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Letter To The Echo, December 2010

“My name is Blaine Moen, I own land in the Porcupine Hills where AltaLink is proposing to build a 240kV transmission line. I will be contacting the Municipal District of Pincher Creek to urge the MD to get involved. The MD needs to oppose the entire Fidler to Chapel Rock transmission line proposal by AltaLink on the basis that the proposed lines are NOT within the approved boundaries provided to the public in the Needs Identification documents advertised last year. 

“To my knowledge the MD is not involved yet, as this is a “Provincial Matter”, which was outlined in AltaLink’s proposal. The MD needs to demand that this proposal NOT proceed any further so AltaLink can re-submit a proposal that is consistent with the needs approval identification. In the Needs Identification Document Application the Alberta Utility Commission “strongly encourages AESO (Alberta Electric System Operator) to direct the TFO (AlaLink) to make all reasonable efforts to ensure that any proposed facility application is confined to the swath boundaries for Alternative 1A”. This means that the AUC is “strongly encouraging” AESO to direct Altalink to not propose any lines outside the original application. As you will see, ALL the proposed routes are outside those boundaries. This transmission line would be one of the largest developments in the Porcupine Hills/Oldman River basin area. And, since all development within the MD of Pincher Creek requires approval by the MD, why wouldn’t the MD lend its voice to this development as AltaLink has gone against the recommendation of the AUC and proposed a line completely outside the approved area? 

“AESO last year advertised the need for this line in the Pincher Creek Echo showing a black and white map, a copy is to the right. 

Next I have included a map that superimposes AltaLink’s newly proposed transmission lines on a more detailed version of the map that was included in AESO’s actual needs application. 

“You will note that NONE of the lines now being proposed by AltaLink are in the area originally approved. ALL OF THE PROPOSED TRANSMISSION LINES ARE CLEARLY OUTSIDE THE BOUNDARY THAT WAS APPROVED! 

“The MD needs to recognize the injustice here and defend neighbors and constituents as there are legitimate concerns about approving development in one area and then building in another area, clearly outside the originally approved boundaries. This isn’t a single land owner building an oversized building without MD approval; this is the Government of Alberta industrializing farmland, relatively untouched native land and viewscape in areas that are clearly outside the scope of the original approval. I am not asking the MD to oppose the need for this line or to place this line elsewhere on my neighbors’ lands. I am asking that the MD hold AESO and AltaLink accountable to provide due process with accurate, matching documentation. If this line is allowed to proceed without Altalink proposing lines consistent with previous approvals, then this will set a precedent allowing AltaLink to do whatever they like on any future lines. 

“These transmission line proposals represent much more than just the government building infrastructure, they are yet another example of the expansion of industrialization of Alberta’s diminishing farmland and relatively undeveloped lands without proper documentation or oversight. Go to the MD’s own website (http://www.mdpinchercreek.ab.ca/) and look at the photo on the top of the home page. Go to the Governement of Alberta’s Environment page and look at that photo as well. Now, try and imagine what those photos will look like in twenty years if AESO and AltaLink are allowed to build above ground transmission lines and towers at will without providing reliable, accurate diagrams that are consistent with their actual proposals. 

“I took the following from the MD of Pincher Creek’s own website: 

‘The Vision of the Council of the MD of Pincher Creek is a community that manages growth and supports our western heritage while preserving our natural environment.’ 

“I am not asking the MD to stand up for me, but with me in demanding that this entire proposal stop and be corrected immediately before any further consideration is given to actually building transmission lines in unapproved areas. If AltaLink wants to build more transmission lines then AltaLink needs to follow the rules of approval set out by the Government and the MD needs to hold them accountable, the same as any of us. If you feel the same way, ask the MD to get involved through your local councilor.” 

Blaine Moen