Lavesta Area Group to continue fight against Bill 50

Dear Editor:

The Lavesta Area Group is once again organizing to raise public awareness in opposition to Bill 50. The Electric Statutes Amendment Act is, in effect, an irresponsible allocation of public funds to build unnecessary transmission lines.

Energy Minister Mel Knight has declared that the need for new transmission lines was determined in 2004. Following these comments, the Alberta Electric System Operator (AESO) announced that it will campaign in support of Bill-50, and new power transmission lines. AESO’s CEO David Erikson said, “The need for additional transmission lines is clear.”

Bill 50 eliminates regulatory oversight and proposes to grant $20 billion of public funds to just a handful of large energy companies to build giant transmission lines in what opponents call the single largest assignment of public funds in the history of Alberta.

The Lavesta Area Group believes Knight’s and Erikson’s declarations are disingenuous and contemptuous of Alberta’s laws. The Alberta Energy Utilities Board (EUB) struck down the need for new transmission lines on Sept. 29, 2007 after it voided (effectively reversing) its previous decision to approve new transmission lines. One month later, on Oct. 29, 2007 the Alberta Court of Appeals adjudicated and struck down the need for new transmission lines on the basis of the reasonable apprehension of bias in the decision making process. Knight’s comments indicate that he is willing to overrule the EUB’s 2007 decision that rescinded the need for new transmission lines. However, we are confident Knight has no constitutional authority to overturn a Court of Appeal decision.

Current Alberta law requires that the AESO must file a Needs Identification Document (NID) with the Alberta Utilities Commission (AUC). AESO has not complied with this provision of the law, and they have not provided any evidence or proof to the AUC that a need exists. Under current law only the AUC can make the determination that there is a need for new transmission lines.

Until the AESO files a NID with the Alberta Utilities Commission, Erikson’s comments are baseless and without merit. Erikson should concern himself with AESO’s obligation to comply with the current regulatory process, and cease all destructive activities designed to disassemble the same.

In response to Knight’s and Erikson’s declarations and to inform Albertans, the Lavesta Area Group will host a series of public forums in Red Deer, Lethbridge, Edmonton, Peace River, and several locations to be named. The Lavesta Area Group will provide information and facts about Bill 50, and ask citizens to weigh all the evidence before making any decision to support or oppose Bill 50 and the construction of new transmission lines.

The Lavesta Area Group will continue to organize and oppose this government and AESO’s shameful attempts to reduce or eliminate property owner rights. Bill 50 dispenses with the necessity of due process of law before the taking of private property. The effect of the proposed Bill will be similar to obtaining a judgment without giving the defendant the benefit of being summoned or charged.

Joe Anglin


Lavesta Area Group