Breaking news: AUC denies motion to halt WATL hearing

The Alberta Utilities Commission (AUC) on June 13 denied a motion to halt the hearing on the Western Alberta Transmission Line (WATL) pending a ruling by the Alberta Court of Appeal on the Heartland transmission project.

In a statement provided to TransmissionHub, the AUC said, “Proceeding [with the WATL hearing] now is not a waste of time. It allows examination of the evidence already filed and will ultimately save time and reduce prejudice to landowners who’ve had to wait many years for a resolution of the WATL project. The parties are ready to go, and the evidence is relevant regardless of the Court of Appeal decision.”

The AUC issued it full written reasons for the ruling late on June 14.

An intervener, Gavin Fitch of the 566 Corridor Group, which filed the motion for adjournment, said the hearing should be halted because of a March 28 decision from the Alberta Court of Appeal over the Heartland transmission line.

In that ruling, the court agreed there were issues regarding the legislature’s declaration of the Heartland line critical transmission infrastructure that should be addressed by the court.

Because the WATL and the Eastern Alberta Transmission Line (EATL) were also declared critical transmission infrastructure under Bill 50, legislation passed under the administration of Premier Ed Stelmach, opponents sought to have the WATL hearing halted as well.

The AUC disagreed, and will reconvene the hearing on the WATL on Thursday, June 14.