Opinion by Helge Nome
There is an old saying: "The Devil is in the details". That is certainly true with respect to legislation proposed by the Stelmach government to amend Alberta's Hydro and Electric Energy Act to over ride the power of the Alberta Utilities Commission in deciding whether an electric transmission line meets the need of Alberta, or is in the public interest.
The proposed legislation, currently sailing under the banner "Bill 050", was introduced into the Alberta Legislature on June 1 and seeks to amend various acts, including the Hydro and Electric energy Act as detailed below:
"Hydro and Electric Energy Act
Amends RSA 2000 cH-16
3(1) The Hydro and Electric Energy Act is amended by this
(2) The following is added before section 14:
Critical transmission infrastructure
13.1(1) In this section, “critical transmission infrastructure”
means critical transmission infrastructure as defined in the
Electric Utilities Act.
(2) The construction, connection and operation of a
transmission line or part of a transmission line that is designated
as critical transmission infrastructure is required to meet the
needs of Alberta and is in the public interest.
(3) Section 19 is amended by adding the following after
(1.1) Notwithstanding subsection (1), the Commission shall not
refuse an approval of a transmission line or part of a
transmission line designated as critical transmission
infrastructure as defined in the Electric Utilities Act on the basis
that, in its opinion, it does not meet the needs of Alberta or is
not in the public interest."
This last clause above (1.1) is the eye opener. In simple language it states that the impact of a transmission line on Alberta and Albertans does not matter. It is simply irrelevant.
What can one conclude from this kind of proposed legislation. Who on earth is writing this stuff?
Who has something to gain from this? Why are we irrelevant?
Simple: Because some other people think that they are a lot more important than we are. Who are they?
We know that Alberta is big box loaded with potential energy, which is exactly what the world wants right now. It is simply a matter of getting that energy to where it is wanted with a minimum amount of hazzle. We are part of that potential hazzle, so steamrolling us with laws that pave the way for the rape of our province makes perfect sense. Once the laws are enacted by the Stelmach puppies (or energy puppets), our own legal system will prevent us from doing anything about it.
Sweet, isn't it?