Trouble brews at renewed hearings on Alberta transmission line, Intervener files for adjournment pending court ruling

Trouble brews at renewed hearings on Alberta transmission line, Intervener files for adjournment pending court ruling by Sheila Pratt, June 10, 2012, Edmonton Journal
Five years after a shocking spy scandal derailed hearings, Calgary-based Altalink is making a new bid for approval of a $1.4-billion north-south electricity transmission line, a project that has caused major political headaches for the Conservative government. A battle is already brewing at the Alberta Utilities Commission hearings beginning Monday in Red Deer. Intervener Gavin Fitch has filed a motion for adjournment with the support of a half-dozen other groups, including Enmax, because of a recent decision from the Alberta Court of Appeal. The court said it “is imperative in the interest of certainty and consistency” that it consider the scope of the definition of “public interest” that the commission must consider in making its decisions. … Newly elected Wildrose MLA Joe Anglin, an area landowner and longtime opponent of the proposed line, says he continues to believe the project is an expensive overbuild that will mean higher utility bills for consumers and small business, and electricity for export. “The battle isn’t over,” says Anglin, who was to attend the hearing Monday in Red Deer. “The resumption of a hearing is ridiculous,” given there has still not been a public needs assessment, said Anglin. … The Stelmach government revamped the approval process after the 2007 spy scandal. It disbanded the Alberta Energy and Utilities Board, which had hired private investigators to spy on landowners opposed to the line.

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