Toronto Sun, Garth Manning
In 2009, the Ontario government, seeking to appear green, expropriated our property rights and democratic freedoms with its Green Energy Act (GEA). The GEA removed the power of municipal politicians to represent their constituents in green energy matters and imposed 550 meters as a regulated setback in an attempt to protect rural citizens from industrial wind developments.
Many governments also fell in line with the worldwide movement to appear green, led by wind energy developers. But not all governments had the good fortune of hearing firsthand from people already adversely impacted elsewhere by wind turbines near their homes, as was the case for Ontario. And yet the Ontario government proceeded.
Unlike the costly Ontario process of appealing a wind project, Alberta has a different approach. There, appeals to Environmental Review Tribunals are substantially subsidized by the developer. By order of the Alberta Utilities Commission, developers pay a portion of appellant costs in advance, according to need. In stark contrast, in Ontario, where turbines are much closer to rural neighbourhoods, each local or regional group must raise hundreds of thousands of dollars to cover all legal costs for each appeal and to challenge not only the wind company but also the Ontario environment ministry. Read article