyk, agreed that the PC government has not listened to Albertans when it comes to electricity matters. The PC candidate, Jeff Johnson, who gave the final formal approval for the Heartland line as Minister of Infrastructure, continues to suggest the Industrial Heartland needs the coal-fired power from Wabamun, even though the facts show otherwise.
And in Lethbridge, the PC government’s failed experiment with electricity deregulation sparked lively debate among candidates for the Lethbridge East constituency (Lethbridge Herald). Wildrose, NDP and Liberal candidates attacked the high power costs that have resulted from the Alberta government’s mismanagement of the electricity file. Wildrose candidate, Kent Prestage, said Albertans don’t need nor do they want the Western Alberta Transmission Line and Eastern Alberta Transmission Line foisted upon them by the PC government. PC candidate Bridget Pastoor defended the government’s insistence that hundreds of kilometres of new 500 kilovolt power lines are needed. (Numerous studies have clearly shown that these lines are not needed.)