Power Line Protest
November 25, 2009
1,500 attend meeting on power lines
By CBC News
Around 1,500 people attended a rally at Edmonton’s Rexall Place Tuesday night to demand the province bury an above ground, high-voltage transmission line proposed to run near the city.
Around 1,500 people attended a rally at Edmonton’s Rexall Place Tuesday night to demand the province bury an above-ground, high-voltage transmission line proposed to run near the city.
“It’s kind of playoff hockey time here, so to speak,” said John Kristensen, a member of the group Responsible Electricity Transmission for Albertans, which organized the rally. “We need to impress upon Alberta Energy and the entire Alberta Government that we need this line buried.”
The 500-kilovolt line, which would be built by Epcor and Alta Link, would connect the so-called industrial heartland northeast of the city to existing power facilities near Edmonton along one of four proposed routes, which could run along either the western or eastern borders of the city.
Many people at the meeting worried about the effects of the line on their health and property values if it remains above ground.
“They are going in my backyard and I don’t want them there,” said Monica Benson. “I came to get educated and find out more about it so that I could pressure the government officials and try and get them buried.”
“We are concerned because our house is the last row of houses in Sherwood Park that is a proposed route for these power lines,” said Joanne Mikula.
Consumers will pay cost of buried lines, companies say
The power companies have warned burying the lines could cost anywhere from four to 20 times as much as the above-ground option, and could be impractical. But Mikula said the extra cost would be worth it.
“Even if it was 20 bucks a month, it isn’t really that big of a deal,” she said.
Magda Havas, an associate professor from Trent University in Ontario, spoke to the crowd about research that suggests exposure to above-line power lines can cause cancer.
“Burying the power lines gets rid of so many problems associated with the high-voltage above-ground lines,” she told CBC News.
The power companies are researching whether burying the lines is a feasible option.
“We’re not opposed in anyway at all to underground installation,” said Tim LaRiche from EPCOR. “In fact, we at EPCOR already have 125 kilometres of underground transmission in the city of Edmonton. None of it is at 500 kilovolts. So this is much larger that’s being proposed here.”
EPCOR and Altalink are planning to narrow down the four route options to two before the end of the year.