Bluewater appeals Grand Bend wind project

democracy liberty freedomBy Terry Bridge, Times-Advocate Staff
VARNA – Bluewater has filed an appeal against an approved Grand Bend wind farm. The deadline to appeal the 40-turbine project was last Friday. The application went through their legal counsel, Eric K. Gillespie, who lodged the appeal on Bluewater’s behalf. The Ontario Power Authority selected the area as one of Northland Power’s projects.

The appeal is on the grounds of environmental and health concerns. Setbacks would fall under the health concerns category. The wind farm’s proposed location is north of Grand Bend and running north, east of Highway 21. According to documents on the project’s website grandbend.northlandpower.ca, the closest turbine is 650 metres from Highway 21, while the majority of them are 1,000-m away from it.

“This is the first project that’s been accepted that’s going to be this close to the highway,” Councillor-at-Large Tyler Hessel explained. “Basically it’s going to be setback from the highway, which I think is like 500 metres or something. It’s not that far.” Hessel estimated the appeal process could go on for a few months, possibly into the next term of council elected this October. Read article

Brakes put on Grand Bend Wind Farm

2014_06010089John Miner, London Free Press
Faced with appeals against its $380-million project hugging the Lake Huron shoreline, the developer of the Grand Bend Wind Farm is applying the brakes.​ Some preliminary work for the wind farm will likely start later this year, but major construction now won’t begin until the appeals are settled, said Gord Potts, director of business development for Northland Power.

“Our company policy is not to do much during an appeal process,” Potts said Wednesday. Work likely will be limited to clearing sites, building some access roads and preparing to install transmission lines, he said. “I wouldn’t expect we will see any foundation work for turbines or anything like that,” Potts said.

The appeal process is expected to take about six months. If it wins against the appeals, Northland anticipates the Grand Bend Wind Farm will start commercial operation in the first quarter of 2016. The Grand Bend Wind Farm is a joint project of Toronto-based Northland Power and the Aamjiwnaang First Nation at Sarnia and Bkejwanong First Nation at Walpole and involves installation of 40 turbines on 2,400 hectares of land. Read article

Residents Plan Bluewater Appeal

ertBy Paul Morden, Sarnia Observer
Patti Kellar, who lives in Bluewater, said a group of residents in the project area are planning to appeal the project’s provincial approval to Ontario’s Environmental Review Tribunal. The $380-million wind energy project received provincial environmental approval at the end of June.

Each of the two First Nations own 25% of the 40-turbine Grand Bend Wind project being developed by Toronto-based Northland Power. Kellar said that between the Grand Bend project and NextEra Energy’s proposed Goshen Wind project, nine wind turbines are planned for within two kilometres of her home.

“There’s a lot of negatives and they haven’t proven to me that they’ve done any good,” Kellar said. “I think that the propaganda that has been used to sell this idea of it being free, clean, green is just hogwash.”

Gordon Potts, director of business development with Northland Power, said the company will wait to see what happens during an appeal period before beginning construction. While construction is generally allowed to begin on wind projects that have been appealed to the tribunal, that isn’t Northland Power’s practice, Potts said. “We would typically wait for the appeals to be resolved before we would spend the big bucks,” he said.

The Northland Power wind project is planned for just north of Grand Bend, in the Huron County municipalities of Bluewater and South Huron, with all of the turbine locations east of Highway 21, Potts said. Construction, once it begins, is expected to take 15 months to complete, he said. Read article

 

Our vision here today is to expose the corruption, to expose the injustice

6883422-corruption-in-the-government-in-a-corrupt-systemBy Megan Stacey, The London Free Press
Emotions are running high at the opening day of an Ontario Environmental Review Tribunal hearing to determine the fate of a wind turbine project by NextEra Energy in Lambton and Middlesex Counties. Community members and the County of Lambton are facing off against the Ontario Environment Ministry and NextEra Energy over the Jericho Wind Energy Project, which would bring 92 turbines to the region.

An opening statement by resident Muriel Allingham, who is appealing the provincial ministry’s approval of the Jericho project alongside several other community members, attacked NextEra as greedy. In order to overturn the province’s approval of the Jericho Wind Project, Allingham and the County of Lambton must prove it will cause severe harm to humans or the environment.

The first presenter of the day, Elizabeth Bellavance, a local community and social justice advocate, urged the tribunal to consider the injustice of the requirement. In any project other than renewable energy where products like wind and vibration are released into the environment, showing “adverse effects” is enough to halt their use.

The community’s case against NextEra is virtually non-existent without the testimony of Sarah Hornblower, a local woman and mother who would have been a key witness in the hearing. The tribunal denied a summons for Hornblower late Wednesday afternoon. read article

Incase you want to hear what Sarah Hornblower said last year before she signed her gag agreement, see the video below. (Now why wouldn’t the ERT want to hear about this? And why would both NextEra and Suncor fight so hard to have her silenced too?)

Environmental tribunal to hear arguments Tuesday about potential witness

sarah hornblowerPaul Morden, Sarnia Observer
The question of whether or not a mother of three autistic children will be called to testify at an appeal of Ontario’s environmental approval of a 92-turbine wind farm in Lambton County is set to be argued Tuesday in Parkhill. A summons for Sarah Hornblower to testify at Ontario Environmental Review Tribunal hearings into an appeal of the Environment Ministry’s renewable energy approval for NextEra Energy’s Jericho Wind Energy project is the subject of a preliminary hearing Tuesday, 11 a.m., at the North Middlesex Community Centre.

The summons was issued by Sylvan resident Bob Lewis, who is appealing the ministry’s approval for the wind project. Lewis is being assisted by Lambton Shores resident Marcelle Brooks who declined Monday to comment on details of the summons, but said, “The hearing tomorrow is going to be quite unique, because I don’t believe anyone has ever summoned a witness who has been gagged.”

Last week, Brooks said they had summoned a witness who had agreements with wind companies. Hornblower, who lives with her family on Ridge Road in Lambton Shores, spoke in public in the past about her concerns that wind turbines planned for the community could impact three of her children who have been diagnosed with autism. Read article

Skydive Burnaby appealing tribunal decision

Gellespie-cheskyBy Greg Furminger, The Tribune
Construction of Wainfleet Wind Energy turbines has been halted by a court order as Skydive Burnaby appeals the May ruling of Ontario’s environmental review tribunal, which dismissed its concerns about safety to its nearby parachutists. Tara Pitt, who co-owns the skydiving club with husband Mike, said Ontario Divisional Court has granted an injunction prohibiting Wainfleet Wind Energy from any further work on the remainder of its five-turbine project in the Concession 1 area pending the appeal.

The injunction that went into effect last Monday applies only to the two unfinished turbines some 1.5 kilometres west of Skydive Burnaby on land owned by the Loeffen family, a partner in the wind energy company with Rankin Construction. Tom Rankin said Tuesday there remains little left to do to complete those two turbines on Station Rd., and tie them in to three other finished Vestas V100-1.8MW turbines that have yet to be put into energy production. “I should be operating now,” Rankin said.

The Pitts filed to have their case heard by the environmental review tribunal in October 2013 over concerns their business established in 1948 and its skydiving clients would be at risk by the 95-metre-tall turbines. Three weeks of hearings took place over January and February and subsequent conference calls with involved parties in March and April. Read article

Experienced Appellants

6883422-corruption-in-the-government-in-a-corrupt-systemby Harvey Wrightman
When the Green Energy Act (GEA) was created in 2009 it was crafted to remove the planning powers of local councils. Recognizing that wind projects are complex, massively intrusive/destructive to local communities and create a lot of local resentment, an appeal process was set up where residents could file a formal appeal to the Environmental Review Tribunal (ERT) – a kind of safety valve where ordinary citizens could present their arguments. On receiving the appeal, the ERT could either accept the reasons for appeal as legitimate, or dismiss it straight away. All the appeals that have been filed against wind projects have been done by local groups or individuals who are acting “in the public interest” and do not stand to benefit personally from a favourable appeal decision. This is an important point that is generally accepted by the courts in this country. Notwithstanding this principle, both the Ministry of Environment (MOE) and various wind companies have sought costs awards in several ERT appeal hearings. Middlesex Lambton Wind Action Group Inc. has been the target of these motions in 3 of the 6 appeals we have been in – Zephyr, Varna, and most recently St. Columban. The decision in that case was provided on 2014/05/27 and has provided more guidance for future ERT appeals.

ORDER – The Approval Holder’s application for costs as against the MLWAG Appellants is dismissed.

From the decision:

On January 25, 2014, the Approval Holder informed the Tribunal that it intended to file with the Tribunal an application for costs with respect to the proceeding as against the MLWAG Appellants only. On January 27, 2014, the Tribunal wrote to the parties stating that the costs application would be heard in writing and requested that the parties agree to a schedule for submissions. On February 14, 2014, the Approval Holder served the parties and filed with the Tribunal its submissions with respect to the costs application. On February 26, 2014, the MLWAG Appellants filed submissions with respect to the costs applications. On February 26, 2014 and March 3, 2014, the Director and the Dixon/Ryan Appellants respectively wrote to the Tribunal stating that they would not be filing submissions. On March 4, 2014, the Approval Holder filed reply submissions.

That’s how the ERT describes the selective action taken by the approval—holder of the St. Columban wind project, owned by Veresen Inc. – a Calgary energy company that describes itself as, “Veresen is a leading diversified energy infrastructure company that owns and operates energy infrastructure assets across North America. We are engaged in three principal business lines…pipelines, midstream, renewable energy (wind).” Note, a gas/wind combo that is a common occurrence. Note also the selective nature of the application, the other appellants were not named. And lastly note that the “Approval Holder” Veresen is represented by McCarthy Tetrault, the same law firm that NextEra hired to pursue its SLAPP-suit against Esther Wrightman, who is my daughter. Continue reading

Lambton County councillors vote in favour of participating in ERT case

democracy liberty freedomSarnia Observer, Barbara Simpson
A group of rural southwestern Ontario politicians have pulled out the big guns in an effort to potentially halt a 92-turbine wind farm set for Lambton and Middlesex counties. In a rare move, the County of Lambton will join another private party in appealing a recent Ministry of the Environment decision that granted renewable energy approval to the Jericho Wind Project.

That approval is one of the key pieces needed in order to establish an industrial wind farm in Ontario. A hearing before the Environmental Review Tribunal has been set for June 26. It will focus on the potential health impacts the NextEra Energy project could have on both human and animal health. If the tribunal finds the project could cause “serious harm” to health, county solicitor David Cribbs said the MOE could be ordered to revoke its approval of the project.

County councillors made the decision to proceed as a party in the appeal during two separate standing committees of council Wednesday. While the issue would normally go before full council for a final vote, county staff needed to respond to the notice of the hearing by Thursday. Read article

Skydive Burnaby turbines appeal dismissed

skydive-burnaby3By Greg Furminger, The Tribune
Skydive Burnaby’s appeal of Wainfleet Wind Energy Inc.’s plans to erect two wind turbines on Station Rd. has been dismissed by Ontario’s environmental review tribunal.

Mike and Tara Pitt filed their appeal in October 2013 over concerns their business established in 1948 and its skydiving clients would be at risk by the towers to be built 1.5 kilometres west of Skydive Burnaby on land owned by the Loeffen family, a partner in the wind energy company with Rankin Construction.

On Wednesday, tribunal vice-chair Dirk VanderBent handed down his decision. He said the appellants did not provide sufficient evidence to suggest its skydivers will be seriously harmed by collision with the two wind turbines or interaction with their turbulence wakes. Read article

Wainfleet wind turbine appeal dismissed

skydive-burnaby2Dave Johnson, Erie Media
The appeal by Skydive Burnaby over two wind turbines being built by Wainfleet Wind Energy Inc. on Station Rd. has been dismissed by the Environmental Review Tribunal. The decision was released Wednesday afternoon.

“I’m really happy … really elated. Everyone in the office is really happy,” said Tom Rankin, CEO of Rankin Construction Inc. and partner in Wainfleet Wind Energy Inc. with the Loeffen family. Rankin said he was always pretty confident justice would prevail and the company would move forward with the final part of the five wind turbine project. “I always felt our case was stronger than theirs. Our lawyers did a great job,” said Rankin. “We’re going to be moving forward now. The project was delayed quite a few months.”

He said for the project to be completed, all five turbines have to be operating. He said work would begin on the Station Rd. site as soon as a large crane used on the other three turbines could be moved over.

The appeal on the project was filed in 2013 by Mike and Tara Pitt, owners of Skydive Burnaby, who were concerned over the risk to skydivers from the two turbines, which will be located 1.5 kilometres west of the skydive facility. Read article

HALT won’t back down after ERT rejects Armow Wind appeal

ERTBy Steven Goetz, Kincardine News
“We have always seen this as having the potential to go all the way to the Supreme Court,” said HALT’s Kevin McKee in a telephone interview on May 2. McKee said the group never expected to win at the ERT, but had to file the appeal before divisional court would consider their legal challenge.

“We weren’t surprised by the result,” he said. “Citizen groups like our own have been 0-for-25 at these ERT hearings. It is nearly impossible to win.” “By their standard, it would be hard to prove asbestos would cause harm,” he said.

Barring intervention from a court, the April 22 decision clears the way for Samsung-Pattern to erect a 92-turbine, 180-megawatt wind farm in the Municipality of Kincardine, on land northeast of the North Line and Highway 21. Read article

Jericho wind project opponents taking case to environmental tribunal

ERTPaul Morden, Sarnia Observer
Opponents of NextEra Energy’s 92-turbine Jericho wind energy project have appealed its provincial environmental approval. Marcelle Brooks, with the Middlesex-Lambton Wind Action Group, said an appeal filed by member Bob Lewis has been accepted by Ontario’s Environmental Review Tribunal, and a hearing is expected to be held June 24.

Construction on the wind project that will see turbines built in Lambton Shores and Warwick Township, as well as transmission lines in neighbouring North Middlesex, began days after it was approved April 14 by Ontario’s Ministry of Environment. Ontario allows construction of renewable energy projects to continue while an appeal is underway, unless the tribunal issues a stay order.

Brooks said they know odds of an appeal succeeding are slim but still decided to go ahead. “We need our voice to be heard at every opportunity,” she said. Read article

Wind action group weighs taking fight to environment tribunal

london ertLondon Free Press, Paul Morden
Opponents of Nextera Energy’s 92-turbine Jericho wind energy project have a lot to think about, but not a lot of time, as they consider whether or not to appeal the wind farm’s recent provincial environmental approval. Marcelle Brooks, with the Middlesex-Lambton Wind Action Group, said they have until April 29 to file an appeal with Ontario’s Environmental Review Tribunal. “We’re still going through all the paperwork,” Brooks said.

Ontario allows 15 days for an appeal once the Ministry of the Environment has approved a renewable energy project, and the Jericho approval came down April 14. “We’re really trying to scramble to see if we can get this deadline met,” Brooks said. If the wind action group files an appeal, it will go to the tribunal on its own, without a lawyer, she said. “We don’t have any money at all . . . this truly is grassroots.”

The tribunal hears appeals on grounds that approval of a project will cause serious harm to human health, or serious and irreversible harm to plants, animals or the natural environment. Construction can begin on renewable energy projects while an appeal is underway, unless the tribunal issues a stay order. Nextera spokesperson Josie Bird said clearing and grading work has begun at a construction lay-down yard on Thomson Line in Lambton Shores. Read article

MLWAG considering appealing MOE decision to approve 92-turbine project in Lambton & Middlesex

DSC_0812London Free Press, Tyler Kula
Energy company Nextera has been given the green light to start building a 92-turbine industrial wind farm in Lambton and Middlesex counties. Ontario’s Ministry of the Environment issued a Renewable Energy Approval (REA) earlier this week for the company’s proposal to build a 150-megawatt wind farm spanning Lambton Shores, Warwick Township and North Middlesex.

Some final details still need to be worked out, but construction of the Jericho Wind Energy Centre is expected to begin as soon as possible, said Ben Greenhouse, director of development with Nextera Energy Canada. The project has been in the works since 2008, he said, and was submitted for ministry approval 14 months ago. “We’re excited,” he said, noting a laydown yard — headquarters for construction — will soon be built on Thomson Line, north of Jericho Road and south of Northville Road.

But not everyone is enthused about the approval. Lambton Shores resident Marcelle Brooks, with the Middlesex-Lambton Wind Action Group, has been a vocal opponent of the project. It was a sad day when she saw the approval, she said. “It was just devastating that our voices simply aren’t being heard.” Read article

NextEra and MOE sitting in a tree….K…I…SS..I..N..G

moralWiarton Echo, Don Crosby
[excerpt] Earlier on the hearing was delayed while West Grey’s representative, Bev Cutting, left the meeting to get a couple of voice recorders after some witnesses for the appellant complained they didn’t have access to a recording of the proceedings

West Grey resident Maria De Melo said since NextEra and the Ministry of the Environment were sharing the cost of a qualified reporter who was recording the proceedings using sophisticated equipment, Van Den Bosch and other opponents deserved the same opportunity. Wright agreed to allow Van Den Bosch to record the proceedings, but only for personal record keeping. He forbade the use of the information for broadcast purposes to or appear on social media.

De Melo and Orah Randall complained lawyers for the Ministry of the Environment and the NextEra were sitting together and could be seen consulting one another. De Melo said it gave the appearance the ministry and the proponent were on the same side whereas she expected the MOE to represent the interests of the people of Ontario. She wanted Wright to order them to sit apart.

He denied the request. Read article

Tribunal chair has more questions

ERTErie Media, by Dave Johnson
More than a month after final submissions were made at an Environmental Review Tribunal hearing involving Skydive Burnaby and Wainfleet Wind Energy Inc. an unusual situation has popped up, said lawyer Eric Gillespie. Gillespie, who represents Skydive Burnaby, said tribunal chair Dirk VanderBent has requested more information from a witness for Wainfleet Wind Energy Inc.

The hearing, which took place over three different weeks in Wainfleet, saw lawyers for Skydive Burnaby, Ministry of Environment and Wainfleet Wind Energy Inc. present witnesses to bolster their respective positions. It came about after Skydive Burnaby filed an appeal over two turbines being built by Wainfleet Wind Energy on Station Rd. The turbines would be located 1.5 kilometres west of the skydive facility, whose owners, Mike and Tara Pitt, are concerned over the risk to skydivers.

“Our clients are having considerable difficulty in understanding how a process they thought was over, is back to where it was at two months ago,” Gillepsie said. “We haven’t been able to find any cases where this has happened before.” Read article

Durham: Environmental Review Tribunal hearing only concerned about concrete bases of three turbines

democracy liberty freedomDon Crosby, The Sun Times
DURHAM – Frustration ran high during Tuesday’s preliminary hearing by the Environmental Review Tribunal into an appeal of the Ministry of Environment’s approval of the East Durham wind project. “We matter. We have the right to speak. Why are you bulldozing through . . .” said Glenelg Township resident Orah Randall in an impassioned plea to Robert Wright, vice-chair of the ERT, who conducted Tuesday’s hearing.

She urged Wright to exercise his discretion and give people who were turned down by the Ministry of the Environment status at the upcoming ERT hearing, set to begin next month. Randall was visibly frustrated that members of the community were being refused standing at the hearing because what they wanted to say didn’t fit into the narrow scope of the appeal launched by Leonard Van Den Bosch on Jan. 29, just days after the MOE approved the 23-megawatt East Durham wind project near Priceville.

In his appeal, Van Den Bosch claims that toxic chemicals contained in the concrete bases of three turbines next to his property will leach into the soil and contaminate groundwater that feeds the nearby Saugeen River. He’s asking for mitigating measures to protect the environment and the health of people who take their drinking water from the river. Read article

Throwing caution to the wind

Precautionary-PrincipleShelburne Free Press
Dear editor:
As a physician, I also share with Mayor MacIver of Amaranth concerns regarding health issues not only associated with industrial wind turbines but the 230 kv line that DWPI wishes to install. Actually many of these concerns were expressed in my brief to the Ministry of Environment last winter and subsequently to the Environmental Review Tribunal (ERT) last fall regarding the DWPI project.

It defies reason that the provincial authorities have approved this project (and others) while there is an ongoing federal health study regarding possible adverse health affects of industrial wind turbines. As Mayor MacIver points out, there is ample evidence on the adverse health effects from the electromagnetic fields associated with high voltage lines.

Much of my presentation to the ERT last fall focused on the precautionary principle alluded to by Mayor MacIver. In Canada, we unfortunately have many examples of where the precautionary principle has been ignored. Last July, we witnessed an example with catastrophic consequences – Lac Magantic. The railway company involved allegedly made a special application to have only 1 person managing their freight trains (as a precaution, a minimum of 2 apparently had been legislated). It apparently was argued by the company lawyers that railway accidents are relatively rare and there was no scientific proof that reducing the size of the crew to one (1) would increase the probability of an accident. The guidelines respecting staffing levels of freight trains carrying hazardous materials have already been changed.

Yes, DWPI is storming ahead with construction. Yes, these turbines are being erected in a rural environment but it is a populated rural environment. Already there are other jurisdictions that have enacted residential setbacks that are multiples of what is legislated in Ontario as a result of appreciated concerns. The precautionary principle – is it not logical to have a moratorium on the installation of wind farms in Ontario until we have the results of the federal health study? Are we going to witness yet another example where harm will occur because the precautionary principle was ignored.

William S. Crysdale M.D.

Bow Lake Wind Farm appeals begins today

BowLakePainting-03Darren Taylor, Soo Today
The main hearing for an appeal against the Bow Lake Wind Farm project has been rescheduled to 11 a.m. on Monday, March 3, 2014 at The Days Inn at 332 Bay Street in Sault Ste. Marie. Members of the public are invited to attend.

The Ontario Ministry of the Environment (MOE) approved the Bow Lake Wind Farm project December 16, 2013. The Bow Lake Wind Farm project is a partnership between Nodin Kitagan of Batchewana First Nation (BFN) and Calgary’s BluEarth Renewables.

The Bow Lake Wind Farm project, a plan for 36 wind turbines, is to be located on traditional BFN land approximately 80 kilometres north of Sault Ste. Marie. In early January, Save Ontario’s Algoma Region (SOAR) spokesperson Gillan Richards and Lake Superior Action Research Conservation (LSARC) Co-Chair George Browne announced by email that James Fata and 2401339 Ontario Ltd. (a corporation resident in Ontario) will request the Environmental Review Tribunal (ERT) revoke MOE approval of the Bow Lake Wind Farm. Read article

Likelihood of harm main issue in skydiving club’s turbine battle

skydive-burnabyBy Greg Furminger, The Tribune
If two wind turbines are constructed nearby Skydive Burnaby, it will only be a matter of time before someone from the parachuting club is killed, says a lawyer representing the business in its battle with Wainfleet Wind Energy Inc. But the legal team representing turbine stakeholders said Friday that’s sheer speculation, and, as an environmental review tribunal hearing wrapped up at the township’s firefighters memorial hall after three weeks of testimony, that Skydive Burnaby has failed to prove a tragedy will happen.

Lawyer Scott Stoll, representing Tom Rankin-owned Wainfleet Wind Energy and its partner the Loeffen family, said, as an appellant to the project approved by the Environment Ministry, the onus is on Skydive Burnaby to demonstrate the turbines will have a negative impact — not may. During the hearings’ closing arguments Friday, he also said any risk to skydivers would be “abnormal,” basing his statement on appellant testimony that at times referred to turbines being a navigation risk subsequent to a parachute failure.

A turbine cannot be a cause of a collision — it’s a point of impact, he said. Calling Skydive Burnaby an “Internet business” that operates only a few months of the year during daylight hours, and whose members sign waivers acknowledging risks, Stoll said the club can change its flight plans — not unlike for wind conditions — if it deems turbines a risk to its members. Read article

Sumac Ridge ERT Hearing Adjourned until April 8th

staublelManvers Wind Concerns
UPDATE: Sumac Ridge from COKL Councillor Heather Stauble
I am attaching a copy of the Order that was issued yesterday regarding the Environmental Review Tribunal on the Sumac Ridge Wind Project adjourning the Hearing until at least April 8th, 2014.

At the beginning of this process, the Director at the Ministry of the Environment came forward acknowledging that a noise receptor had been identified that was within the 550m setback established under the Green Energy Act regulations (O. Reg 359-09).

The Tribunal has now cancelled all Hearing Dates and called an Adjournment until April 8, 2014 at which time the Tribunal will re-assess the status of the proceedings. The Director at the Ministry of the Environment must now bring forward his decision to revoke, amend or take no action in writing. Read article

Turbine appellant concerned about drinking water safety

well waterThe Post, Patrick Bales
WEST GREY – A West Grey man is appealing to the Ontario Ministry of Environment (MOE) to overturn approval for a wind turbine project near Priceville. Leonard Van Den Bosch of the former Glenelg Township has appealed the MOE decision to the Environmental Review Tribunal.

In January, the ministry gave the go ahead to the 14-turbine East Durham Project, developed by NextEra Canada. Van Den Bosch, who was not available for comment, owns property in the direct vicinity of where the turbines are proposed to be erected. He currently does not live on the property full time, but it has been part of his family for a number of years and his plan is to retire there.

That’s what Joan Rawski and her husband did. The Rawskis moved from Kitchener to get away from city life. Soon after they settled on their hobby farm, they discovered they were living approximately 1km from the closest turbine proposed for the East Durham Project. Read article

Wrong to assume

New environmentalismWellington Times, Rick Conroy
The Prince Edward County Field Naturalists are wrong. Ontario Nature. Nature Canada. Both wrong. Dr. Robert McMurtry is wrong. The South Shore Conservancy is wrong. So too is the Prince Edward Point Bird Observatory. Alvar, bird, butterfly, turtle and bat experts are all wrong. The municipality of Prince Edward is wrong. As are the majority of County residents who believed Crown Land at Ostrander Point should be preserved—rather than industrialized for the profit of one corporation.

And now we have learned that Ontario’s own Environmental Review Tribunal is wrong. A Toronto court has said so. This ought to keep Premier Kathleen Wynne up at night.

The Tribunal’s Robert Wright and Heather Gibbs spent more than 40 days hearing evidence, challenging testimony and witnesses and weighing competing claims. They began their task in a snowstorm in February; and delivered their decision on a hot July day last summer. Wright and Gibbs visited Ostrander Point. They walked around. They saw, with their own eyes, what was at stake. Read article

Armow Wind hearing concludes

armowSaugeen Times, by Liz Dadson
Over a month after wrapping up testimony in the appeal against the Armow Wind Class 4 wind turbine development, the Environmental Review Tribunal was back in Kincardine Friday morning (Feb. 21), to hear closing statements by the parties and the participants. Held at the Kincardine municipal administrative centre, the hearing opened with statements by Asha James, counsel for the appellants, Ken and Sharon Kropelin of Kincardine Township.

She argued that the Supreme Court of Canada and the Ontario Court of Appeal do not need proof of causation, with a medical professional. An inference can be made, without a diagnosis, she said. The symptoms experienced by the post-turbine witnesses indicate that but for the turbines, they would not have suffered any adverse health effects.

With regard to the charter test, James said there is a probability that turbines cause harm to human health, which is why the Canadian government is spending money to research how turbines affect people’s health. Read article

Overuled on Ostrander

sign blanding turtleWellington Times, Rick Conroy
A divisional court has ruled in favour of an industrial wind energy developer clearing the path to construct nine industrial wind turbines on Crown Land at Ostrander Point in Prince Edward County. The decision is here.

Last year an Environmental Review Tribunal revoked the permit awarded to Gilead Power Corporation to proceed with its project at Ostrander Point. It concluded that the threat posed by the development to Blanding’s turtle was likely to cause serious and irreversible harm to the an endangered species, Further they felt the developers proposed mitigation measures were untested and the consequences too grave.

The developer appealled to the Ontario Superior Court arguing, in part, that the issue of its right to “harm, harass and kill” the endangered species had been settled as part of the Ministry of Natural Resources Endangered Species Act assessment. They argued that the Tribunal didn’t have the authority to review it. Read article

Court favours wind turbines over endangered Blanding’s turtle

alvar destructionJohn Spears, Toronto Star
Blanding’s turtle is in trouble again: An Ontario court has cleared the way for a wind farm that an environmental tribunal says will threaten the turtle’s habitat. The modest reptile had stood in the way of a wind farm at Ostrander Point in Prince Edward County.

But a divisional court panel ruled Thursday that theenvironmental tribunal made six errors of law in reaching its conclusion that the wind farm would cause “serious and irreversible harm” to the turtle.

The court restored the decision by provincial officials, allowing Gilead Power to proceed with the project, which would erect nine big wind turbines on the site.

It was a bitter blow to local nature and conservation groups. They had argued the wind farm – and the increased traffic associated with it – would harm not just the turtles, but also birds, bats and the rare “alvar” ecosystem at Ostrander Point. Read article

Giant Goderich 140 wind turbine project gets go-ahead

goderichJohn Miner, London Free Press
Construction of a massive wind farm — equal to the largest ever planned in Ontario — is set to start after a victory for the company at the Environmental Review Tribunal. Workers are being hired and construction is to start before the end of March, the companies behind the K2 Wind Power Project said Thursday.

The project north of Goderich will dwarf existing wind farms in the province, with a capacity of 270 megawatts and 140 giant turbines. It’s expected to start providing power by the second half of 2015, enough to meet the energy needs of 100,000 homes. The project will require construction of 90 kilometres of new access roads in Ashfield-Colborne-Wawanosh Township just to service the turbines.

Local opponents of the project had appealed its approval to the review tribunal, arguing the project will have far-reaching negative impacts on the lives and property of township residents. Read article

Huron County couple denied wind turbine appeal

ERTJohn Spears, Toronto Star
A tribunal has rejected a Huron County couple’s claim that a nearby wind farm will violate the Charter of Rights by threatening their health. Shawn and Tricia Drennan have a 300-acre farm in the area where K2 Wind Ontario proposes to develop a wind farm with 140 turbines.

A dozen turbines and a big transformer station will be within two kilometres of their farm, and high voltage wires will cross the area. The Drennans appealed to the Environmental Review Tribunal that the development could harm their health. Failing to do so, they said, could threaten their right to security of the person under the Charter. But the tribunal has released a decision rejecting the claim. Read article

To harm, harass and kill

sign blanding turtleWellington Times, Rick Conroy
By the time Heather Gibbs and Robert Wright concluded that the risk, posed by a proposed industrial wind project at Ostrander Point upon the Blanding’s turtle, was simply too great, and the damage likely permanent, the Environmental Review Tribunal (ERT or Tribunal) panel had heard more than 40 days of testimony. More than 188 exhibits had been entered into evidence. Their decision ran 140 pages.

That decision, to revoke the Renewable Energy Approval (REA) granted to Gilead Power by the Ministry of Environment (MOE), rocked the wind energy sector in this country. It sent government bureaucrats scurrying for cover.

If the fate of a turtle could block the development of an industrial wind project—the precedent could be a formidable roadblock to similar projects across the province and Canada. There are other turtles and endangered species that deserve the protection this panel afforded the Blanding’s turtle of Ostrander Point. The implications are profound.

Wright and Gibbs must have known their words, their actions, and their decision would be attacked, pulled apart and recast as naïve or simply mistaken. Read article

Samsung wind turbines being built 240m from Platinum Produce greenhouse

platinum produce greenhouseEllwood Shreve, Chatham Daily News
Tim Verbeek has grown increasingly frustrated watching two wind turbines be constructed, despite the fact his family business has an appeal concerning the structures before the Environmental Review Tribunal.

A decision is expected Monday over the turbines, and Verbeek, whose family owns Platinum Produce greenhouse located south of Highway 401 on Communications Road, said it appears a concerted effort was made to get the two turbines erected before the decision is handed down. The turbines in question are part of the South Kent Wind Project, a joint venture of Pattern Energy Group and Samsung Renewable Energy Inc.

Verbeek told The Chatham Daily News he findings it “coincidental” the two turbines that are in the appeal were built before others in the area. However, Pattern and Samsung are well within their rights to construct the turbines, said environmental lawyer Eric Gillespie, who is representing Platinum Produce in its appeal to the ERT. Gillespie said sometimes when an ERT appeal is launched, there is an automatic stop of the permit. “In this case, the Ontario government decided to let them go ahead anyway, even if there is an appeal,” he added.

But this isn’t the first time the lawyer has seen this happen. Gillespie, who represented the appellants that challenged the approval of the Kent Breeze Wind Farm near Thamesville in 2011, said Suncor Energy continued with construction of the project despite the matter being before the ERT. “This is where many people would say there is a major disconnect between the government and the people living where these projects are moving ahead,” he said. “The government has given an appeal right, but still allows wind companies to proceed as if there is no appeal,” Gillespie added. “That has been very difficult for many people to understand.” Read article