RETA has previously posted blogs on the very one-sided and biased hearing process administered by the Alberta Utilities Commission (AUC) to address the building of new high voltage power lines in our province. The Medicine Hat News recently provided its opinion (see this link) about the AUC hearing on the proposed AltaLink high voltage line in the Medicine Hat area (Township Road 114). The newspaper did not mince its words, describing the AUC hearing process as “intimidating, unfair to residents”.
Following are a few quotes from the opinion piece:
“With all the trappings of a court of law, one side of the ‘courtroom’ was stacked with highly paid expert witnesses, AltaLink executives, their lawyer and his assistant to help him keep numerous six-inch files at the ready, all smartly dressed in tailored suits, facing banks of laptops and reference material. On the other side of the ‘courtroom’ were the landowners along Township Road 114 who had been living quiet and peaceful lives until AltaLink announced its route for power lines. These ordinary men and women had thrust upon them a hearing, scheduled to take up to a week, as their platform to try to defend their rights to a quiet and healthy enjoyment of their property, including a view of the countryside without pylons…With the odds stacked against them (the residents), the AltaLink lawyer, in summing up and rebuttal, almost sneered at their efforts suggesting they’d not bothered to obtain legal counsel and therefore had not done a very good job of making their case…Hardly a fair playing field compared to the resources a company such as AltaLink has at its disposal…There is something terribly wrong with a system that foists on the average person the need to defend their right to continued enjoyment of their land and especially so when the odds appear horribly stacked against them.”
We encourage our followers to read the Medicine Hat News opinion piece in its entirety, for it is a most accurate description of the high voltage power line hearings held by the AUC across this province. There is no doubt the transmission industry, the AUC, the Alberta Electric System Operator (AESO) and the Alberta PC Government work very closely together to ensure that almost every application for new overhead high voltage power lines is approved, regardless of whether or not these lines are necessary and regardless of the many negative health, safety, environmental, property value, other economic, pipeline and visual impacts. Above-ground power lines also negatively impact agricultural crops, livestock, pets, birds and aircraft.
The Medicine Hat News opinion article ends with, “If you think this has nothing to do with you because you don’t live on Township Road 114, think again, AltaLink’s next project may be coming to your neighbourhood.”
RETA could not agree more. These lines, if proven necessary based on the facts, must be buried which essentially eliminates the negative impacts associated with overhead lines.