Ted Morton in Trouble Over Power Lines

This article in today’s Edmonton Journal indicates that even prominent Tory Ted Morton is having trouble in his riding of Chestermere-Rocky View just outside Calgary because of the way the Tories have mismanaged electricity issues.

The Journal article reads, “Morton carries baggage from some of the biggest hot-button issues for the Wildrose – new electricity transmission lines, property rights and land-use planning – all detested in large parts of rural Alberta. ‘The transmission lines are haunting him’, says Bratt. As energy minister, Morton called a review of cabinet’s order for two new north-south transmission lines, but that review recommended the status quo. So it didn’t help mollify the dissenters.”

Our readers may remember three interesting points regarding Ted Morton’s vs. Premier Alison Redford’s positions on electricity matters:

1)  When both were running for leader of the Alberta PC Party, Morton strongly indicated that he never supported the controversial Bill 50 and would re-open it if he became Premier. He also said the two new north-south lines seriously risk overbuilding the transmission grid. (See his comments on this Youtube video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_OuG3m_m2v0). On the other hand, Redford simply said Bill 50 and the two north-south lines could be reviewed.

2)  Also during the PC leadership race, Morton was willing to consider burying part of the Heartland line near residential areas if it was built and if it was financially feasible. Redford has never supported burying any high voltage lines, and has consistently been emphatic that she wants the Heartland line to go ahead as recommended by the applicants.

3)  Last October, Ted Morton, as Energy Minister, asked the AUC to suspend the hearing processes on the Heartland Transmission Project, Eastern Alberta Transmission Line and Western Alberta Transmission Line until the government reviewed the need for these lines. A few short hours following the AUC’s public announcement that they would be suspending their hearing processes on the 3 lines, Premier Redford overturned Morton’s request and the AUC’s announcement by saying the Heartland line must go ahead. About a week following the Premier’s intervention, the AUC agreed with her in their decision that the Heartland line should go ahead as recommended by the applicants – build it above ground through the Edmonton and Sherwood Park Greenbelts next to 5,200 homes , several schools, daycares, a hospital and many environmentally sensitive areas. Colchester Elementary School will be closing down as a result, and Premier Redford’s political interference with the AUC Heartland process is currently before the Alberta Court of Appeal. Meanwhile, AltaLink, EPCOR and Quebec-based SNC-Lavalin have already started construction of the Heartland line.

In summary, Ted Morton took the right approach in the past, questioning the need for all these new 500kV power lines. Unfortunately, as Energy Minister under Redford, he has recently done an about-face, and now agrees that all of these new lines are needed. Some political pundits are suggesting that, if Morton loses his seat on April 23, he has Premier Redford to thank for it.

~ by RETA on April 8, 2012.

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