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AWA at Hearing to Oppose New Transmission Line Construction in the Livingstone Region

August 23, 2011

AWA will today join local residents and landowners opposing rampant transmission line development in southwest Alberta’s Livingstone region. An Alberta Utilities Commission (AUC) hearing begins today in Pincher Creek to discuss preliminary issues in the application process by the Alberta Energy Systems Operator (AESO) and Altalink to build 240 kV transmission lines in this beautiful and pristine landscape.

AESO and Altalink’s development proposals seem to fly in the face of commitments made on numerous occasions by Altalink President and Chief Executive Officer, Scott Thon. In 2007, Thon promised “At AltaLink we are taking an innovative approach to transmission by focusing first on reusing existing rights-of-way and reusing the land currently occupied by older, lower capacity lines for new, high capacity lines before we look to cut a new path of land.” This message does not seem to have got through to the staff planning to construct a new Fidler to Chapel Rock line through Alberta’s unspoiled Livingstone Range.

Previously, AUC granted a “needs” approval to AESO, recognizing the “need” for a new transmission line running from Goose Lake, near the Oldman Dam, west to the Crowsnest Pass. (AWA did not agree that such a “need” had been demonstrated, nor that any alternatives such as buried lines had been considered). Since receiving “needs” approval for one specific corridor, Altalink has proposed a dizzying number of alternative routes for substations and transmission lines, including options far beyond the route for which they originally received permission. AWA believes that receiving “needs” permission for one particular route does not give Altalink carte blanche to build transmission lines wherever they want in southern Alberta without due process. If they do need to construct new lines, which is questionable, then they should be looking to honour the promises made by their own president, and use the transmission corridors which already exist.

AWA member and former president Peter Sherrington will be representing AWA at the hearing. Numerous local landowners and members of the Livingstone Landowners’ Group are also expected to play a major role. The three-day preliminary hearing begins at the Heritage Inn, Pincher Creek, at 10:00 am, August 23, and is scheduled to run for three days.

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