Writer says know your rights before meeting with ATCO

Central East Transfer Out Transmission Project proposed for Stettler County

If you own land in the County of Stettler, you will have received a package outlining ATCO development of the Central East Transfer Out Transmission Project. However, there is much more critical information you need to protect your land and your rights. March 4 in Gadsby, 28 landowners attended an information meeting where an expert outlined what landowners can expect as this process proceeds, as well as what landowners need to know before meeting with ATCO.

Some of the most important take-aways were that ATCO is not your friend. They have been contracted by The Alberta Electric System Operator (AESO) to build this transmission line and are mandated by the NDP Government of Alberta on how to achieve this. The Alberta Utilities Commission’s (AUC) mandate is to regulate the utilities sector, natural gas and electricity markets to protect social, economic and environmental interests of Alberta where competitive market forces do not. However, the organization is stacked with members appointed by the Alberta Government who needs the tax dollars from this project, and the very energy industries who need to be regulated. A little like the fox guarding the hen house.

We know as Albertans there are future power requirements. The transmission line will be developed, and we are well aware opposition is futile. The point is that ATCO has a very clear track record of achieving their development goals through any devious means necessary, while grossly disrespecting landowner’s legal and human rights. Affected landowners must be organized and united to achieve two goals, 1) ensure ATCO chooses the route with the least negative impact overall, and 2) protect yourselves from ATCO’s pattern of abuse by being armed with critical information. These proposed routes presented by ATCO are designed to create confusion, division. The adage…divide and conquer. When meeting with ATCO, make certain you have someone with you during your discussions who can support you and help you document the meeting, and assist in negotiations, if necessary. Put your concerns and your preferred route in writing, and have that document dated and signed by yourself and the ATCO representative. There is an extensive list of concerns you need to address (too long to include here) that has been compiled by an expert and group of landowners and it is available to you for the asking. It is critical you are informed and ASAP and before you meet with ATCO, so please, please contact me to get that list and further critical information.

In addition, the question has been raised as to whether this line is an overbuild considering we export power to other jurisdictions. Something else to think about.

Remember, it is important you state your preferred route. New proposed project routes usually proceed along established electrical corridors. In this case, the established route is the 9L20 line along 601. One of ATCO’s suggested routes comes from the Battle River Plant and is routed west along a new right of way beside the existing 9L20 transmission line to Nevis. One of the major advantages of the established route is that the area upon which the existing 9L20 line is located has already been extensively researched well over 40+ years ago.

There will be another information meeting on March 21 at 7 p.m. at the Stettler and District Agricultural Society Pavilion, featuring Todd Beasley, founder and managing director of Albertans for Affordable Electricity and Stop the Shock Campaign, and an individual with a deep background in the energy sector. If you will in any way be affected by this development, I urge you to attend.

Please contact me at 403-742-3904 and I would be happy to supply you with the information you need to protect your rights and your land.

Brett Penosky, County of Stettler

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