Bill 8 doesn't matterif it is not retroactive
We are happy to see the Alberta government introducing legislation that could return control of approving transmission-line projects to the Alberta Utilities Commission. (See full story on page 2).
However, we are concerned that it will not apply to the $1.1-billion, 200-kilometre Western Alberta Transmission Line (WATL), slated to run from Edmonton to just north of Airdrie.
If approved Bill 8 will reverse Bill 50, which gave the government the right to approve transmission projects without an independent needs assessment.
A number of local residents stood up against Bill 50, saying the government should not have the power to push through projects without public discussion or independent review.
We agree wholeheartedly. It is very dangerous for the government to give itself the ability to build billions of dollars worth of infrastructure without going through a number of regulated, and independent, steps to determine if it is necessary.
Politicians deciding what is best for Alberta residents behind closed doors without any input from those citizens or other experts is ludicrous and bordering on totalitarianism.
According to Alberta Minister of Energy Ken Hughes, the government has “listened to Albertans and responded” with the introduction of Bill 8.
However, it is hard to believe the government has seen the error f its ways if the WATL is allowed to proceed without further review. If the Province has determined that an independent needs assessment is required to approve a transmission-line project, it would stand to reason that any line approved without an assessment should be put on hold and go through the process.
The WATL will increase residents’ power bills, displace local residents and cost billions of taxpayer dollars, the citizens of Alberta deserve to have their voices truly heard on the issue.