Western Alberta Transmission Line Unconstitutional
As part of the Alberta Utilities Commission’s (AUC) recent hearing on the 500kV 357-kilometre-long Western Alberta Transmission Line (WATL), lawyers filed a motion which “argues that the PC government does not have the constitutional authority to legislate the approval of the WATL as it involves transmission of electricity interprovincially, which is a federal jurisdiction” (see this news release).
Joe Anglin, Alberta Wildrose Utilities Critic, argued the legal challenge is more evidence that Bill 50 (passed by the PC government in 2009) and the massive overbuild of new transmission lines is not in the best interests of Alberta families and businesses. Anglin also spoke of the WATL being used to export electricity to the United States, and is quoted by iNews 880 as saying, “Federal law does not allow the federal government to force Albertans to pay for an export line. Provincial law allows the government to force Albertans to pay for a transmission line”, regardless of its use. He suggests the issue will likely make it to the Supreme Court before it’s over.
The AUC hearing on the WATL wrapped up on July 20, with Anglin arguing that evidence was not allowed to be presented on the need for the line (Canadian Press). Many interveners and others feel strongly that neither the Alberta Government, the Alberta Electric System Operator (AESO) or AltaLink have been able to show that the line is necessary for Albertans. This is why so many people believe it will be used primarily to export electricity to the U.S.