Amherst Island residents ask Environment Minister to revoke approval
November 15, 2017
The Association to Protect Amherst Island has filed a formal letter of Appeal to the Ontario Minister of the Environment and Climate Change Chris Ballard, reminding him that it is within his power (contrary to the wind power developer assertions) to review the current situation with regard to the Windlectric project now under construction, and revoke its approval.
In a letter dated November 14th, the Association wrote:
This is an appeal on “matters other than law”. Accordingly, you are not bound by precedent nor by the efforts of counsel for the Approval Holder, Windlectric Inc., and counsel for the Government to limit your authority to consideration of errors or to the narrow test required at the ERT to demonstrate “serious harm to human health; or serious and irreversible harm to plant life, animal life or the natural environment”. You are wrongfully advised by counsel for the opposing parties that even Government policy and political risk are irrelevant to this matter and that you don’t even have the authority to request the Director to require a modification to the project to reflect critical changes or to impose mitigation measures which Tribunal members accepted as essential. Please do not be guided by lawyers’ efforts to limit your authority. Your mandate is much broader than the restrictive views expressed by opposing counsel in the responses to APAI’s appeal.
You are respectfully requested to do what is in the public interest: to revoke approval of the Amherst Island Wind Project.
You have a real choice.
… The Association to Protect Amherst Island respectfully requests that you exercise your authority to revoke approval for the compelling reasons set forth in our earlier submissions:
- Enforce and respect commitments made by the Approval Holder during the ERT to mitigate potential negative impacts on the environment. The ERT decision specifically states that the Tribunal Members considered commitments made by the Approval Holder that were not included in the REA conditions when coming to their decision. However, Mr. Paul Nieweglowski, Assistant Deputy Minister MOECC, advised that the MOECC has no mandate to enforce commitments not included in the REA conditions. The project under construction is now radically different from the project considered by the ERT and in layman’s terms appears as a classic “bait and switch” described more fully in our earlier brief.
APAI outlined the risks to the environment now being seen:
- Safeguard Amherst Island residents’ access to clean water. All Island residents rely on wells. The potential adverse impact of the construction of 26 turbines on groundwater on a vulnerable and isolated Island and the failure of MOECC to heed the initial advice of its own expert hydrologist to implement a comprehensive groundwater monitoring requires your intervention. In the REA conditions, the MOECC required no studies and no monitoring. MOECC advised that no geotechnical studies have been conducted.
- Be proactive and protect human health by consistent application of noise regulations. If the Amherst Island Wind Project were proposed today the noise regulations implemented in 2016 would require significant changes to the project. A minimum of ten homes would be subject to noise exceeding the new standards. Why should Amherst Island residents be subjected to noise that MOECC acknowledges exceeds today’s safety standards? You have an opportunity to take preventative action especially important when it has become widely known that MOECC has not investigated thousands of noise complaints related to wind turbines throughout rural Ontario.
- Save $500 million by inviting the Approval Holder to terminate its FIT contract for the unneeded 75 MW Amherst Island project across the channel from the idle 2000 MW Lennox Generating Station paid monthly curtailment fees, the soon to be idle 800 MW Napanee Gas Plant to be paid over $13 million per month to NOT generate electricity, and 115 MW Northland Power whose offer of power at 5.6 cents per kilowatt was not accepted in contrast to the 14 cents per kilowatt to be paid on Amherst Island.
- Address the many risks described in our submission to your predecessor, the Honourable Glen Murray, which forms part of this brief: construction of a cement plant adjacent to the Island’s only school (something that would not be allowed anywhere else in Ontario), impact of construction on lands considered historic by First Nations, conflict of barge traffic with the Island ferry in winter, impact on the Owl Capital of North America and an Important Bird Area, the decimation of the bat population, loss of grazing land for sheep farmers and consequent potential end of the farm, impact on health, damage to the rich cultural and natural heritage of the Island, and the high risk to public safety and the environment.
Read the full letter on the APAI website here.