Minister of Environment and Perth- Wellington MPP John Wilkinson is urging opponents of wind turbines to become involved in the process instead of protesting. “Some people have already made up their minds to oppose wind turbine projects. That is their right,” he said in a statement issued on Tuesday.
“Fortunately, the majority of people are very interested in seeing greener forms of energy in Ontario so we can finally break our addiction to dirty coal.”
Wilkinson added there are health benefits.
“The medical community has always been very clear on this issue. Dirty coal and the resulting air pollution leads to unnecessary illness and premature death. Green energy leads to cleaner air and prevents needless suffering and health care costs.”
He also defended the process by which wind turbines are approved, and said the rules are stringent.
“Under the Green Energy Act, wind turbine projects cannot be built without an approval from the Ministry of the Environment. The approval cannot be issued unless the project is protective of human health and the natural environment, and meets all of the strict standards set out in the law concerning minimum setbacks (550 metres) and maximum allowable noise (40 decibels).
“Proponents must show extensive consultation with both the municipality and the public prior to even applying for an approval from the MOE.”
Wilkinson added the process has been approved by the courts.
“Of note, the law and the approval process have recently been upheld by both the Ontario Superior Court and the Environmental Review Tribunal,” he said.
Wilkinson said that makes it clear for people, and opponents should be taking part in the process.
“What does this mean? It means people and municipalities now have a clear choice. They can choose to protest and boycott meetings or they can choose to participate in the process and raise their concerns directly with the proponent.
“If a project ends up being considered by the MOE, again people can protest or participate. Protest or participate. The choice is yours.”