Wind power developer records protesters in Prince Edward County

WPD’s slogan: “Wind has no limits.” Apparently, greed doesn’t either

MILFORD Ont., September 28, 2015—

As more than 300 residents of Prince Edward County gathered on Sunday to protest the assault on their community and the environment by two wind power projects (Ostrander Point and White Pines, both being appealed) Germany-based wind power developer wpd Canada recorded the event, including speeches given by various presenters.

“Shame on them,” says Paula Peel, secretary for the Alliance to Protect Prince Edward County (APPEC).

If the power developer’s presence recording people was meant as an intimidation tactic, it didn’t work, Peel says.

The organizers did a brisk business selling T-shirts and protest signs, she says. “If you didn’t come to the rally with a T-shirt or sign, it’s likely you left with one.”

“The one thing wpd will take away from our rally is that the fight is only just beginning.”

 

Contact APPEC and read more here.

Fighting for the environment in Prince Edward County

More than 30 people gathered at historic Mount Tabor in Prince Edward County to protest wind power projects
More than 30 people gathered at historic Mount Tabor in Prince Edward County to protest wind power projects

County Weekly News, September 28, 2015

PRINCE EDWARD COUNTY – They’ve fought the fight for 14 years and pledge to fight another 14 and then some.

A couple of hundred people gathered Sunday afternoon at Milford Fairgrounds for a rally organized by the Alliance to Protect Prince Edward County (APPEC) in the continued effort to keep wind turbines away from the municipality’s south shore.

With two developments slated for Athol and South Marysburgh wards, including 36 turbines, rally-goers heard from a number of local politicians, they must continue the battle in an effort to keep the region turbine free.

South Marysburgh Coun. Steve Ferguson told the crowd the developments equated to a loss of democratic rights.

“In 2012 Steve Campbell wrote an article… the article went on to explain the resolve of the people of South Marysburgh to take a stand against the loss of democratic rights in this ward – a vote was held and an overwhelming majority voted against industrial turbines,” he said. “But we came together as a group and a community and expressed an opinion – we’ve made an impression.”

Ferguson said it was important to have as many local residents as possible show up for appeal hearings for the wpd Canada White Pines (27 turbines) and Environmental Review Tribunal (ERT) hearings for Gilead Power’s (nine turbine) Ostrander Point development.

“The pre-hearing for wpd set for earlier this month was set back because residents had not received proper correspondence indicating how they could participate,” Ferguson said. “The ERT, which begins again for Ostrander Point on Oct. 27, — it’s crucially important that we fill every seat in that (Demorestville) hall every day and ditto for (White Pines) when that resumes in Wellington in November. We have to have a strong presence to let the Tribunal know just how the people in South Marysburgh feel.”

Prince Edward Field Naturalists president Myrna Wood said the developments threaten wildlife and natural habitat in the region.

“Today, the endangered species list in Ontario stands at 217 and the main reason of species decline is habitat loss,” she said. “We humans take over the lands and waters they need and now is the time for us to preserve the remaining habitats for their survival – that is Prince Edward County’s south shore which is one of the last remaining habitats. It provides food and shelter for millions of birds that travel from South America to Canada’s north and back again every year. Constructing these turbine projects will destroy hundreds of hectares of shrubs, trees and wetlands on which the birds depend.”

Prince Edward – Hastings MPP Todd Smith agreed, telling the crowd he was disappointed to see the effects of another development in Ontario.

“I was visiting Huron County where they have hundreds of turbines erected and I was shocked not to see a single bird flying there,” he said. “There was nothing – it was dead and that’s exactly what is going to happen in Prince Edward County if these (projects) proceed. What it has done is rip apart the community with friends no longer being friends and families even being torn apart. It’s doing the same thing here and on top of all that – we don’t need the power.”

As a sign of solidarity and protest, rally-goers joined hands and formed a circle around Milford’s beloved Mount Tabor Community Theatre.

APPEC chairman Gord Gibbons said if a planned turbine is erected just south of the theatre, it will damage the village’s heritage forever.

“It’s planned for just behind the property here and it would have devastating effects on this community,” he said. “It simply cannot be allowed to proceed.”

 

Environment Canada wins right to have turbines stop during extreme weather

Environment Canada Exeter weather radar station. (JOHN MINER, The London Free Press)

(Photo: John Miner, Exeter radar station)

Radar operations affected by the turbines

London Free Press, September 27, 2015

Environment Canada can’t block wind farms from being built close enough to throw off its weather radar readings, but it’s won the right to order turbines curtailed during severe weather in Southwestern Ontario, documents obtained by The London Free Press show.

Under a 32-page agreement negotiated with NextEra Canada, Environment Canada can order the Florida-based wind energy giant to reduce wind farm operations in extreme weather that could jeopardize public safety.

Following a call from Environment Canada to its operation centre in Juno Beach, Fla., Next­Era has 20 minutes to “feather,” or adjust, turbine blades back in Ontario so they won’t contaminate radar readings, according to the agreement provided to The Free Press under the federal Access to Information Act.

The curtailment can last up to an hour, but can be extended by Environment Canada if dangerous weather conditions — Southwestern Ontario is located in a tornado alley and heavy snow belt — persist.

Ground Zero for industrial turbines in Ontario, with the biggest and largest number of wind farms in the province, Southwestern Ontario has been a hotbed of rural opposition to the highrise-sized installations, which took off after the Liberal government began signing sweetheart deals with energy companies — paying them far more for their electricity than consumers pay — under its Green Energy Act in 2009.

But while much of the opposition to wind farms has come from activists concerned about health, land values and control over where the towers can be built, which the province took away from municipalities, the contamination of weather radar readings by spinning turbine blades — known as “clutter” — is an international concern.

Scientists in United States and Europe have shown that a weather radar signal bounced off a spinning turbine blade can appear to be a rotating cloud or tornado.

The wind farm operations can also distort precipitation estimates.

“It is an issue worldwide,” said Anne-Marie Palfreeman, manager of Environment Canada’s national radar program.

While Southwestern Ontario depends on Environment Canada’s only radar station in the region, in Exeter, north of London, for severe weather alerts, the agency has no jurisdiction over where potentially distorting wind farms are built, Palfreeman said.

“All of the decision-making as far as where wind farms are, is provincial legislation,” she said.

Wind turbines located within five kilometres would be a major concern, since the towers themselves can block the radar signals, she said.

“What we do is ask them, ‘Please, do not build within five kilometres’,” Palfreeman said.

Wind farms built within 50 km show up on the weather radar and can distort what meteorologists see on their screens, she said.

The closest wind farm to the Exeter radar station is NextEra’s Goshen Wind Energy Centre. One of the Goshen turbines is about 14 km west of the weather radar.

When Ontario’s Energy Ministry green-lighted the Goshen project, it made the approval conditional on NextEra reaching an agreement with Environment Canada on measures to reduce the wind farm’s radar interference.

In addition to Goshen, a spokesperson for NextEra said the company has now reached agreements with Environment Canada covering its Bornish, Jericho and Bluewater wind farms, all north of London and within 50 km of the radar station.

“We can assure you that in case of a severe weather event, as determined by Environment Canada, we would abide by the terms in these agreements,” Joselen Bird of NextEra said.

Palfreeman said it’s the weather forecaster’s call if the wind farms need to be curtailed during a severe weather event such as a tornado.

“If they think they need the proponent to feather their blades for us to be able to properly see what is going on, they will ask for it,” she said.

While the Goshen wind farm started operation earlier this year, none of the severe weather events since has required Environment Canada to make the call to NextEra.

Palfreeman said Environment Canada is testing two software packages to see if the distortion caused by wind turbine blades can be reduced.

As part of the agreement between Environment Canada and NextEra, NextEra was required to provide Environment Canada with a performance bond.

The amount of the bond was removed from the copy of the agreement provided to The Free Press by Environment Canada, which cited sections of the Access to Information Act that allow it to withhold financial and commercial information provided by a third party, and contractual details that could interfere with negotiations.

Ontario Tough On Nature: OK to kill endangered species for wind power

Wildlife treasured in other countries; in Ontario, OK to kill for wind power
Wildlife treasured in other countries; in Ontario, OK to kill for wind power

The Wellington Times, September 25, 2015

End to the Green Energy Act can’t come soon enough

Social media lit up. Suddenly, if you were anywhere near Ostitional Beach in Costa Rica earlier this month, you had to get down to the shoreline to observe an amazing natural phenomenon. Hundreds of thousands of olive ridley turtles were crawling out of the ocean to lay their eggs in the sand. Soon, vacationers and daytrippers lined the beach. So many in fact, there was little space left for the turtles. Gleeful tourists waded into the surf to frollick among the landing party of large turtles. They snapped selfies and filled Facebook pages with images of the determined, purposeful animals. But with virtually all of the sandy beach occupied by gawkers and pests, many of the turtles turned back, retreating into the Pacific Ocean.

The incident has served to chasten Costa Rican conservation authorities about their stewardship of the vulnerable species. They are acting swiftly to improve their protection for the animal. Another wave of turtles is expected in early October. The Tempisque Conservation Area, which covers Ostitional Beach, plans to use security guards, police and the Coast Guard to secure the shoreline for the nesting turtles. It is unknown what long term effect, if any, the disruption of olive ridley turtles nesting behaviour will have on the species.

We are a bit less queasy about destroying the habitat of vulnerable turtles in Ontario. Despite warnings by its own expert that an industrial wind project would wreak havoc on a species considered at risk, Ontario’s Minstry of Natural Resources and Forestry issued the developer a permit to ‘harm, harass and kill’ the Blanding’s turtle.

Why is wildlife expendable?

The question we all must ask is: Why? Why does the Ontario government consider this vulnerable turtle to be expendable? Is it money? Can’t we afford to protect species at risk in this province? Costa Ricans earn about $10,000 per capita annually. In Canada, gross national income is about five times greater. Why is Costa Rica poised to act to protect its species at risk, while Ontario grants permits to kill them?

The town hall in Demorestville was expected to be full this morning as the Environmental Review Tribunal was scheduled to resume with Joe Crowley in the witness chair. On Tuesday the hearings were cancelled and rescheduled for the end of October.

Crowley is an at-risk specialist with the MNRF. He is the ministry’s turtle and snake expert. The Tribunal was nearing the end of a two-year-long appeal with the Prince Edward County Field Naturalists (PECFN), a small but devoted group of conservationists arrayed against the province and a developer hoping to construct nine 50- storey-high industrial wind turbines and carve a road network into a rare alvar habitat on Crown land at Ostrander Point on Prince Edward County’s south shore.

This Tribunal had, after 40 days of hearings in 2013, revoked the developer’s permit because it was persuaded that the Blanding’s turtle would suffer serious and irreversible harm. A series of court court challenges has put the matter back on the Tribunal’s table.

In three days of hearings earlier this month, the Tribunal heard evidence regarding the developer’s proposal to erect gates on the service roads. This, they argued, would ensure only the company’s vehicles would use these roads. It would train its technicians to look for turtles and all would be fine. That was their pitch.

The hearing plodded through three days of evidence and testimony. Then came Joe Crowley’s bombshell. Not only did he dismiss the artificial habitat proposed by the developer as futile—the road system, in his expert opinion, would prove too attractive to the nesting Blanding’s turtle— he revealed that he had advised his masters at the ministry against issuing a permit to ‘harm, harass and kill’ the species to the developer in the first place.

Crowley’s revelation brought the hearing to a standstill. The Tribunal ordered Crowley to find and produce all correspondence and documents related to this recommendation.

Next month, perhaps, we will learn what Crowley found. We should learn who knew what and when.

PECFN’s lawyer Eric Gillespie will want to know who Crowley told. Was it written down? With whom did he correspond or discuss the matter? What did they do with the recommendation? Why was Crowley’s advice ignored? On whose authority? One can imagine the questions blossoming like buttercups on the alvar.

Attacking the Green Energy Act

While that drama plays out in Demorestville, elsewhere in the County and at Osgoode Hall Law School, a handful of folks are preparing an full-on assault of the Green Energy Act. The County Coalition for Safe and Appropriate Energy (CCSAGE) intend to show that the GEA is an offensive piece of legislation designed specifically to enable renewable energy developers to override regulations erected to protect and safeguard our communities, environment and economy. See story here.

The GEA strips communities of their right to decide how many and where such projects will be permitted. It compels grid operators to take the intermittent power these projects produce, despite the risks and cost to their systems. It obscures the examination of the impact of these projects on heritage, the local economy and the environment behind closed doors. And then it restricts the sole public review of these massive and complex projects to two absurd questions: will the project cause serious harm to human health and will it cause serious and irreversible harm to plant, animal and habitat?

The World Trade Organization has already struck down illegal protectionist provisions in the GEA. Now a brave group is putting the rest of this foul legislation on trial. Bit by bit the Green Energy Act is unravelling. For the Blanding’s turtle, other species at risk, the residents of South Marysburgh and Amherst Island and many other communities in rural Ontario—the unwinding of this destructive and oppressive law cannot come soon enough.

rick@wellingtontimes.ca

Maine wind developer sets up conservation fund: strong message to Big Wind

Portland Press Herald, September 25, 2015

A $2.5 million fund for conservation projects across western, central and northern Maine has been set up as part of an agreement between the company building a wind farm in Bingham and a group that had sued to stop it.

SunEdison, a renewable energy development company, and Friends of Maine’s Mountains announced details of the deal in a statement Friday.

The first $1.5 million of the fund will go to projects being done by Maine conservation and environmental groups including the Trust for Public Land, Appalachian Mountain Club, Maine Appalachian Trail Land Trust, Forest Society of Maine, the Atlantic Salmon Federation and the Mahoosuc Land Trust.

Projects are spread across the state, from the western mountains through the Moosehead and Hundred Mile Wilderness regions to Katahdin. A second round of awards from the conservation fund will be disbursed in 2017.

The fund was created as part of the agreement reached by SunEdison and the Friends of Maine’s Mountains after the Bingham project got approval from the Maine Department of Environmental Protection last year. The Friends group later dropped its lawsuit to stop the project.

The agreement also stipulates that SunEdison will not use some sections of Maine for wind farms, that $250,000 will be dedicated to research for turbine bat deterrent technology and SunEdison will increase the decommissioning fund for the Bingham project by 50 percent.

In an telephone interview, Friends spokesman Chris O’Neil said the exclusion zone covers more than half of the state, including a 15-mile buffer on either side of the Appalachian Trail and around Baxter State Park.

“It sends a powerful message to any other wind developer that comes to Maine,” O’Neil said, adding that while this contractual agreement is only between the Friends and SunEdison, his organization is seeking to embed such restrictions in state law to preserve Maine’s scenic mountain vistas.

Construction of the $420 million 56-turbine Bingham wind farm started in July and is expected to be completed by the end of 2016. The project is designed to generate 185 megawatts of electricity, enough to power the equivalent of 60,000 homes.

According to the statement, the Friends agreed to stop litigation against the wind farm in exchange for the provisions of the agreement.

“FMM is committed to preserving Maine’s unique natural resources, particularly its prized mountains,” Rand Stowell, founder and board chairman of Friends of Maine’s Mountains, said in the release. “Working with SunEdison on this agreement has allowed us to advance those efforts and fund important conservation projects in the state.”

The Friends group doesn’t benefit from the conservation fund, according to the statement.

“We have deep roots in Maine, many of us live here and we value the state as a special place that is worthy of protection,” Kurt Adams, SunEdison’s senior vice president and chief development officer, said in the release. “With the creation of the fund, we are excited to be able to work together with Friends of Maine’s Mountains and a number of Maine conservation and environmental organizations to preserve the state’s open spaces so they can be enjoyed for generations to come.”

Halt wind farm approvals and improve regulation says Vermont former Lieutenant-Governor

It's this much noise, kind of like a refrigerator. In a jet plane.
It’s this much noise, kind of like a refrigerator. In a jet plane.

Growing body of evidence shows harm to human health

Vermont Biz, September 25, 2015

Wind turbine noise, what you can’t hear can harm you

by Brian Dubie What do you think of when you think of an industrial wind project? Wind developers want you to think of free, green electricity. People who live near industrial wind turbines think of noise. Let’s see why. An Industrial Wind project in Swanton proposes to install seven 499-foot tall wind turbines along 6,000 feet of Rocky Ridge (elevation 323 feet). We don’t know what turbine model the developer is considering, so let’s look at the GE 2.75-120 Wind Turbine. At 475 feet, it is slightly smaller than the developer’s Swanton turbines.  GE says a single one of their 475-foot monsters can produce 106 dBA of noise.  Scaling up to seven turbines would increase that noise to 109 dBA. (Noise is measured as pressure on a scale that is logarithmic, so sometimes the numbers are difficult to understand, but 109 dBA is loud. For comparison, my chain saw is rated at 109 dBA. I wear ear protection when I use it.)

So, when you think of industrial wind turbines on a ridge line, envision an airport with a line of airplanes that are holding for take-off. The airplanes are powered by chainsaw engines that have run up their engines to full power. But, unlike planes at an airport, the turbines never take off. Now, imagine this at 2am in the morning.

Some people will say wind turbines are not that noisy. Well that depends on how far from the turbines (chainsaws) and how many turbines (chainsaws) there are. Sound attenuates over distance. The further you are from the turbines (chainsaws) the more the noise attenuates and thus the quieter the sound is. Noise attenuation is also dependent on many topographical and meteorological factors. For example if you are downwind from the turbines (chainsaws) the noise is greater. If the turbines (chainsaws) are located on high ground, the noise carries farther.

The World Health Organization says that noise levels greater than 30 dBA can interfere with sleep. The WHO also explains that low-frequency noise has a greater potential to disrupt sleep and that levels of low frequency noise should be kept lower than 30 dBA. Turbines produce lots of low frequency noise—the kind of noise most likely to interfere with neighbors’ sleep.

Vermont’s Department of Health says that turbine noise outside your open bedroom window should not exceed 40 dBA. The Department assumes that you have different windows than I have and that your open bedroom window will reduce a 40 dBA noise to 30 dBA. Not only that, the Department’s 40dBA limit applies to noise averaged over a year. That means that somebody could start up a vacuum cleaner (70 dBA) outside your open bedroom window every 19 minutes and still operate within the Department’s guideline.

Vermont’s Public Service Board has a different standard. The PSB says that the turbine noise outside your open bedroom window, averaged over an hour, should not exceed 45 dBA. The PSB would allow the vacuum cleaner to start up every five minutes.

Of course a standard is no good if you don’t monitor for compliance. Vermont has developed an ingenious system where the monitoring is done by turbine neighbors. When noise levels exceed the PSB’s limits, the neighbors can call a special telephone number provided by the turbine operator. Turbine neighbors say that this telephone is not answered at night. To compensate for this, some wind operators hire experienced professionals to come in for a week or two every year to monitor their noise and to assure the neighbors that they are imagining things.

The noise you can hear is not the only sound that an industrial wind turbine produces. Industrial wind turbines also produce low frequency sound that you cannot hear but you can feel. When a turbine blade passes the wind tower on a large turbine it generates a low frequency pulse. These pulses are typically below 20 Hz and are called infrasound.

Turbine infrasound can be detected inside homes as far away as six miles. We know also that very low levels of infrasound and LFN are registered by the nervous system and affect the body even though they cannot be heard. Researchers have implicated these infrasonic pulsations as the cause of some of the most commonly reported “sensations” experienced by many people living close to wind turbines. These sensations include chronic sleep disturbance, dizziness, tinnitus, heart palpitations, vibrations and pressure sensations in the head and chest etc. There is medical research which demonstrates that pulsating infrasound can be a direct cause of sleep disturbance. In clinical medicine, chronic sleep interruption and deprivation is acknowledged as a trigger of serious health problems.

Denmark, which may have the most successful renewable energy program in the world, recognizes the potential health effects of audible and sub-audible turbine noise. Vermont does not. The Vermont Department of Health acknowledges that turbine noise can disturb sleep and that disturbed sleep can impair health. It is curious that the Department is unable to connect the dots and to conclude that turbines can impair health.

There is a growing body of research that shows that industrial wind turbines can have negative effects on the health of their neighbors. Because so many indicators point to infrasound as a potential agent of adverse health effects, I respectfully ask the members of Pubic Service Board, the Pubic Service Department, the Governor, the members of the Legislature, all Elected Officials, the Media, the Industrial Wind industry and all Vermonters who care about the future of our State to please read this report that describes infrasound in detail HERE(link is external).

If not sited properly industrial wind turbines can harm public health. I therefore call for a moratorium on industrial wind turbine projects until the Legislature, Pubic Service Board, Public Service Department and the Governor develop operating standards that protect the health of turbine neighbors, reform turbine siting standards, and regulate the operation of existing industrial turbines.

Brian Dubie of Fairfield served as Vermont’s Lieutenant Governor 2003-2011

 

Ontario needs stronger regulations for wind farm noise: WCO

tallturbineview

Blackburn News, September 24, 2015

by Janice MacKay

Wind Concerns Ontario says it’s clear Ontario’s current turbine setbacks are affecting the health of nearby residents.

A submission to the province says it is unacceptable that the Ministry of the Environment’s proposed new regulations for large industrial scale wind turbines ignore sound emissions altogether.

The group was hoping for stronger regulations in regards to low frequency noise or infra sound.

Wind Concerns President Jane Wilson says she has been told by the ministry over the telephone that complaints about noise emissions, sensations or vibrations produced by the turbines, number in the thousands.

The group requested further details on the complaints last april, but has not received the information before the deadline to comment on the new regulations.

Wind concerns says the Health Canada study showed 25 per cent of residents are extremely annoyed by the noise levels from turbines set back 550 metres, which is the legal distance in Ontario

The group points out that a report from Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health concluded five years ago there were key data gaps in relation to turbine noise levels–gaps that have not been addressed five years later.

 

To see Wind Concerns Ontario’s submission to the EBR, read WCOcomments-FINAL-2015

Rally planned Sunday September 27 in The County

Come to the APPEC Rally – September 27, 2015

syndrome

APPEC will be hosting a rally at the Milford Mount Tabor Fairgrounds on September 27th starting at 11AM and going onto until 4PM. Come and show your support for the Protecting What We Love movement in Prince Edward County. Come and show just how angry you are with what is happening to our small community by big business and big government. Come and see just how big these monstrous Industrial Wind Turbines are and how they will tower over our small community. Just how big is 50 stories? … along the South Shore … too big.

Come and learn what the noise will be like from these planned wind turbines as they are just too close to family residences, our wild life and our neighborhood.

Come to understand how our heritage will be impacted by these views and how property may get damaged in the construction. Do you need to find out where the 28km transmission will be buried and just how close to residences the construction will come? Are you worried about the changes in the hydrology and wetlands and how wells may get impacted?

Come and find out.

Come and learn how the wpd White Pines Wind Project will be industrializing the South Shore and consider for yourself if there are too many for the people that live here and the important wild life and habitat that the County is known for.

There will be a lot to learn with many displays presented by APPEC and other local groups including PECFN, CCSAGE and individuals who have been critiquing the wpd White Pines Wind Project since 2010. There will be fun for all ages with live local entertainment, bands and music. There will be lots to eat with several different food trucks. It will be a pleasure for your eyes, your ears, your taste buds and your mind.

Come and join the rally this September 27th.

Lawyers collaborate to restore rights removed by Green Energy Act

Lawyers working on a challenge of the Green Energy Act: the GEA has removed fundamental rights, and superceded 21 pieces of legislation in Ontario
Lawyers working on a challenge of the Green Energy Act: the GEA has removed fundamental rights, and superceded 21 pieces of legislation in Ontario

Wellington Times, September 23, 2015

Fixing a bad law

Filed under: News |

Law-Students

Legal minds collaborate to restore rights and safeguards diminished by the Green Energy Act

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.

Specifically he is asking the courts to examine the process by which the province reviewed and ultimately granted the renewable energy approval (REA) to wpd Canada for its White Pines project in South Marysburgh.

“We believe there is a reasonable apprehension of bias in the process,” said Whiteley. “The GEA has created a minority—residents of rural Ontario—and has taken away our right to object except for the narrowest of grounds.”

He argues that the Environmental Review Tribunal (ERT), as the sole appeal mechanism of an REA is a product of this bias.

He explains that under administrative law, the Ministry of Environment’s director plays a quasijudicial role—examining and weighing evidence and reaching a decision, for example, to grant a wind developer an approval, which could include a permit to “harm, harass and kill” an endangered species. But as citizens, we are precluded from knowing how that decision was reached— or whether it was fair.

To assist CCSAGE scale this legal mountain, the group has enlisted the assistance of York University professor Stepan Wood and five of his law students at Osgoode Hall Law School. Together, they are working to accumulate evidence and legal arguments to buttress the group’s claim that the GEA violates natural justice, prevailing statutes and individual rights in at least two dozen ways.

PREJUDICIAL AND UNFAIR
Whiteley returns to the inequity of the ERT appeal mechanism that enables the developer a wide scope of arguments, but restricts opponents to just two—human health and animals, plants and habitat destruction.

“Only the proponent may argue matters of heritage, economics or property rights,” explained Whiteley. “We are precluded by the act from showing how this project will impact heritage, the local tourism economy or property values. The ERT is part of the unfairness.”

He points to the divide created by the GEA in Ontario between rural and urban communities.

“In Toronto, you can rely on your official plan to protect you from industrial wind turbines from diminishing the value of your property,” said Whiteley. “In rural Ontario, local decisionmaking has been taken away. Our mayor has said clearly that this community is not a willing host to these projects. Yet the GEA permits it over the objections of the community.

“The GEA has created a minority in rural Ontario and taken away our right to object to development that fundamentally alters our landscape, economic prospects and heritage value—with no recourse,” said Whiteley. “This is prejudicial and unfair.”

He says the province is signatory to statutes and memorandums of understanding with other governments to protect endangered species and species at risk. Yet it grants wind and solar developers permits to ‘harm, harass and kill’ these animals and destroy habitat— without knowing how, or on what evidence, the province reached its conclusion.

This is a particularly acute question since a ministry expert on turtles testified earlier this month in an ERT hearing in Demorestville that he recommended against granting a developer the permit to ‘harm, harass and kill’ the Blanding’s turtle.

The group hopes to commence court proceedings shortly after Thanksgiving. They expect muscular response from the Ontario government and from the developer and the Canadian wind industry. If successful, they expect, the decision will be appealed—likely landing at the Supreme Court of Canada.

Another measure of the significance of the challenge is the participation by the Osgoode Law School’s Wood and students Stephen Gray, Sabrina Molinari, Timon Sisic, Amanda Spitzig and Imelda Lo.

“Each of them comes to the project with a remarkable CV,” noted Garth Manning. “They have taken to this challenge like ducks to water. It is such an important issue, with a great many powerful adversaries. We are fortunate to have them working with us.”

Manning notes that a judicial review is being funded initially by the group internally. Much of the legal work will be done on a pro bono basis by Whiteley and the law school students, with research and evidence-gathering assisted by Anne Dumbrille and Allison Walker among others. He notes as well that this effort is not meant to conflict or compete with other appeals— but rather it is a parallel examination of the impact the GEA has had in upending justice, diminishing basic rights and contravening statutes the province is obligated to uphold.

SHOW YOUR SUPPORT
The Alliance to Protect Prince Edward County (APPEC) is hosting a major rally in Milford on Sunday, which they hope will be a large and impressive statement about the prospect of as many as 29 50-storey industrial wind turbines erected around that community.

From 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Milford Fairground, there will be music, food and inspiring words. Participants are encouraged to don their anti-wind turbine kit. At 12:30 p.m. participants will be asked to join hands to form a protective circle around Mount Tabor.

“We encourage everyone from across the County to join together to say that this is the wrong place for industrial wind turbines,” said Gord Gibbins, APPEC chair.