Minister Chiarelli makes empty promises on power plant siting

In a letter published in The Ottawa Citizen today (but not available online) Wind Concerns Ontario vice-president Parker Gallant writes:

Ottawa Citizen, October 18, 2013

Peddling empty promises

RE: Angry Ontarians talk turkey with Wynne over $1B gas plant bill, Oct. 10

On the same day that Ontario’s new Auditor General, Bonnie Lysyk, released her report on the Oakville gas plant cancellation, Ontario’s Minister of Energy Bob Chiarelli tried to deflect the bad news in a  news release headlined “Ontario Improving Decision-Making on Large Energy Projects.” In it was a link to 18 recommendations by the Ontario Power Authority (OPA) and the Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO).

The recommendations were fluff. Words like “outreach,” “understand,” and “enhance,” were used but nowhere was any mention of returning local planning to the communities where these large power projects are to be sited.

Minister Chiarelli declared that “We want to get these decisions right … we are committed to ensuring communities have their say right from the start.”

Sending out a news release dealing with siting power projects on the same day that the Auditor General disclosed that the cost of moving the Oakville gas plant cost the ratepayers and taxpayers of the province $675 million,  is not just an admission that they got the siting process horribly wrong, it  pretends it is being fixed.

The truth is, the Ministry of Energy remains firmly in charge and will decide what it wants. To tell Ontario communities that they will “have their say from the start” is insulting.  In just four days in early October, approvals for three more huge wind power generation projects were announced, the largest with a capacity of 180 MW. All these were without community consultation.

Mr Chiarelli is peddling more empty promises to detract from the mess that the Ontario Liberals have made of what used to be a competitive electricity sector.

 

Parker Gallant

Wind Concerns Ontario

 

Law firm alleges “threats to personal security”

In a letter to Environmental and Lands Tribunal Ontario, a lawyer at Torys LLP, representing wind power developer NextEra in the appeal of the Adelaide wind power project, objects to the appellant’s request to videorecord the proceedings.

Justin Necpal writes “There is evidence that anti-wind groups [sic] have used the Internet and social media to criticize REA appeal participants, creating the potential for a threatening environment for wind developers and the governmental agencies that are involved in issuing approvals for wind energy projects. In one recent REA appeal, audio recordings of the hearing were made and photos of legal counsel were taken, and both were posted to the Internet. There are other examples of activities by wind opponents that give rise to personal security concerns for those participating in REA appeals…” See the full letter, copied to appellant Esther Wrightman, here.

Mr Necpal, who is a litgation lawyer with Torys ought to know better than to make statements like this.

There have NEVER been any incidents of violence connected with REA appeals, or carried out by community members and Ontario citizens who are appealing—as is their right under the law–and to claim otherwise is unfounded and may in fact be libellous.

As for posting photos on the Internet, the two Torys lawyers involved in the NextEra appeal, Mr John Terry and Mr Dennis Mahony, have their photographs readily available for anyone to see on the Torys LLP website. And, as the Environmental Review Tribunal is a public hearing, and their names known to everyone participating or who has an interest in the proceedings (such as they are at present, with the witness list being all but eliminated) would know their names.

In short, this claim of a threat to personal security is a nasty turn of events, and uncalled for.

Perhaps the lawyers at Torys should look at a page in the wind industry lobby group’s own guide to community participation. The Canadian Wind Energy Association (CanWEA) has published a Best Practices Guide for wind power developers and says on page 5, that “Residents of every community: have a right to ask questions;have a right to be skeptical; have a right to be concerned;and have a right to oppose your plans.”

 

Wind Concerns Ontario

Email us at windconcerns@gmail.com

Law firm alleges wind power plant opponents create “threatening environment”

In a letter to Environmental and Lands Tribunal Ontario, a lawyer at Torys LLP, representing wind power developer NextEra in the appeal of the Adelaide wind power project, objects to the appellant’s request to videorecord the proceedings.
  Justin Necpal writes “There is evidence that anti-wind groups [sic] have used the Internet and social media to criticize REA appeal participants, creating the potential for a threatening environment for wind developers and the governmental agencies that are involved in issuing approvals for wind energy projects. In one recent REA appeal, audio recordings of the hearing were made and photos of legal counsel were taken, and both were posted to the Internet. There are other examples of activities by wind opponents that give rise to personal security concerns for those participating in REA appeals…” See the full letter, copied to appellant Esther Wrightman, here.
  Mr Necpal, who is a litgation lawyer with Torys ought to know better than to make statements like this.
  There have NEVER been any incidents of violence connected with REA appeals, or carried out by community members and Ontario citizens who are appealing—as is their right under the law–and to claim otherwise is unfounded and may in fact be libellous.
  As for posting photos on the Internet, the two Torys lawyers involved in the NextEra appeal, Mr John Terry and Mr Dennis Mahony, have their photographs readily available for anyone to see on the Torys LLP website. And, as the Environmental Review Tribunal is a public hearing, and their names known to everyone participating or who has an interest in the proceedings (such as they are at present, with the witness list being all but eliminated) would know their names.
   In short, this claim of a threat to personal security is a nasty turn of events, and uncalled for.
   Perhaps the lawyers at Torys should look at a page in the wind industry lobby group’s own guide to community participation. The Canadian Wind Energy Association (CanWEA) has published a Best Practices Guide for wind power developers and says on page 5, that “Residents of every community: have a right to ask questions;have a right to be skeptical; have a right to be concerned;and have a right to oppose your plans.”

Wind Concerns Ontario
 

Rare Blandings Turtle on Dufferin Wind site

Here is a bulletin from Wind Resistance of Melancthon. A discovery!!!

 

 

 

Threatened Species found in Dufferin Wind Power turbine project area

 

BlandingTurtleFace

Oh, yeah!!!

Dufferin Wind Power ( a wholly-owned subsidiary of China Longyuan Power Group Corporation Limited) is poised to begin construction on the access road and foundation excavations for the 49 turbine Melancthon wind turbine project on October 15, 2013, according to their website.

 

This is their declared intention, despite the fact that a decision from the ongoing Environmental Review Tribunal has still to be tendered, conditions satisfying the Ontario Energy Board’s conditional transmission line approval have yet to be met, and expropriation proceedings are underway against the County of Dufferin and several of Dufferin Wind’s leaseholders.

 

Now, comes the discovery of a threatened species, the Blanding’s Turtle (Emydoidea blandingii), within the project area. There is a reported sighting of this turtle, registered recently with Ministry of Natural Resources’  Natural Heritage Information Centre, in Melancthon Township, Dufferin County. There has never been a reported sighting in this part of the provinceuntil now.

 

The reports required of Dufferin Wind for their Renewable Energy Approval (REA) application filed with the Ministry of the Environment (MOE) did not include any mention of the threatened species, the Blanding’s Turtle. The company has an obligation to study and then report on the wildlife populations in the project area as part of their application. The MOE and the MNR have an obligation to protect our environment, and follow due process. This oversight must be corrected in spite of the MOE’s granting of the REA permit, and studies must be completed before construction begins.

 

The Environmental Review Tribunal, in July of this year, revoked the MOE’s approval for the Ostrander Point wind project on the grounds that the access roads that are a part of the project increased the threat to the Blanding’s turtle population in the area. The access roads for the Dufferin Wind Power project are an equal threat to this rare species in Dufferin County. Road construction should not be allowed to proceed, based on this precedent.

Rare Blandings Turtle discovered in Dufferin

Here is a bulletin from Wind Resistance of Melancthon. A discovery!!!


Threatened Species found in Dufferin Wind Power turbine project area
Oh, yeah!
Dufferin Wind Power ( a wholly-owned subsidiary of China Longyuan Power Group Corporation Limited) is poised to begin construction on the access road and foundation excavations for the 49 turbine Melancthon wind turbine project on October 15, 2013, according to their website.
This is their declared intention, despite the fact that a decision from the ongoing Environmental Review Tribunal has still to be tendered, conditions satisfying the Ontario Energy Board’s conditionaltransmission line approval have yet to be met, and expropriation proceedings are underway against the County of Dufferin and several of Dufferin Wind’s leaseholders.
Now, comes the discovery of a threatened species, the Blanding’s Turtle (Emydoidea blandingii), within the project area. There is a reported sighting of this turtle, registered recently with Ministry of Natural Resources’  Natural Heritage Information Centre, in Melancthon Township, Dufferin County. There has never been a reported sighting in this part of the province until now.
The reports required of Dufferin Wind for their Renewable Energy Approval (REA) application filed with the Ministry of the Environment (MOE) did not include any mention of the threatened species, the Blanding’s Turtle. The company has an obligation to study and then report on the wildlife populations in the project area as part of their application. The MOE and the MNR have an obligation to protect our environment, and follow due process. This oversight must be corrected in spite of the MOE’s granting of the REA permit, and studies must be completed before construction begins.
The Environmental Review Tribunal, in July of this year, revoked the MOE’s approval for the Ostrander Point wind project on the grounds that the access roads that are a part of the project increased the threat to the Blanding’s turtle population in the area. The access roads for the Dufferin Wind Power project are an equal threat to this rare species in Dufferin County. Road construction should not be allowed to proceed, based on this precedent.
           

“Not who we want leading us”: Durham reacts to Ontario energy plans

Here from the Oshawa Express a reaction to Energy Minister Bob Chiarelli’s announcement that there would be no new nuclear power facilities in Ontario.
  The promise of new jobs is false, local officials say, and this plan is no plan at all.
 

New nuclear scrapped by Liberals

By Lindsey Cole and Geoff Zochodne/The Oshawa Express
The Ontario Liberal government’s decision to pull the plug on new nuclear projects, like two possible reactors at Darlington, is being met with both cheers and jeers.
   Ontario Energy Minister Bob Chiarelli says while the provincial government remains committed to refurbishing the nuclear sector, now is not the time for new nuclear projects. The minister’s comments puts planned developments like the Darlington New Nuclear Project in limbo, perhaps permanently.
   “New nuclear will not be part of Ontario’s new Long Term Energy Plan,” says Minister Chiarelli. “The plan will be finalized before the end of this year. Sometime in the future, we might look at building new nuclear, but it will not be included in this review.”
   Before the minister’s statements were made, various approvals had been received for two potential nuclear reactors at the Darlington Nuclear Generating Station.
   “There is a strong consensus that now is not the right time to build new nuclear, and refurbishment is where we should be going,” says Minister Chiarelli.
   Environmental groups seized on his comments as a victory.
   “The Province’s decision not to build more nuclear power plants will dramatically reduce the environmental footprint of Ontario’s electricity sector,” says environmental lawyer and President of Lake Ontario Waterkeeper Mark Mattson. “The decision is 100% consistent with Ontario’s new Great Lakes Protection Act. This marks the first time in a half a century that the province’s electricity plan will actually improve swimmability, drinkability, and fishability of the Great Lakes. We are optimistic that this will usher in a new era of protection for Ontario’s most important natural resource: water.”
   On the flip side, Durham Regional Chair Roger Anderson says the decision removes thousands of high-paying jobs from the area.
   “I’m very, very disappointed,” says Chair Anderson. “I don’t know where they expect companies who are looking at Ontario to get electricity.”
   The federal government had approved the Darlington New Nuclear Project’s environmental assessment in May 2012. Ontario Power Generation then signed agreements with two companies to prepare construction plans, schedules and cost estimates for up to two nuclear reactors at Darlington. A joint review panel had issued a Licence to Prepare Site in August 2012.
   Neal Kelly, a spokesperson for Ontario Power Generation (OPG) said it had been “hopeful of moving forward” with the new nuclear build, which was expected to cost billions.
   “Nuclear will remain a strong part of Ontario’s energy mix,” states Kelly. The minister’s commitment to refurbishment is “great news.”
   Four nuclear reactors at Darlington will be refurbished in the near future, allowing them to operate for approximately 25 to 30 additional years. The refurbishment had its environmental assessment approved by the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission in March following a four-day public hearing.
   “Thousands of jobs in Durham Region will be created,” claims Kelly.
   At the end of the day, the final decision to move forward with the new nuclear project rests with the Government of Ontario. Several energy ministers and governments before Chiarelli and the Liberals committed to the new build, says Chair Anderson. Nothing will happen for a decade now, he claims.
   “It is not like they didn’t promise this,” says Chair Anderson. “They’ve got a lot of explaining to do. That’s not who I want leading us.”

Adelaide ERT continues…but with little testimony

Here is a clip from CTV news London on the continuing Environmental Review Tribunal hearing the appeals against the NextEra Adelaide project: http://london.ctvnews.ca/video?clipId=1024316

The hearings continue today before a two-person panel, but with the majority of appellant Esther Wrightman‘s witnesses either denied, or severely limited in the scope of their testimony, there will not be much substance. Today’s proceedings are expected to be procedural motions; tomorrow, professional engineer William Palmer–who has spoken on the noise and infrasound produced by large-scale wind power generators at numerous international symposia–will provide “limited” testimony.

“Activists” shut down Middlesex ERT hearing

An update on the Adelaide appeal at the Environmental Review Tribunal, held in London this morning, from the London Free Press.

London hearing on health effects of wind turbines shut down due to activists 36

By Debora Van Brenk, The London Free Press

It was a turbulent beginning to a hearing about the impact of turbines on human and environmental health, as the adjudicator shut down the process after only a few minutes.
As two protesters refused to turn off their video equipment, hearing chairperson Dirk VanderBent warned they must comply or he would have to adjourn the hearing.
They didn’t; he did.
At issue are 37 turbines wind energy giant NextEra Canada plans to build in Adelaide-Metcalfe, west of Strathroy.
The Environmental Review Tribunal, VanderBent said, is to hear and adjudicate whether the Adelaide wind farm would cause serious harm to human health or serious, irreversible harm to the environment.
Anti-wind activist Esther Wrightman was set to argue that the turbines would pose unacceptable health risks and should be scrapped.
Sitting in the gallery were about 30 other wind opponents, many of them holding signs.
As the hearing at the Middlesex County buidling started Tuesday morning, Wrightman asked that cameras be allowed in the room to accommodate a person with a learning disability.
That was denied, except for VanderBent’s opening statement, after which he asked that all cameras be turned off.
One person continued to record with her iPad and another with her camera.
Exasperated, VanderBent adjourned until the afternoon.
Marcelle Brooks, who continued recording with her iPad until lawyers for NextEra and the provincial Environment Ministry had left the room, said she has no plans to comply. “The people in Ontario have a right to see what goes on in these tribunals…People need to see.”
Her frustration escalated as she learned that several of the witnesses she had planned to call — including Skype (video phone via the Internet) testimony from an Australian doctor and a property appraiser from Chicago — would not be allowed as witnesses.
With nine of her 11 witnesses barred from testifying, or whose testimony would be severely restricted, “It’s dead. This hearing is dead,” she said as she pondered her next steps.