Court of Appeal – Shaw Bill 50 Challenge

Keith Wilson appeared before a panel of three justices of the Alberta Court of Appeal on October 12, 2012.

Despite Altalink, EPCOR, and the Alberta Utilities Commission (AUC) all having a number of lawyers present, Keith was able to guide the Justice through his argument why the Commission has a legal duty consider the public interest and the socio-economic impacts of the Heartland and the other Bill 50 lines.

Keith explained that if the court were to accept Altalink’s and the AUC’s interpretation of the law it would mean that nowhere in the regulatory approval process is anyone looking at the cost of these lines and whether we can afford them.  It would mean that the utility companies can add billions of cost without any accountability.

In the end, Keith requested that the court overturn the AUC approval and send the case back to the hearing room so the AUC can receive proper socio-economic evidence and make a decision as to whether the Heartland line is in the public interest.

The justices reserved their decision.  We are expecting them to release their decision sometime later in November or possibly early December.

Attached is an Edmonton Journal story about the court case.  We will keep you posted. 


Bill 50 being Repealed?

On October 23, 2012, the Alberta Government announced that it was repealing Bill 50.

The government has decided that maybe it wasn’t such a good idea to move the decision on whether new transmission lines are needed from the AUC hearing room into the backroom of Cabinet.  Go figure?

So, the Alberta Government has just brought in Bill 8 (Electric Utilities Amendment Act).  This new law will transfer the decision on “need” back to the AUC.  This means that all future new transmission lines will have to undergo a public needs assessment.

However, Bill 8 will not change the status of the Heartland, WATL and EATL lines.  Those lines stay under the old Bill 50.

Our only hope is that the Court of Appeal will rule in favour of the Shaws.  If the Court does, it will mean that the Heartland, WATL and EATL will be forced by the Court to undergo a public interest and socio-economic assessment.  There is no way these lines will survive that scrutiny.  All of the experts agree these lines are a massive overbuild and will not get used.  They will rust out before they are needed.

Attached is a Calgary Herald articles about Bill 8. 


Lawyer Keith Wilson has reviewed Bill 2 (Responsible Energy Development Act).  This is what he has to say. (followed by CBC newscast, link below)

The Bill repeals landowners’ sec. 26 standing rights under the Energy Resources Conservation Act.  It does not replace those rights with anything substantive. 

The Bill also removes the rights of landowners to appeal decisions under the Environmental Protection and Enhancement Act and Water Act relating to “energy projects” to the Environmental Appeals Board.

I believe the new legislation should respect landowners and recognize that much of the energy development in Alberta either occurs on private property or impacts it.