Heartland Power Line is a Big Mistake

RETA Heartland transmission project logoIn the aftermath of the recent Alberta Court of Appeal decision confirming that the public has no role in questioning or reviewing the need for the double-circuit 500 kilovolt Heartland power line or in the financial accounting of the line, there are many who say the line is one of the biggest mistakes ever made by the Alberta Government. The public had only a very limited role in reviewing the precise routing of the line, considering that even the route was legislated by the government. The Electric Statutes Amendment Act, 2009 (Bill 50) placed the sole role for determining the need and general routing of the Heartland line in the hands of the provincial government.

Strathcona County Mayor Linda Osinchuk said, “We fought this all we could. When a situation impacts the residents, we’ll continue to fight if it comes down to that…That’s why the fight was to bury the line when it’s near densely populated places… I think this will be a regretful decision on their part in the future.” (Sherwood Park News)

RETA dollar sign image (smaller)Lawyer Keith Wilson, who represented the Shaw family in the Court of Appeal case, said, “When you add the cost of those three lines (Heartland, Western Alberta, Eastern Alberta) together, that’s $4 billion that we are now committed to paying for which no infrastructure benefit will result according to the industries that were supposed to be the ones needing this, and according to our independent experts.”  (Sherwood Park News) Wilson also said, ” I think it was foolhardy and fiscally irresponsible for the government to pass a law that removed the cost-benefit analysis, especially when we have a foundational principle in our transmission regulation that the system operator is to design the system to be congestion-free. You just create a recipe for massive overbuild, and I think that’s what’s occurring before our eyes.” (Transmission Hub) He said Alberta is the only jurisdiction in the developed world that has a “zero congestion” policy for power transmission which is contributing to such “stunning” levels of transmission development.

Colleen Boddez of the Alberta Landowners Council said, “The decision made by the three justices to allow the Heartland line to continue…shows that Bill 50 was carefully crafted to make sure that public interest wasn’t considered; that this government has no intention of letting anything stand in the way of its decision to move forward with power lines that are detrimental to Albertans…When the industrial power users are finally hit with this massive increase in their power bills, they will be protesting to the point that the government will have to listen to what’s going on. At that time, it may be too late, and I think it will have devastating consequences on our economy in Alberta.” (Transmission Hub)

RETA public interest photoJohn Kristensen of RETA said, “…public interest plays no role in discussion about those lines that are designated CTI (critical transmission infrastructure), so when you take away the fair discussion of any socio-economic or environmental impacts, that means ‘public interest’ becomes a hollow phrase…We’re certainly not going to roll over and play dead…We’re not going to let this go because it’s a bad decision; it’s probably the worst electricity transmission decision ever made in the history of this province…We’re even looking at challenging the Minister of Infrastructure’s ability to have signed off on approving the building of the line through the Edmonton Greenbelt and the Sherwood Park Greenbelt…There will be lawsuits, whether it’s individual or class action, from now until those lines rust into the ground. Guaranteed. People will be challenging them at every turn along the way.” (Transmission Hub)

~ by RETA on December 23, 2012.

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