Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Landowners Overruled

(Rimbey, AB) The Alberta Court of Appeal ruled against landowner rights today, and upheld the Alberta Energy Utility Board’s (EUB) decision to license a private transmission line from Lethbridge, AB to Great Falls, Mt. The court’s decision was split against the landowners 2 to 1.

On August 12, 2008 the Montana Alberta Tie LLC (MATL), a private company, received approval from the Alberta government to build a private transmission line from Lethbridge, AB to the U.S. border. The transmission line was designed to eventually terminate in Great Falls, Montana.

Alberta’s regulator, the Alberta Electric System Operator (AESO), had a very narrow and limited role in the approval process because private companies, such as MATL, are not required to meet any public interest requirement test, or economic ‘need’ test, in order to build a transmission line.

The Lavesta Area Group (LAG) contributed financial and legal support in an attempt to overturn the government’s decision that approved MATL’s proposal, because we firmly believe a developer’s dream for a private transmission line should not take precedence over a citizen’s dream of keeping his or her own home, property, or business.

LAG claims the Alberta PC government failed miserably in its responsibility to protect the rights of its citizens when it intervened to advance MATL’s private interests rights over the private interest rights of the farmers affected by the MATL proposal. The farmers directly and adversely affected by MATL’s proposal are innocent victims in a classic case of competing private interest rights. MATL’s proposal to build a transmission line has nothing to do with fulfilling any public interest need; hence government’s only role in this matter should have been limited to protecting private property from being seized to benefit another private interest.

The Lavesta Area Group takes the position that government should never encroach upon an individual’s private property rights unless there is an imminent and necessary public need. We will decide in the next few weeks whether or not we will appeal this decision to the Supreme Court of Canada.

Joe Anglin
(403) 843-3279
(403) 963- 0521 cell

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