Couple ordered to pay wpd costs in turbine appeal – despite concern for citizens who try to challenge government

Art by Paul Bloomer, The Money Counter

CountyLive
Two County residents have been ordered to pay wpd Canada $75,000 in costs in the loss of their appeal of a judicial review decision they had hoped would deny industrial wind turbines due to cultural heritage impacts.

South Marysburgh residents Liz Driver and Edwin Rowse challenged the approval of the turbines based on the adequacy of consideration given to heritage resources in the hamlet. They also have property that will be affected by turbines.

The judicial review was heard in April at Osgoode Hall. They were informed, in June, that they lost their case.

“The decision, in our view, did not show that the court had considered all the evidence and the arguments were not well founded; therefore, we brought a motion for leave to appeal the decision,” said Driver.

One of three judges responsible for the appeal decision Oct. 24, 2017 did not agree with the awarding of costs and stated concern for citizens who want to challenge the government in court.

“My difficulty is with a concern for public participation,” said J. Lederer in dissention of the costs. “As a matter of social policy we want people to engage with government when they are unhappy with, or seek clarification of, decisions that have been made. We detract from that ambition if we too easily tell people they will have to pay costs if they engage, but do not succeed, particularly in amounts as high as $75,000.”

Lederer stated wpd Canada was in some sense a bystander to the main debate in the case.

“The primary submissions in response to the applicants were made on behalf of the Director (Ministry of Environment and Climate Change). It was with this party that the principal defence of the process rested.”

The Director (MOECC) did not seek costs.

“The concern of the corporation is a commercial concern,” Lederer stated. “To my mind, those who seek approvals to construct and operate projects that, by their nature, will be controversial, have to expect that those who are impacted will seek to express their concern… As I see it, companies wanting to undertake these projects have to be prepared, when the circumstances call for it, to accept this as a cost of obtaining the required approvals, in the vernacular, as a cost of doing business.” Read article

Lawyer Alan Whiteley: Ontario’s electricity Ponzi scheme

Watch to the very end.

Drennans bring Notice of Constitutional Question before Superior Court tomorrow

shawn triciaSupport Shawn and Tricia Drennan Tomorrow!

On Wednesday, October 26, 2016 Shawn and Tricia Drennan will bring a Notice of Constitutional Question before the Superior Court at 1 Courthouse Square, Goderich Ontario. Start time is 10:00 a.m. This motion is in regards to the current commercial operation of the K2 Wind Ontario Inc. project and the harm it is inflicting.

Shawn and Tricia will be utilizing the Canadian Constitution Act, 1982, along with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.

The Covenants, described above are expressed in Canada under Section 26 of the Constitution Act, 1982, which states:

26. ” The guarantee in this Charter of certain rights and freedoms
shall not be construed as denying the existence of any other
rights or freedoms that exist in Canada. “

We are requesting your attendance at the hearing as a show of support. Any and all support will be greatly appreciated.

Yours Sincerely,
Shawn & Trish Drennan

Iberdrola Renewables sues to block bird death data release

trade secretsSandusky Register, Tom Jackson
OAK HARBOR — An Ohio wind farm has filed a lawsuit against two state agencies, hoping to conceal the number of bird deaths that are being caused by its operation.

The legal dispute was generated by an Ottawa County birding organization, the Black Swamp Bird Observatory in Oak Harbor, which contends that bird death data held by both federal and state agencies is public information. Blue Creek Wind Farm LLC, which operates a wind farm in Van Wert and Paulding counties in Ohio and Allen County, Indiana, says releasing its bird and bat kill reports would provide “trade secrets” to its competitors.

Blue Creek filed the lawsuit in May in Franklin County Common Pleas Court against the Ohio Department of Natural Resources and the Ohio Power Siting Board. The lawsuit seeks a court order to block the two state agencies from releasing the company’s reports on bird and bat kills.

Blue Creek met with Black Swamp officials last year and released some of its data in an unsuccessful attempt to placate the birding group.

The release of public information sought by Black Swamp would allow everyone to know the trade-off between developing renewable energy and killing birds and bats, said Kim Kaufman, executive director of Black Swamp Bird Observatory.

“In a way, the public information acts keep everybody honest,” she said. Read article

Tribunal rules against Texas oil tycoon T. Boone Pickens in lawsuit over Ontario wind projects

t-boone-pickensJohn Miner, London Free Press
A lawsuit by a Texas oil tycoon that alleged political interference at the highest levels in the awarding of Ontario wind farm contracts has been rejected by an international tribunal.

In what sources say was a split decision, the tribunal confirmed Canada complied with its obligations under the North American Free Trade Agreement.

The decision left a spokesperson for Ontario Energy Minister Bob Chiarelli boasting that Ontario is a global leader in clean energy development. He said Ontario will continue to work with the federal government as it considers the tribunal’s decision and next steps.

T. Boone Pickens had sued under Chapter 11 of NAFTA, claiming damages of $653 million plus interest after his company, Mesa Power Group LLC, lost out in its bid to build four massive wind farms north of London.

Mesa said it would have spent $1.2 billion in Ontario.

The tribunal, in the decision released Friday, decided Pickens’ company should pay for all of the arbitration costs. It also awarded the Canadian government $2.9 million for legal costs. Read article

WIN! Vt. AG will not press charges against environmental activist Annette Smith for wind developer

10231137afreedom-of-speech-postersWCAX
MONTPELIER, Vt. – 
Vermont’s Attorney General Bill Sorrell will not press charges against one of Vermont’s most outspoken critics of industrial wind and solar projects. But that critic says the fight isn’t over.

Known for her persistence, Annette Smith threatened a civil rights lawsuit against the attorney general’s office if they did not drop the investigation. She claims she’s a lawful advocate for Vermonters and simply exercising free speech.

Smith believes she’s a voice for the powerless, she helps Vermonters without lawyers protect their legal interests before the Public Service Board. “We can work together to site renewable energy. We don’t have to fight over this. We don’t need lawyers to fight over how we build our energy future together,” said Smith. Smith runs the nonprofit Vermonters for a Clean Environment and she works with homeowners who are unhappy with the siting process for solar or wind projects.

But allegations that she was practicing law without a license triggered an investigation by Vermont’s attorney general: An energy developer sent a letter to the AG alleging Smith, “provided legal advice” and helped “draft pleadings” for those parties.  Read article

Wind Company Lawyers Chilling Free Speech! Help defend Annette Smith, VT

Wind developers and their lawyers are brutal to anyone who consistently stands in their way. Annette Smith of Vermont is one who has fought with everything she has, and helped others have the courage to do the same. She doesn’t give up. Apparently she’s so good at helping that the wind developers and their lawyers need to ‘get rid of her’, and the only way they can think of is to drag out some ancient law that hasn’t been used in Vermont since the ’60’s for “practicing law without a license”.  And it carries potentially severe penalties. “It is punished as criminal contempt of the Vermont Supreme Court, and is potentially punishable by fine or imprisonment or both, in the court’s discretion,” John Treadwell, Chief of the Criminal Division at the AG’s office says.

10231137afreedom-of-speech-postersThis is such a long stretch of an accusation that these lawyers have schemed up, yet Annette has to fight it, she doesn’t have a choice and it is going to cost her a pile just to defend herself. Think about any person in this wind fight that has given you guidance, direction, hope, skills, intelligent thought, and experience (I can think of more than a handful!). That’s the kind of person Annette is. Now imagine that person is getting prosecuted just because she helped you find your way around the messy world of tribunal hearings etc, that were created by legislators and lawyers to be as incomprehensible to the average person as possible.

SLAPP_jpg_800x1000_q100There are broader implications of this sort of action that wind company lawyers hunger for too. It has the same effect on free speech and protest as a SLAPP suit. Those who need to fight for their homes will have nobody to turn for for help, unless they can afford lawyers that cost at least tens of thousands of dollars, usually hundreds of thousands. These people will not have a voice, and the wind companies can have smooth sailing. On top of this, those who have the experience and knowledge
will feel threatened to lend a hand to those who are desperate for some direction but can’t afford a lawyer – yes they are silenced too. images-3The only people left to speak are the LAWYERS! Alarm bells! Does that sound a tad frightening to you too?!

Please spread the word and generously help Annette out. Here’s the GoFundMe site that takes donations to help with this legal battle that has been imposed on her.

~Esther Wrightman


AG’s Office Investigating Complaints Against Annette Smith, Anti-Wind Advocate 
…The state attorney general’s office has opened an investigation into criminal complaints against a prominent champion of Vermonters who are adversely affected by renewable development. The attorney general’s office is investigating whether Annette Smith, executive director of Vermonters for a Clean Environment, has practiced law without a license — a charge with penalties left entirely to the court’s discretion. Continue reading

Turbine Construction Liens of over $32 million Registered on Parcel Registers for St. Columban Wind Project 

spiderplow lien windHuron Perth Landowners Association – Press Release – January 11, 2016 – UPDATE

There have been construction liens registered on property profiles in the St Columban Wind project for the past 9 months. Four construction liens and four court actions are still registered for $30 million.

This story first rose to attention in early 2015 when a landowner was reviewing his parcel register at Service Ontario in conjunction with obtaining his Crown Land Patent. He was surprised to find a demand debenture for hundreds of millions of dollars registered on his parcel registry at Service Ontario. In June 2015, while checking parcel registers for the St. Columban Wind Project of 15 turbines, it was discovered that two construction liens had been registered in the amount of over $2 million.

In October 2015, after reports that the liens may have been removed, Dave Hemingway, a reporter for the Landowner Magazine, checked again and discovered that there were now six construction liens on the properties valued at over $32 million.

In addition, there were certificates registered for three Superior Court Actions regarding three of the liens.  That number had risen to six court actions when checked again on November 16, 2015. At the time, one of the Superior Court Actions named as defendants: 21 leaseholders, four wind companies, one bank, as well as two Farm Financial Corporations, and two credit unions. Mr. Hemingway learned on January 4, 2016 that two small liens for approximately one million each have been deleted so far leaving four liens amounting to $30 million.

“It appears that the banks are now concerned about the liens as, of course, we have learned, they do not like to be second or third in line when securing loans or mortgages,” said Mr. Hemingway. “Some bankers are still saying they will consider loans to leaseholders after they have checked with their bank’s legal department. However, according to reports, other banks are refusing loans for some farm operations due to the liens. Landowners are wondering, “Why haven’t the wind companies paid their contractors?”  Continue reading

Chatham-Kent Wind company pleads guilty to two offences. Fined $11,000

fine penaltyDaily Commercial News
CHATHAM-KENT, ONT.—A company that develops renewable energy projects has been fined $11,000 for two environmental offences, including failing to comply with the Renewable Energy Approval (REA) by installing a transformer substation.

Gesner Wind Energy Project operator, Saturn Power Inc., pleaded guilty to the two offences, which also included failing to submit an annual bird and bat monitoring report on time, contrary to the Environmental Protection Act (EPA), explains a December 2015 release from Ontario’s ministry of the environment.

Operating from New Hamburg, Ont. the company works on renewable energy projects and also operates a wind energy project, the Gesner wind farm, in Muirkirk, Ont.

According to the ministry, the REA was issued for the Gesner wind farm, where, during construction, it was discovered that the project needed construction of a transformer substation, which the REA did not include approval for.

“Approval of a transformer substation is significant because of the potential for transformer substations to produce noise,” explains a release. “The company constructed the substation without seeking an amendment to the REA.” Read article

Today, remember NextEra, and their Nest Terror

There is this thing that Facebook does: reposts a picture or comment from any number of years ago that was on your timeline, sporadically, and calls it a Memory. I believe you are supposed to cherish these posts and sigh with, “Time flies!” or “Isn’t that cute?!”

FBEagleNestThis morning the picture of the severed eagle nest was there and Facebook said: “Esther, we care about you and the memories you share here. We thought you’d like to look back on this post from 3 years ago.” Ahem. Well now. Some people have sweeter memories than others apparently. I should like all the cute little pictures scattered around the gruesome one of the crane and nest – kittens, flowers, children – awww! But I hate to tell ya FB, that so called ‘memory’ still feels like yesterday, and not in a good way.

The night before the eagle nest was cut, my dad was dutifully browsing the “Friday evening approvals” by the Ontario government (you know, when the reporters have all gone home for the weekend and no news story can be made until Monday, when the lead has lost most of its heat), and he saw this permit issued to NextEra Energy to destroy an active bald eagle nest. Really. He called me up. We didn’t believe it. Read and reread it. No… they wouldn’t do that. I mean, even when the government would unthinkably hand you a permit to commit an act like this, you wouldn’t go and cut a rare (only forty-eight nests in SW Ontario), massive nest, that was currently home to two eagles, down… would you?

Oh but then we had to think, “What Would NextEra Do?” Well yes, they would cold bloodedly do this, they had an access road that had be plowed through to three of their proposed wind turbines (yet to be built) – and this road demanded that these trees (including one with the nest) be cut in order for the project to proceed. They like words like ‘proceed’, as in “Proceed as Planned”. They wouldn’t want to disrupt a Plan for a silly little (or big) nest. Continue reading

How NextEra lobbied for change to rules to benefit its “six-pack” wind projects

sixpack nexteraFor those who remember the chaotic days of 2010 and 2011 (or those who are living in its aftermath), when wind contracts were given in lumps to NextEra, Samsung and IPC – These documents will be of much interest to you. My advice – just read through them all, when you have the stomach to do so.

London Free Press, John Miner
[excerpt]:
“It was a cesspool. It was shameful. I feel very badly after seeing what went on here for my fellow Ontarians and the ratepayers of Ontario. They are having to bear the burden of the shameful behaviour,” Appleton said in a transcript from the hearing. Read article

See All Legal documents from Mesa’s lawsuit

Transcripts:

Here’s a taste from the Investors Post Hearing Submission

  1. In December 2010, the OPA released the FIT rankings for projects which had not received a contract. As noted previously, Mesa’s projects were ranked 8th and 9th in the region and, even taking into account the 500 MW set aside for the Korean Consortium, Mesa’s projects were within the 750 MW that would be allocated in the Bruce region. NextEra’s projects on the other hand were located in the West of London region, and due to the limited capacity which would be activated in this region (300 MW), most of NextEra’s projects would not receive a contract.
  2. Sue Lo stated that Ontario consulted widely with developers and stakeholders. However, no documents were provided to the Investor about Ontario’s consultation with other proponents, which the Investor requested and was granted by the Tribunal in Procedural Order No. 4, save for documents relating to Ontario’s consultation with NextEra.
  3. Realizing that it would not receive contracts in the West of London region due to the lack of available capacity, NextEra began lobbying the Ontario government for a change to the rules to allow changes in connection points amongst regions.
  4. Mr. MacDougall confirmed this, as he testified that, after he left the OPA, he heard that the reason the rules were changed to allow connection point changes between regions was because NextEra had lobbied for this result. Mr. McDougall explained that NextEra bundled its projects a the NextEra “six-pack” approach to “share a common connection, whose connection would be relatively expensive, but shared across six projects would make a connection economically viable.”
  5. This is confirmed by contemporaneous documents. Within days of NextEra executives meeting with the  XXX,  the Ministry] made the decision to allow a connection point window for projects in the West of London and Bruce.
  6. Prior to these meetings, Ontario had decided that it would not conduct a province-wide ECT and that an alternative allocation process would have to be utilized to award that capacity made available by the Bruce to Milton transmission line. The OPA recommended a modified TAT/DAT for the Bruce region, which would not allow a connection point window.
  7. To understand the results of the proposed TAT/DAT, the Ministry of Energy requested a “dry run” of the results. This dry run showed that XXXXX. Although Mr. Cronkwright had “concerns” about showing the results to the Ministry of Energy, and the document itself says that it should not be shared with the Minister’s Office, Mr. Cronkwright confirmed that the OPA showed the results to the Ministry of Energy.
  8. 156. Weeks later, Ontario government officials began meeting privately with NextEra. On XX NextEra’s Vice President, Al Wiley, personally met with XX. The next day, on May 11, Mr. Wiley met with Andrew Mitchell, Senior Policy Advisor in the Minister of Energy’s Office, and apparently a member of the secret “Breakfast club”, to discuss whether a connection point change window would be opened prior to the next round of FIT contract awards, which was a “a very significant issue for NextEra.” Then on May 12, the Premier met with the Ministry of Energy, and the decision was made to allow a connection point window change. On May 13, the morning after the decision was made, Ms. Lo met with NextEra, and in response to this call, Mr. Wiley sent Ms. Lo the names of the six NextEra projects “remaining in the FIT queue.”
  9. Days later, on May 31, Nicole Geneau of NextEra knew that a connection point change window was opening although no public announcement had been made.
  10. Ms. Lo contended that all FIT applicants were treated the same, but the documents in the record show that more favourable treatment was given to Pattern, International Power Canada and NextEra. IPC’s projects were protected from being shut out by a Korean Consortium set aside, something that was not offered to any other FIT proponent, while NextEra was given insider access to the outcome of the Bruce allocation process. And Pattern was allowed to benefit from the favourable treatment afforded to the Korean Consortium, a benefit which was not given to other FIT proponents like Mesa.
  11. Canada attempts to down play this preferential treatment by contending that the OPA had been advising FIT proponents since 2010 that a change window would be allowed prior to the first ECT.238 However, this contradicted the FIT Rules, which only allowed connection point changes prior to the first ECT for projects connecting to the distribution system. The FIT rules did not allow for such changes prior to the first ECT for projects connecting to the transmission system, like those of NextEra and Mesa.239 Therefore a FIT proponent like Mesa, that was relying on the FIT Rules for its understanding of the process, would have reasonably expected that projects like NextEra’s would not be able to change connection points prior to the first ECT, or prior to the awarding of contracts in the Bruce region.
  12. Furthermore, at no point, in any of these communications,did the OPA advise proponents that projects would be allowed to change their connection points to a different transmission area or that this would be done outside of a province‐wide ECT.
  13. To get around this, Canada contends that if the FIT Rules did not prohibit something, then it was allowed. This argument is unavailing. The OPA could have held stakeholder consultations to decide what course of action would best represent the understanding of the majority of the affected stakeholders. Had it done so, Ontario would have discovered that more affected stakeholders located in the Bruce region would oppose the change than affected stakeholders in the West of London as the proposed change window benefitted mainly two companies in the West of London, NextEra and Suncor, at the expense of 12 projects already ranked in the Bruce region that were in line for contracts (two of which belonged to Mesa).
  14. If a change amongst regions was what was originally intended under the FIT rules,and every proponent knew or should have known this, why did NextEra have to lobby for it? The reason is simple: this was not the understanding of FIT proponents at the time. Colin Edwards of Pattern Energy confirmed this during his deposition:

Continue reading

Huron East farmers hit with $32 million liens by wind turbine construction contractors

Veresen, St. Columban Wind. Money troubles. Maybe this explains why they went after my dad for ‘costs’ in the Environmental Review Tribunal, being short on cash. They were denied costs in a decision by the ERT, and thankfully future Appellants haven’t had to face this threat when trying to voice their concerns in the only way that is provided to them.

But $32 million in liens? Did they EVER have the money to build this wind project? 

spiderplow lien wind


Parcel Register for Property Identifier

LOCAL FARMERS NAMED IN LIENS WORTH over $32 MILLION
Huron Perth Landowners Association (HPLA) Press Release — October 8, 2015

Over $32 million in construction liens have been placed against St. Columban area farms. In many cases, it seems, they were applied without the farmers’ knowledge.

Six liens, valued at over $32 million, have been applied to local properties by wind turbine construction contractors, according to the Service Canada registry.  From documents obtained four of the six liens have been applied since June 2015.

In addition, three Superior Court Certificates indicate that legal action has been initiated and, according to court records obtained Oct. 5, 2015, this continues to be an ongoing issue.

Information from one local farmer (leaseholder), who has construction liens placed against his property, shows that the liens are more than double the income he hopes to receive over the twenty-year life of his leases. He was told by contacts associated with the wind turbine company that the liens would be removed, and yet no such action has been taken. He was unaware of the more recent construction liens, which also impact his farm. Continue reading

Fixing a bad law: Green Energy Act

Law-Students-223x1024Wellington Times, Rick Conroy
The Green Energy Act (GEA) is the target of a proposed judicial review to be launched this fall. CCSAGE Naturally Green, a not-for-profit public interest corporation led by its directors Anne Dumbrille, Alison Walker and Garth Manning, believe the GEA is a fundamentally flawed piece of legislation. They argue the GEA tramples rights and freedoms, punishes rural Ontarians, contravenes statutes and conventions the province is bound to uphold, and, at its core, is fundamentally unjust.

One example: Currently, wind developer wpd Canada is appealing a decision, made under the provisions of the GEA, permitting it to build 27 of 29 industrial wind turbines it proposes in South Marysburgh. In making this appeal, the developer is allowed to make a wide range of arguments and present evidence in its favour. It will certainly argue that the decision will impair its ability to make money from the project. It may argue that the heritage value of the nearby properties has been overstated. It is likely to argue many things. Because it can.

Meanwhile, opponents of the project are permitted only to object on the basis that the project will cause serious harm to humans or serious and irreversible harm to plant life, animal life or the natural environment.

The developer is granted unlimited scope to argue in favour of its profit, while residents are restricted to just two near-impossible tests. The province designed the GEA this way.

Alan Whiteley, a lawyer acting for CCSAGE, considers the GEA a fundamental assault on the rights, freedoms and statutes that have been constructed to protect citizens and the environment from this kind of overreach by government. It is something, he argues, we must all resist. Read article

New Environmental Commissioner: Wind Turbine Lover Dianne Saxe

saxeToronto Star: “MPPs did agree on Dianne Saxe, a veteran environmental lawyer, as Ontario’s new environment commissioner, replacing Gord Miller, who retired last spring after three terms.


I suppose this is just one more pig for Orwell’s barnyard. Most of you are too familiar with Dianne – she loves turbines and trashes anyone who dares to object to them on her blog. So much for an unbiased Commissioner.

I was listening to the legislature today (okay, don’t fault me for that, I won’t make a habit of it) and when they announced her for Commissioner I choked, then they asked if there were any objections. Oh you better believe I was yelling at the computer, “YES!!! Dammit, I OBJECT!!”. To no avail because apparently we don’t get to vote these people in, or shoe them out.

Oh yeah, and have a look at what she presents to the American Bar Association: A Short History of Wind Litigation in Ontario. Amazing, she’s an expert on this litigation and I highly doubt she ever attended a single ERT hearing.

I went to one of her pro wind meetings in Clinton (I think) a few years back. My dad and I sat down with our notepads near the front. Soon our friends the police found us and said “Hi”, probably a tad embarrassed that they had been asked to attend when it was only us. Turns out the group was worried they (or she) would be mobbed by us bad anti wind people. I guess she was ramping security in practice for her future fame…

When turtles trump turbines

blandings_turtleCanadian Lawyer Mag, Shannon Kari
A few kilometres west of the eastern Ontario village of Consecon in Prince Edward County, on a narrow but busy stretch of road known as the Loyalist Parkway, there is a yellow road sign. It warns of turtles crossing the main automobile route to the popular Sandbanks Provincial Park — the Blanding’s turtle, to be precise.

The medium-sized turtle, with bright yellow throat and chin and domed shell, is classified as a threatened species in Ontario. It also has another distinction. So far, it is the only species, including humans, to derail at least temporarily a proposed wind energy project in the province.

There have been nearly 30 hearings before the Environmental Review Tribunal, seeking to stop so-called wind farms, since the enactment of the Green Energy Act in Ontario in 2009. Each time, local residents, usually in rural areas, have been unsuccessful in meeting the legal test to revoke or change the terms of a permit issued by the province for a wind energy project.

The one exception is the Ostrander Point plan to construct nine wind turbines in an area on the south shore of the county. The Ontario Court of Appeal earlier this year overturned a Divisional Court decision that would have approved the project. The appeal court sent the matter back to the tribunal for a second hearing because of concerns about threats to the safety of the Blanding’s turtle. Read article

Warwick mayor calls wind money ‘extortion’

extortion

Petrolia Independant, Heather Wright
Warwick Mayor Todd Case says the latest process to bid for wind energy projects amounts to extortion and his municipality won’t be part of it. Four wind energy companies are in the process of bidding for industrial projects in Warwick, Brooke-Alvinston and Enniskillen. As part of the process, the companies are approaching municipalities to talk about what is going on and hoping to gain some form of support to improve their chances of approval.

Under the new process approved in June, companies receive bonus points for some forms of municipal approval. There is a form to say they have met with the municipal government which bears no points. If a company signs an Community Commitment Agreement with a municipality, it receives points which make the project more likely to be approved. Municipalities can also endorse projects; those projects are mostly likely to be approved.

Suncor Energy and NextEra, which are both preparing bids for projects in Warwick, are pressing the community to sign Community Commitment Agreements which include compensation for having the turbines in the community.

But Mayor Case says Warwick is not about to sign anything and shouldn’t be penalized financially because of it. “The process, in my opinion, stinks,” he tells The Independent. “The province says it now gives municipalities a chance to weigh in but there are points for the companies if you sign (for compensation). That’s extortion in my point of view.” Read article

NextEra Won’t Drop Its Lawsuit against Esther Wrightman

You’d think NextEra, which operates more than 100 wind projects in 19 states and Canada, could afford to tolerate a critic
or two.

esther nexterrorNational Review, Robert Bryce
Two years ago, I wrote a piece for NRO about a SLAPP suit (strategic lawsuit against public participation) that NextEra Energy, America’s biggest wind-energy producer, had filed against Esther Wrightman, an anti-wind-project activist from the tiny village (pop.: 120) of Kerwood, Ontario. It’s now time for an update. NextEra overcame Wrightman’s opposition to the Adelaide Wind Energy Centre, a 60-megawatt project that began producing electricity last year. The 38-turbine wind project was erected right next to Wrightman’s home. In June 2014, she left not only Kerwood but Ontario and, along with her two children, her husband (who is disabled), and her parents, moved to the larger village (pop.: 1,889) of St. Andrews, New Brunswick. The Wrightmans also relocated their family business, Wrightman Alpines, a nursery that specializes in alpine plants.

Esther Wrightman couldn’t stop the wind project that turned her into an activist. But here’s the reason for this update: NextEra is still SLAPPing her. For reasons the company won’t explain, it hasn’t dropped its litigation. This is more than a story about Goliath beating up on David (or Esther). It’s also fundamentally about freedom of speech and the ability of citizens to speak out against (or, in Wrightman’s case, to make fun of) big corporations. Read article

NexTerror strikes again – wind company threatens elderly leaseholders

NextTerror lawyerFebruary 13, 2014 we received registered mail from McCarthy Tetrault LLP stating… “our client [NextEra Energy] demands that you promptly execute and return two fully executed copies of such lease by no later than February 21, 2014.

If you fail to deliver such copies of the signed lease, you should be aware that Goshen has requested us to take immediate legal action on its behalf to enforce its rights and remedies for your breach of the Option Agreement, which action may result in you becoming liable for, amongst other things, Court costs, damages (which can extend to substantial amounts on account of delayed construction of the overall project and lost revenues arising from such delays), and interest on such damages at the rates prescribed under the Courts of Justice Act of Ontario. As well, you should be aware that such litigation against you may result in adverse implications for your credit ratings.”

Mayor Hessel, Council members and CAO:
I am attaching a self-explanatory letter from Bev Teeter, a Bluewater resident and turbine lease holder in Nextera’s Goshen Project.  In addition the addressee within the attached, she has also sent it to the London Free Press as an open Letter to the Editor however it is unlikely they will print it.

This brave woman has been a thorn in Nextera’s side for a long time now.  They eventually removed Turbine #13 from being built on her property however the transmission/collection lines do go through their property.

Bev has been a staunch supporter of the anti-wind movement after she realized she was duped by the wind companies.  She is in her 80’s, has a hearing impairment and cares deeply about doing what she can to right a wrong which is what she felt she did by signing the lease.  She was bullied into doing so without a care towards her or her husband of over 50 years.  I cannot express how disgusted I am with Nextera for treating vulnerable people such as Bev and her husband, Irv, so callously.

My hope is that Council is able to see this as just one example of how useless it is to enter into any sort of agreement such as a Vibrancy Fund that would ‘recognize’ wind companies as anything other than the wind weasels they are.  Should you disregard the manner in which they have treated this senior citizen and taxpayer of this county, you do so knowing full well that you are putting all the the citizens of Bluewater at risk.

Please do the right thing and stop the ongoing data collection with the wind companies.  Your actions in continuing to engage with these companies will do nothing other than sell us all down the river.

I would request this letter along with Bev’s be attached to the agenda of a Municipal Council meeting and that they be read aloud in their entirety. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me. Thank you.
(pk)

The following is a prime example of how people are actually treated by wind developers after they get their signatures….


Open Letter
Dashwood, ON N0M1N0
June 3, 2015
Goshen Wind, LP
700 Universe Blvd.
Juno Beach, FL 33408
Att. Carlos Megias, Senior Counsel
Re: Lease with Goshen Wind Inc. with Effective Date of  December 15, 2013

Dear Sir,
Your letter dated May 28 arrived here June 1.   You object to our informing the Sumitoma Mitsui Banking Corporation of Canada that “the lease on our land assumed by Goshen Wind was obtained illegally, as our signatures were attached without our knowledge or consent”.   This in our opinion is absolutely true.

As stated in my reply to NextEra’s Goshen employee in June 2014:
“Nicole, before responding to your June 19th letter, I would like to set down my view of the overall situation and the Green Energy Act . For every monster turbine set in motion, the people of Ontario lose.  Every wind project increases our future energy payments.  People complain about their “hydro” bills but may be unaware that wind power has been given special status…  guaranteed high rates and first usage before cheaper sources already available.  They may be unaware that excess  power is dumped across the border for far less than what we have paid for it.  Along with the enormous costs of building these projects which we do not need, they destroy  habitat for birds and people alike,  cause many to suffer Wind Turbine Syndrome documented where ever such mammoth turbines spin  and ultimately facilitate a process which turns our prime agricultural land over to Corporate owners at drastically diminished values.  And as turbines go up, possibilities for truly green alternatives diminish. There is nothing beneficial to Ontario in this.  Wind Turbines do not serve to reduce CO2,  they are not pristine and green. Continue reading

Plympton-Wyoming council says Suncor road use agreement ‘too cheap’

gravel 008The Independent, Heather Wright
Plympton-Wyoming council has kicked a proposed road-use agreement with Suncor Energy for its Cedar Point Wind Project back to staff for further negotiations. The 46-turbine project is a 50/50 partnership between Suncor and NextEra in Plympton-Wyoming, Warwick and Lambton Shores.

Plympton-Wyoming’s Chief Executive Officer, Kyle Pratt, says earlier this year council had directed staff to discuss a road-use agreement with Suncor. “We looked at a number of road use agreements from other municipalities, namely those of Lambton, Huron and Middlesex counties,” he told council May 27.

“Their lawyers had already looked at certain things so we thought we could use them as a template and come up with something better for Plympton-Wyoming.” While Pratt noted the 30-year agreement was a lengthy document and clearly states Plympton-Wyoming remains an unwilling host and any approval of the agreement is intended solely for the protection of its taxpayers. Read article

Trillium accuses Liberals of destroying wind project lawsuit documents

977054_10151435763616463_1203818282_oGlobe and Mail, Richard Blackwell
An offshore wind farm developer that is in the midst of a lawsuit against the province of Ontario is now accusing the Liberal government of destroying documents related to its case.

In a notice of motion filed with the Ontario Superior Court, Trillium Power Wind Corp. says: “It has become apparent … that documents have been destroyed and records of communications have been wiped clean or deleted from computers, or assigned a code name to render their retrieval impossible.”

Trillium spent years and millions of dollars developing plans for an offshore wind farm in Lake Ontario near Kingston, but it had the rug pulled out from under it in February, 2011, when the province said it would not consider any offshore development until more scientific studies were done. The decision came the same day Trillium was to sign a large financing deal.

Trillium sued the government – initially for $2.25-billion in damages – but most of the grounds for the suit were thrown out of court.

However, in 2013 the Ontario Court of Appeal said the company could go ahead with one specific allegation, that the government’s decision amounted to “malfeasance in public office.” Read article

Highest court in Ontario declines to hear wind appeal, farm families disappointed

SHAWN DRENNANFor Immediate Release
HIGHEST COURT IN ONTARIO DECLINES TO HEAR WIND APPEAL FARM FAMILIES DISAPPOINTED
May 29, 2015

On May 28, 2015, the Court of Appeal for Ontario denied leave to appeal to the Drennans, Dixons, Ryans, and the Kroeplins, in respect of their Charter Challenge to the current legislation for the approval of wind turbine projects.

These farm families had been seeking the opportunity to argue that the Environmental Protection Act provisions approving renewable energy projects exposes them to a reasonable prospect of serious harm to their health and therefore does not comply with the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

The Health Canada Study Summary Results released on November 6, 2014, showed an association between wind turbine noise and annoyance, and an association between wind turbine noise annoyance and sleep disturbances, migraines, tinnitus, dizziness, and measured blood pressure and hair cortisol.

Shawn Drennan commented on the Court of Appeal’s decision: “We are disappointed with the Court’s decision not to hear our case. No one has been able to tell us that the turbines are safe.  We are being told that we have to wait to be harmed before we can do anything to stop them. The Court has given us two choices: leave the land my family has farmed for three generations, or be a guinea pig for the government and the wind companies.” Continue reading

‘We’re not done yet’ say wind turbine opponents

2012 keiths birthday protest dalton 047Grimsby Lincoln News, Amanda Moore
A group of mothers is not done fighting the onslaught of 77 wind turbines in their community despite a ruling against them by the Environmental Review Tribunal. The ERT dismissed the case against the Niagara Region Wind Corp. project brought forward by Mothers Against Turbines Inc. in a decision issued in May.

“The Tribunal finds that the Appellant has not established that engaging in the Project in accordance with the REA will cause serious harm to human health,” ERT vice-chair Dirk VanderBent wrote in his decision. “The Tribunal further finds that the Appellant has not established that engaging in the Project in accordance with the REA will cause serious and irreversible harm to plant life, animal life or the natural environment.

“The Tribunal finds that the Appellant has not established that s. 142.1 of the EPA (Environmental Protection Act) violates the right to security of the person under s. 7 of the Charter.”

The decision came after a series of hearings held earlier this year in Wellandport and Wainfleet.  “We’re not done yet,” said Linda Rogers, MAWT director. “That’s the take home message from this. We are looking at other options carefully.” Read article

Suncor Energy recently filed a court application to quash Plympton-Wyoming’s legislation

Suncor BullySarnia Observer, Tyler Kula
PLYMPTON-WYOMING – 
A legal challenge from Suncor Energy has prompted town council to back away from a noise bylaw the municipality enacted last year to limit local wind farm development.

Suncor, a developer behind the 46-turbine Cedar Point wind project under construction in Lambton Shores, Plympton-Wyoming and Warwick Township, recently filed a court application to quash Plympton-Wyoming’s bylaw, said town clerk Brianna Coughlin.

The municipal legislation sought, among other things, to limit wind turbine-produced noise lower than 20 hertz — infrasound: the normal limit of human hearing. Wind turbine opponents argue exposure can negatively impact people’s health. Complying with the bylaw would have made it impossible to operate the 100-MW wind farm, expected to be operational by late 2015, Suncor spokesperson Jason Vaillant said Thursday.

“We are committed to complying with and operating within the limits that are set out for us by the province,” he said, noting noise limits for wind farms are provincial territory. “And we felt that the municipality just didn’t have jurisdiction on this particular matter.” Read article

 

Turtle beats turbine

Blandings turtle rulesQuinte News
An endangered species has won the power struggle over Ostrander Point as Ontario’s top court has ruled in favour of the Blanding’s turtle over turbines.

In a historic ruling the Ontario Court of Appeal overturned a provincial court decision in relation to the Renewable Energy Approval of Gilead Power’s nine turbine project.

[…]

Gillespie says Gilead now has a couple of options going forward one of them being to ask the Supreme Court of Canada in Ottawa to hear the case. He says there’s no automatic right to do that you need leave or permission from the Supreme Court.

Gillespie says the other way that this is definitely going to play out is the Environmental Review Tribunal has been asked by the Ontario Court of Appeal to hear some further submissions on what the solution to this situation should be. Read article

Opponents of wind turbine project file a Ministerial Appeal

criminal-justice-system-1372884734-8899MyKawartha
MANVERS TWP – A group that was one of the appellants opposing a controversial wind turbine project near Pontypool has filed a Ministerial Appeal after the Environmental Review Tribunal (ERT) ruled against them in February. In an email on Wednesday (March 18) Manvers Wind Concerns said the cost of the first option, a judicial review, was so high that while the legal team “did in fact find potential grounds” for such an appeal, “the financial realities are daunting.”

The cost of a judicial review would be about $75,000, but if the appellants lost, an award against them for costs incurred by wpd Canada could easily push that figure to $150,000, the group says.

Manvers Wind Concerns, along with Cransley Home Farms Ltd and the Buddhist Cham Shan Temple launched an appeal in December of 2013 after the province approved wpd Canada’s Sumac Ridge wind energy project. Much of 2014 was taken up with legal wrangling between the appellants and lawyers for wpd Canada and the Ministry of Environment. Read article

Julian Falconer : wind companies “blood-sucking, intimidating bullies. It’s not just a bar to justice, it’s actually a terror tactic”

SHAWN DRENNANColin Perkel, Globe and Mail 
A demand that four Ontario families pay hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal costs to billion-dollar companies is a thinly disguised warning to anyone pondering a challenge to industrial wind farms in Ontario, the families say. In asking the courts to set the legal bill aside, the citizens say the award would cripple them financially and undermine access to justice, even in important public-interest cases.

Court documents show the companies – K2 Wind, Armow, and St. Columban – are seeking $340,000 in costs from the Drennans, Ryans, Dixons and Kroeplins, who lost their bid to scuttle three wind-farm projects.

The families, who worry wind turbines near their homes could harm their health, had challenged the constitutionality of Ontario’s approvals process before Divisional Court. They are now hoping the province’s top court will hear the case, potentially adding more litigation costs. Shawn Drennan said his $240,000 bill was excessive given that he was only looking to protect his rights. Read article

Kettle & Stony Point FN looking to hear from residents effected by wind turbines

kettle stony pointWind Turbine Info. Gathering Session

CKSPFN needs to hear from our members if you and/or any of your family members are experience negative effects from the wind turbines. The First nation will take this into consideration to determine if they will pursue legal action on behalf of their members. Please join us on this date, to share your story and concerns with us or arrange for a private home visit if that is more acceptable to you. For further information, please contact Suzanne Bressette at the Administration Office (519-786-2125).
When
Sat Feb 28, 2015 3:30pm – 5pm
Where
KSP Health Centre (Vernon Room) (map)

Bill 52 does NOT protect those faced with SLAPP suits‏, such as NextEra’s

IMG_0467Our fight for freedom of speech is ongoing it seems. The anti SLAPP Bill was touted as a wonderful thing in the media in December, but they only read the government press release, not the (altered) fine print of the Bill.  ~ Esther

Dear Members of Legislature,
The anti-SLAPP Bill 52 is not the same creature that was previously proposed as Bill 83 a year ago. In short, every person or organization that you all passionately spoke for, who were facing SLAPP suits, willnotbe protected by the new Bill 52. There was a change in the wording about who would now be eligible for protection by this Bill.  Before, that date was to be left open to the discretion of the Lieutenant Governor.  In the current version as Bill 52, the effective date is the day it receives Royal Assent. So basically because we (those facing SLAPP suits) weren’t sued on a current enough date, we do not ‘qualify’ for this Bill’s protection.

Nexterror Bullies Canada IncI don’t believe I was being naïve in thinking that this legislation should have helped ALL affected by SLAPP suits.  On June 26th, 2013, shortly after I was sued by Florida based wind turbine developer NextEra Energy, the Attorney General John Gerretson wrote my MPP Monte McNaughton this: “I can tell you that if Bill 83 is passed, the rule will apply to suits brought before the bill comes into force, thus allowing for dismissal of strategic litigation after a fast-track motion procedure.” But this is precisely what was changed in Bill 52 – I suppose it seemed only fair to Mr. Gerretson to extend the protection to all victims of SLAPPs, but then… something changed with the last election, and we were all swiftly abandoned. Continue reading

Nova Scotia: South Canoe wind developer Acciona faces second lawsuit

06-21%20LawsuitThe Chronicle Herald 
A New Brunswick-based rebar installer has filed another lawsuit against the 34-turbine South Canoe wind farm over alleged unpaid bills. Acadia Rebar of Saint-Leolin, N.B., launched the action in Nova Scotia Supreme Court on Tuesday, saying it is owed $323,000.

The suit names contractors and subcontractors working on the $200-million wind farm, which is under construction near New Ross, Lunenburg County. The project’s majority partners, Minas Basin Pulp & Power and Oxford Frozen Foods, and minority partner Nova Scotia Power are also included in the action. In addition, turbine supplier Acciona Windpower North America is named, as are site landowners.

Last week, Acadia Rebar launched a similar action, claiming it’s also owed $550,000 due to extra costs caused by changes to its contract. The changes stemmed from delays installing turbine bases, the company says. Read article

Plympton-Wyoming stands behind new bylaw aimed at wind turbines

suncorSarnia Observer, Paul Morden
Suncor Energy and the Town of Plympton-Wyoming are at odds again over a wind turbine bylaw. Jody Hood, a manager of development and engineering with Suncor Energy, raised concerns at a recent town council meeting over a bylaw passed in 2014 to regulate wind turbine noise. Some 27 of the 46 wind turbines Suncor plans to build as part of its Cedar Point wind project would be located in Plympton-Wyoming.

“The noise limits related to our wind operations are regulated by the province,” said Suncor spokesperson Jason Vaillant. “We certainly intend to operate within those limits.” Vaillant said “from a technical perspective” the bylaw would prevent wind turbines from operating in the municipality. “Although, it’s not the bylaws that govern our project,” he added. “That approval comes from the province.”

Ontario granted environment approval in August for Suncor’s wind energy project in Plympton-Wyoming, Lambton Shores and Warwick Township. Appeals of that approval are currently being heard by Ontario’s Environmental Review Tribunal. Plympton-Wyoming Mayor Lonny Napper said the noise bylaw was written in consultation with a lawyer, and added that it follows the province’s regulations. “But, we added the low level sounds,” Napper added. Read article