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AltaLink power line could face Supreme Court challenge

Landowners will appeal a provincial decision that gave the power transmission company approval to use their property for the line.


September 30, 2015
by The Canadian Press

EDMONTON — Some Alberta landowners are hoping to use the Supreme Court to fight a power transmission line that they say could be left idle as the province cuts its greenhouse gas emissions.

The landowners are completing an application to appeal a provincial regulatory decision that gave power transmission company AltaLink approval to use their property for the line.

Lawyer Donald Bur said Alberta’s Surface Rights Board unfairly ruled that AltaLink’s 350-kilometre line from west of Edmonton to the Calgary area should be considered entirely in Alberta, even though it connects to power lines that leave the province.

That would mean the board didn’t have the right to grant permits to the company to access the appellant’s land, he said.

“All we can do is say to the Surface Rights Board, ‘You don’t have jurisdiction, so you cannot grant a right of entry order on this land,”’ said Bur.

If the Supreme Court decides to hear the case, Bur said his clients will ask the court to tell AltaLink to remove the line from their property.

The line has long been controversial.

Alberta’s previous Tory government called the line crucial infrastructure. But critics argued its capacity was far in excess of what Albertans required and it was really intended to ease the export of cheap electricity from coal-fired generators near Edmonton.

Bur pointed out those coal plants are being eyed by the province’s current NDP government as a place to cut Alberta’s greenhouse gas emissions.

Early retirement of those plants would mean those lines would sit underused, Bur suggested.

He said the court usually takes a couple months to decide which cases it will hear.

© 2015 The Canadian Press

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