Bill 46 outrage fuels protest

A protest against a controversial overhaul of the province’s energy regulator drew nearly 100 people to the steps of the legislature this afternoon.

The rally attracted a noisy group of landowners, environmentalists and other opponents of contentious Bill 46 despite icy temperatures and frigid winds.

A busload of about 20 people from southern Alberta attended the rally. Many carried placards and chanted “Kill Bill 46!”

“Ed Stelmach has the audacity to tell us that this new bill protects our rights,” Joe Anglin, one of the event’s organizers, told the crowd. “It removes our rights all together.”

From the Edmonton Journal , read the rest of the article here.

Gov‘t releases Bill 46 amendments after protest at the legislature

he Alberta government is scrambling to salvage a contentious bill aimed at reshaping the rules for public hearings into energy and utility projects _ a major issue for some landowners and utility companies.

Energy Minister Mel Knight announced a long list of amendments Tuesday that he plans to introduce in a few days in the hope of quieting growing protests over Bill 46.

“What I‘ve done in the amendments is address to the best of our ability the major concerns that Albertans have expressed,‘‘ said Knight.

The proposed amendments were announced only minutes after a protest at the legislature by dozens of angry landowners. They fear Bill 46 is designed to stifle them after an embarrassing spying scandal that unfolded during recent hearings into a major power line project.

Joe Anglin, a landowner who was part of a group that was spied on by private detectives hired by the Alberta Energy and Utilities Board, said the amendments can‘t fix the bill.

“This is a bad bill for not only people like us, this is a bad bill for industry,‘‘ Anglin told the crowd of nearly 100 protesters who rallied in the bitter cold outside the legislature.

Check out the rest of the article here.  

Alta premier says changes coming to bill proposing energy regulatory duties split

Premier Ed Stelmach says changes are coming to proposed legislation that many Alberta landowners say would restrict their participation in energy hearings.

Stelmach told a meeting of rural municipal leaders that his government will amend Bill 46 next week to change some wording on who would qualify to take part in such hearings.

Bill 46 aims to restructure the Alberta Energy and Utilities Board as well as eliminate funding to consumer and environmental groups taking part in oilwell and power line hearings.

The premier says “you can‘t please all the people all the time‘‘ and the legislation is necessary because Alberta needs more power lines.

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Rural route wreckage

From the Edmonton Sun:

Series of gaffes gotta be hurting the Tories in the countryside power base

When you consider that the EUB private eyes were eavesdropping on landowners opposing the 500 KV Wabamun to Calgary power line, you can understand there’s a growing fear that the sinister Tories were simply trying to do an end run around the folks angry over the pylons.

And from the way that the public appears to be cut out of the Alberta Utilities Commission hearing process, it looked like the fix was in, especially after the top Alberta bureaucrat who designed the deal left the government under mysterious circumstances up ahead of a conflict-of-interest probe by the auditor general.

It didn’t help when Tory house leader Dave Hancock tried to pretend that no amendments to the controversial AUC bill were coming, even though he knew perfectly well a couple of substantial ones will be walked onto the assembly floor next week, leaving the premier hanging out to dry for the last three weeks.

Last week Knight was still digging in his heels, blasting all opposition to the bill as “fear mongering.”

He went on to accuse “individuals inside and outside the legislature” of trying to “whip up an awful lot of angst.”

The opposition to Bill 46 radically switched when Calgary Mayor Dave Bronconnier waded in.

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Three leaving EUB in wake of scandal

From the Edmonton Sun:

Three board members of Alberta’s energy regulator have decided to retire following a scandal in which they allowed residents at a hearing to be spied upon.

John Nichol, Graham Locke and Ian Douglas have all informed the Alberta Energy and Utilities Board that they will retire at the end of November, EUB spokesman Tom Neufeld said yesterday.

“They had decided to retire already,” said Neufeld, adding that the men weren’t asked by the government to step aside.

The issue arose yesterday after Liberal Hugh MacDonald asked why the government didn’t fire the three after revelations they knew about private investigators being hired by the EUB to covertly monitor a power line hearing in Rimbey. MacDonald said Albertans were “betrayed, violated, disgusted and repulsed.”

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Three leaving EUB in wake of scandal

From the Edmonton Sun:

Three board members of Alberta’s energy regulator have decided to retire following a scandal in which they allowed residents at a hearing to be spied upon.

John Nichol, Graham Locke and Ian Douglas have all informed the Alberta Energy and Utilities Board that they will retire at the end of November, EUB spokesman Tom Neufeld said yesterday.

“They had decided to retire already,” said Neufeld, adding that the men weren’t asked by the government to step aside.

The issue arose yesterday after Liberal Hugh MacDonald asked why the government didn’t fire the three after revelations they knew about private investigators being hired by the EUB to covertly monitor a power line hearing in Rimbey. MacDonald said Albertans were “betrayed, violated, disgusted and repulsed.”

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Tories soften energy board bill

From the Calgary Herald:

Under rapid fire for its controversial Bill 46 that overhauls the province’s energy regulator, the Stelmach government is set to introduce several dozen amendments that will remove some of the most contentious proposals but leave others intact.

Word of the amendments, which were obtained Wednesday by the Herald, came the same day three board members of the Alberta Energy and Utilities Board announced their retirements in the wake of a spying scandal that has rocked the energy regulator.

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Kill Bill 46 – action guide and fact-sheet

Here’s a great report put together on why the proposed Bill 46 is bad for Albertans and could violate your rights as a land owner.

killbill46actionguidefinal.pdf

Camrose speaks up about Bill 46

Hugh MacDonald, Edmonton-Gold Bar MLA, attended the town hall meeting on Nov. 14 and heard nothing but negative opinions against Bill 46, which deals with the Energy Utilities Board.

“If the bill is not to be pulled from the legislative agenda, then it must be amended,” said MacDonald. He heard from 35 Camrose citizens Wednesday evening at the Norseman Inn, all of whom opposed the passing of Bill 46.

According to MacDonald, the Alberta Liberal shadow minister of energy, this bill will restrict and limit citizen’s ability to participate in regulatory hearings. It disallows landowners from hiring outside legal council when intervening in hearings.

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Alberta headed for showdown with angry landowners over Bill 46

From Canadian Press:

Alberta Premier Ed Stelmach’s tussle with rural landowners over legislation to streamline utility hearings is quickly becoming a street brawl.

Bill 46 would eliminate third-party funding to consumer and environmental groups that have become a fixture at regulatory hearings into proposals for oilwells and power lines.

Instead, the province would beef up the role of the Utilities Consumer Advocate, a government-appointed agent that until now has been largely invisible.

Landowners say the government is trying to stifle voices of protest by severely limiting who can participate in hearings and who gets funding as an intervener. Continue reading