EDMONTON, AB (June 14, 2012): Alberta taxpayers could be on hook for millions of dollars if the Alberta Utilities Commission’s hearing into the Western Alberta Transmission Line forges ahead, Wildrose Utilities Critic Joe Anglin said today. In 2010, the AUC paid $35 million in taxpayer dollars to AltaLink after a 2007 transmission line hearing was declared a mistrial. The money was intended to recoup AltaLink’s costs for participating in the compromised hearing.
Yesterday, the AUC decided to forge ahead with the current WATL hearing despite a forthcoming Alberta Court of Appeal ruling that could change the entire scope of the hearing. The Court will rule on whether or not the AUC has the authority to overturn the proposed line. Currently, the AUC claims it only has the power to decide where the line will go. “We know this ruling could force this process to start all over again at Day 1. If so, it will fall on taxpayers – again – to compensate AltaLink,” Anglin said. “They’re making the same mistake again – and it’s Alberta families and businesses who will end up paying for it.” When the hearing began on Monday, Anglin asked that the proceedings be adjourned until the Court of Appeal makes its ruling on the AUC’s jurisdiction. Yesterday, the AUC denied the adjournment. “When a higher court is hearing an issue, the lower court doesn’t jump into the mix. It just isn’t done, but that’s what’s happening here,” Anglin said.