Heartland Power Line Battle Not Over
The Sherwood Park News reports that Strathcona County is not giving up the fight against an above-ground Heartland power line, even though the Alberta Utilities Commission (AUC) recently dismissed all appeals against its initial decision to let AltaLink, SNC-Lavalin and EPCOR build the largest 500 kilovolt line ever in Alberta close to thousands of residents, numerous schools and daycare centres, and many important environmental areas.
The County is keeping an eye on an Alberta Court of Appeal case by Sturgeon Councillor Karen Shaw that, among other things, is arguing the need for the Heartland line must be proven. Mayor Linda Osinchuk said, “We are waiting to see how that’s going to develop,” suggesting the County could apply for intervener status.
As chair of the Alberta Industrial Heartland Association, Mayor Osinchuk said, “We in the Heartland don’t need this amount of energy.” This is based on the facts that the 8 to 10 tar sands upgraders predicted by the Alberta government and the Alberta Electric System Operator (AESO) are not going to be built, and even if they were, they would co-generate their own electricity and would not require dirty coal-fired electricity from Wabamun.
Mayor Osinchuk also expressed concerns about an above ground high voltage line running parallel for many kilometres to buried pipelines in the Sherwood Park Greenbelt so close to thousands of residents. Many studies and past accidents have shown that overhead high voltage power lines and buried pipelines placed as close together as will be the case with the Heartland line is a ticking time bomb. Lightning strikes can travel along overhead lines, down the towers, arc across to buried pipelines, and ignite the highly flammable pipeline products.
The Mayor is also concerned about Colchester Elementary School closing down because of the Heartland line being built above ground within 140m of the school. Documented health risks associated with overhead high voltage power line electromagnetic fields and the toxic corona effect are of great concern to the parents of the 183 students attending the school, and they have said they will not let their children attend the school with a power line that close. The school will therefore close down.
RETA has also indicated that, in spite of the recent AUC dismissal of appeals, the battle is not over. RETA is exploring legal and other options. View and listen to RETA’s (John Kristensen, VP Technical) response to the AUC decision at: http://www.albertaprimetime.com/Stories.aspx?pd=3745.