ERT ’s Bornish Wind Decision Requires Sufficient Evidence Of Serious & Irreversible Harm

eagle nestBornish ERT Decision

by Charles Birchall, Willms & Shier Environmental Lawyers LLP
To prove that a wind energy project will cause serious and irreversible environmental harm, you will need an expert and a scientifically solid case.

In a decision released November 12, the Environmental Review Tribunal (ERT) said it will not overturn the approval of a large wind energy facility in southwestern Ontario that, potentially, could pose a threat to a pair of bald eagles nesting in the immediate vicinity. This case underscores the requirement that the evidence must show, on a balance to probabilities, that there will be – versus potential – “serious and irreversible harm.”

In adjudicating Lewis v. Director, Ministry of the Environment (ERT Case No. 13-044), the Tribunal found the appellants had not met the statutory test set out in section 145.2.1(2)(b) of the Environmental Protection Act (EPA) and failed to prove that the project “will cause serious and irreversible harm to plant life, animal life or the natural environment.”

Opponents of the Bornish Wind Energy Centre did not present any expert evidence, but relied on lay testimony and written submissions about the project’s potential harm to the eagles, as well as mass bird kills, habitat loss and damage to other species. The Tribunal was looking for evidence demonstrating that there would be serious and irreversible harm caused to the bald eagles. To that end, it pointed to an earlier case where the ERT rejected the approval of the Ostrander Point Wind Energy Park south of Picton, Ontario, over concerns that road traffic through the site would likely cause “serious and irreversible harm” to a population of the endangered Blanding’s turtles found on the project site. Read article

7 thoughts on “ERT ’s Bornish Wind Decision Requires Sufficient Evidence Of Serious & Irreversible Harm

  1. The case underscores the requiremant that the evidence must show, on a balance to probalities, that there will be-versus potential-serious harm.
    So probably vs potential.
    If you pick up a live wire you probably will get a shock and the live wire on the ground potentially is dangerous.
    This is a game of semantics.
    Yet, if developers are asked about mitigation issues then potential is good enough.

  2. Liberal Senator admits to careless driving; being doped on anti-depressants
    War vets accuse him of lying and insensitivity

    ‘[excerpt] Liberal Senator Roméo Dallaire told Senate colleagues Tuesday afternoon that the car crash he had on Parliament Hill earlier in the day was caused by a lack of sleep due to reliving the events he saw as a general during the Rwandan genocide and the apparent suicide of three Afghan war veterans last week.

    “On my way to work this morning, I fell asleep at the wheel and crashed into the barrier near the East Block with my car. I am very thankful that nobody was injured or worse by my not being more attentive to the level of fatigue that I have been experiencing,” Dallaire told the Senate.

    “I’m OK, because I was completely asleep and in so doing didn’t see anything coming, so when the airbags blew open, I was sort of like a rag doll, so I have no injuries, no whiplash or anything. The gravest element of that was my fear that I had hit somebody, because the Hill is always full of people.”

    The senator’s black BMW skidded off the road, past the sidewalk and onto the snow-covered grass before hitting a lamp post on Parliament Hill.

    “I was out cold, just like that.”

    Dallaire, a retired general, said he is still battling post-traumatic stress disorder two decades after heading up the UN peacekeeping mission in Rwanda.

    The Liberal senator was the force commander of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Rwanda​ leading up to and during the 1994 genocide.

    The senator, who in the past has attempted suicide, explained that he hasn’t had a drink in over a decade because of the antidepressants he is on to treat his PTSD.

    Dallaire told Solomon he will be attending a therapy meeting on Thursday and will avoid driving unless he has to.

    As the 20th anniversary of the Rwandan genocide approaches in April 2014, Dallaire told the Senate he has been reliving those events. Not only that but the apparent suicides of three Afghan war veterans last week have also had an effect on him, he said.

    Dallaire told his Senate colleagues those events have affected his ability to sleep, despite taking prescribed medication to help him cope.

    “I simply ran out of steam,” the senator said.

    Dallaire said he regrets taking such a risk and not paying more attention to his physical condition.

    RCMP say that “like alcohol, fatigue impairment slows reaction time, decreases awareness, impairs judgment and increases the risk of crashing.” ‘

    • So fatigue impairment from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder “slows reaction time, decreases awareness, impairs judgment and increases the risk of crashing” but fatigue impairment caused by industrial wind turbines causes the nocebo effect?

    • I had the same thoughts this morning listening to the news. PTSD, sleepless nights, destroyed communities and families, hitting the gravel, attempted suicides… this is happening in rural Ontario. Like we are living through a war that the people in the city can’t see.

  3. Notwithstanding Dallaire’s military achievements,
    he is a Liberal bootlicker and his senate appointment,
    given his admitted questionable mental state, adds
    further to the argument of abolishing the senate…
    but I digress….what the hell does any of this have to
    do with the Bornish ERT decision.

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