Stay of wind farm construction hearing in London: people vs profits

Supporters gather at the London Court House yesterday
Supporters gather at the London Court House yesterday

The legal proceeding held September 22 in London, Ontario to hear arguments for and against a stay of construction for the K2 Wind and St. Columban wind projects ended in late afternoon.

According to documents filed earlier this month, the “Appellants seek a stay of theconstruction of the St. Columban Energy LP WindProject and the K2 Wind Project, pursuant to Rule 63.02 of the Rules of Civil Procedure, s. 106 of the Courts of Justice Act 2 and s. 24(1) of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms 3 restraining the Respondents St. Columban Energy LP (“St. Columban”), and K2 Wind Ontario Inc., K2 Wind Ontario Limited Partnership (“K2 Wind”) from all construction-related activities until the resolution of the appeals.”

The courtroom was packed with supporters and media.

Lawyer for the Drennan and Dixon families, human rights specialist Julian Falconer, laid out the arguments for the stay of construction, concluding that this was a situation of people vs. profits, where the big money interests of the wind developers had taken precedence over assurances that people’s health and other rights would not be affected.

The hearing adjourned at approximately 5 p.m.; the judge promised she would do her best to render a decision on the matter quickly.

The appeal hearings begin in November.

For more information on the legal action, and for a link to donate toward covering legal fees, please go to the website for Safe Wind Energy for Everyone (SWEAR).

ERT wind farm testimony: Environment officials not doing their job

WAINFLEET WIND ENERGY INC.

 

 

Here is a report from Loretta Shields on testimony given at the appeal of the HAF wind power project by Vineland Power (IPC Energy); the hearings began on Monday this week.

For those of you that were not able to make it, Ministry officials from Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change and also the Ministry of Natural Resources  were questioned and cross examined during the last two days.  A representative with the Environmental Assessment firm was also cross examined today.  Here is the damning testimony that we learned:

1.  The Ministry of Environment does not verify set back distances of the wind turbines.  They trust the wind proponent (but the turbines did not meet the required set back distances!)

2.  The Ministry of Natural Resources does not verify either the presence or absence of natural features.  For example, the size of woodlands were inaccurate in the Natural Heritage assessment report and no one at the MNR verified this.  They are not careful to review the relevant documents and corresponding versions of those documents.

3.  The Tribunal Chair identified training gaps with the environmental assessor that authored the Natural Heritage Assessment report.

So we have a problem with training, verification, process control with both Ministries and the environmental assessment firm.

Please email the ministries and show your concern.  If you have property within 120 meters of either a proposed industrial wind turbine, collector line or transmission line, please let them know that we learned that there are verification issues, training issues and process control issues.  Demand that they review the NRWC project in relation to your property to determine whether significant natural features exist and require mitigation measures.  If you live within the HAF project location, demand that they review the project in its entirety.  The HAF Renewable Energy Approval documents now lack the required integrity to provide the people in our Community with assurances that other components of the project were investigated in accordance with the REA Regulation. If you don’t live within 120 meters, please write to voice your concerns. Because once this is approved, it is a tougher battle, and time is running out!

This is so NOT right.  This is NOT how civil servants serve the people in our Community.  This is NOT how a Ministry protects our natural features.

Please help with this fight. If you could write/email in the next day or two, it would be so much appreciated.

1.  Eric Boysen, Renewable Energy Director, Ministry of Natural Resources eric.boysen@ontario.ca

2.  Agatha Garcia-Wright, Director, Renewable Energy Approvals, agatha.garcia-wright@ontario.ca

3.  Copy:  Andre Marin, Ombudsman for Ontario info@ombudsman.on.ca

4.  Copy:  Gord Miller, Environmental Commissioner for Ontario  commissioner@eco.on.ca

Parker Gallant has questions for Energy Minister Chiarelli

Stipula_fountain_pen

Parker Gallant has written a letter to Ontario Minister of Energy Bob Chiarelli, as a concerned citizen of Ontario. He has included a series of pointed questions on the energy portfolio in Ontario, specifically what value there is for taxpayers and ratepayers, and what the effect will be on the Ontario economy.

Sample questions:

Why does the Ontario Power Authority claim it will pick up old refrigerators for “free” when the truth is, everyone is paying for that service?

Why does Ontario list “conservation” as a source of power when you can’t exactly plug a toaster into it.

Why does Ontario hand out grants of $650 to people buying energy-efficient air conditioners but only give $400 to less than 1% of Ontario’s citizens who are suffering from “energy poverty” and can’t pay their electricity bills? (And don’t get him started on the huge grants to people buying expensive Tesla electric cars…)

Read the full letter here! Letter to Energy Minister with questions

Wind farm appeals a “stacked deck”

Judges quash majority of turbine appeal

Setback issue to be argued Sept. 3
The Environmental Review Tribunal has ruled that only issues related to an amendment to the HAF Wind Energy Project will be heard next month. The majority of the issues raised in West Lincoln resident Anne Fairfeild’s appeal will not be argued.
Grimsby Lincoln News

WEST LINCOLN — The case against the five industrial wind turbines already spinning in West Lincoln is “still partially alive.”

Anne Fairfield, who appealed the province’s approval of the HAF Wind Energy Project, appeared before the Environmental Review Tribunal for a preliminary hearing last week. All of the issues raised in her original appeal were quashed, meaning only those mentioned in her appeal to the province’s subsequent approval of an amendment to the project will be heard at a hearing next month.

“They knocked out everything not mentioned in the amendment,” said Fairfield. “All we’re left with are property lines and the withdrawing of post construction raptor monitoring.”

Project proponents Rankin Wind Energy and Vineland Power Inc. had to submit an amendment to their application after it came to light that four of the five turbines were built closer to property lines than regulations allow.

According to the Green Energy Act, turbines must be located a minimum of a blade length from the nearest property — in this case, 95 metres.

The province approved the amended application June 20. Fairfield filed her appeal July 3.

Come Sept. 3 Fairfield will only be able to argue on the issue of property line setback infractions and post-construction raptor monitoring. The West Lincoln resident will no longer be able to present on issues of health, gas wells. hazardous waste and the impact on Charter rights — the issues Fairfield raised in her original appeal to the project’s approval.

Fairfield and members of the West Lincoln Glanbrook WInd Action Group met with Niagara West-Glanbrook MPP Tim Hudak Monday to discuss the upcoming tribunal.

Judges quashes majority of turbine appeal

West Lincoln-Glanbrook MPP Tim Hudak meets with constituents in resident’s home

Hudak was vocal in his opposition to the Green Energy Act in his time as PC Party Leader. He raised the issue several times at Queen’s Park on behalf of his constituents in West Lincoln and the province at large, calling for a complete moratorium on more than one occasion. He has called on the Minister of Energy, Bob Chiarelli, twice now to “do the right thing” in the case of the HAF project.

“If you had been caught speeding on Twenty Road, you wouldn’t get a redo,” said Hudak, speaking on the province’s approval of the amended application.

“It only makes sense for the government to follow its own laws.”

Hudak, fresh on the heels of his loss to Kathleen Wynne in the race to become premier, said he would do what he can to help his constituents but realizes his influence is not as strong as it could have been had the outcome had been different in June.

“My goal was to win the election and stop this thing in its tracks,” said Hudak. “I’ve met with Wynne and McGuinty, face to face like we are now, to say this is a bad idea for the province as a whole.”

Fairfield asked if the PC party would continue to push against the Liberal’s green agenda without Hudak at helm. Hudak said he appointed Lisa Thompson to the post of energy critic because her own riding of Huron-Bruce was home to several turbine projects. He was confident the party would continue to push against “one of the most destructive policy decisions in recent history.”

Hudak, like the half dozen residents gathered at Veldman’s house, did not have the same level of confidence the Environmental Review Tribunal would side with Fairfield.

“It’s an incredibly stacked deck,” said Hudak.

“ERTs don’t work,” said Fairfield, noting ultimately the decision will lie in either appeals court or in a judicial review, both of which she is prepared to more forward with.

Read the full story here.

Editor’s Note: the Environmental Review Tribunal Panel is NOT made up of “judges” but rather lawyers who are civil servants, employed by the Province of Ontario.

Desecration of Ontario’s North by wind ‘farms’: needless

Radar

Lake Superior. Montreal River Weather Radar Station, upper right corner. Foreground, ridge where wind turbines will be places for Bow Lake Wind Farm.

Once again, we do not usually re-post from blogs but this is an excellent summary of the recent appeals of the Goulais Bay and Bow Lake power projects, together with excellent photography by Gary McGuffin.

An excerpt:

In Ontario there have been 20 appeals in opposition to industrial wind turbine farms brought before the Ministry of the Environment (MOE) and 19 have been dismissed. An appeal by Prince Edward County Field Naturalists to kill the development of an industrial wind turbine farm on Ostrander Point was won before an ERT in July 2013. However, the decision has since been reversed by the Ontario Divisional Court and appellants are seeking an appeal before the Ontario Court of Appeal.

George [Brown, of LSARC] commented, “The 240 Bow Lake appeal came close to winning. Based on the Ostrander Judicial Review decision the Tribunal found that in order to prove irreversible harm it was necessary for the appellant to know the size of the populations being harmed. Having found that the 240 appeal failed to prove irreversible harm the Tribunal declined to make a finding on the issue of serious harm, though it agreed with virtually all the arguments on bats submitted by the 240 appeal.

As a result the Tribunal imposed immediate and more stringent mitigation measures on the project – a tacit admission that species-at-risk bats would otherwise be killed, which would be a serious harm.

The Tribunal’s decision is peculiar in that it allows these more stringent mitigation measures to be rescinded should they prove effective. Had the MNR required, or done, a baseline study, or had the 240 appeal had the time and money to do one, to determine the size of existing bat species populations in the project area, we would perhaps have had the final piece of the puzzle required to win.” …

Read the full post here.

Fairview wind project re-posted for comment

Deadline for comments is August 23rd.

The 16.4-MW Fairview project in Clearview Township, which was returned to the developer because of a lack of a heritage assessment, has now been reposted for a 30-day comment period.

The link to post comments is here.

The new documentation from wpd is here.

Interesting note from the EBR site: Since the REA application was received on September 5, 2012 and deemed complete on December 3, 2013, the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change (MOECC) determined that Cultural Heritage Studies were not undertaken for the portion of the study area located north of County Road 91. In addition, during the technical review, wpd Fairview Wind Incorporated informed the MOECC that they were making technical changes to the project, including using alternative access to turbines T1, T5, T6 and T8.

HOW IS IT that documents are “deemed complete” and then–oh, my–one of them wasn’t even there?

In other news, the 102-MW Goshen project near Bluewater,  and the 2.5 MW Quixote One project near Tiverton, were approved.

 

Central Bruce residents file complaint: impending disaster at K2 wind farm

"Lake K2"
“Lake K2”

Yesterday, residents of Central Bruce and the Central Bruce Wind Action community group, filed a letter with the Ontario Ministry of the Environment and the Office of the Ombudsman of Ontario, regarding serious environmental issues associated with the K2 wind power project in Ashfield-Colborne-Wawanosh.

The letter, which was accompanied by almost 300 signatures from local residents, details the fact that issues concerning the danger to the water table and municipal water supply were raised repeatedly during the comment and approval process for the 270-megawatt power facility. K2 is being developed by a consortium of Capital Power, Samsung, and Pattern Energy.

The letter states: “In 2011 a K2 employee, Mr. David Harrelson, advised of close to surface aquifers at the substation site. Their presence is verified by Well Record A029342 from June 20, 2006. The well records from the site specifically make mention of the ground water table at one foot (12 inches) below surface. The MoE in Owen Sound had documentation in mid-2011 regarding the water issues at this site. The Approvals Branch of the MoE was notified and provided with this information as well.”

Almost immediately upon commencing construction for K2, the land became flooded, with water spilling into municipal drains and ditches; the water was so significant that locals branded it “Lake K2” and the developers had to post a warning sign, complete with a lifesaver attached. The developer is now trucking water from the site.

Clearly, the Central Bruce letter writers state, the documents filed with the application for K2 were incomplete, and important issues not considered by the Ministry of the Environment.

The letter concludes with the demand that K2’s approval be revoked, given its basis on incomplete and inaccurate documentation: “It is not for the residents of Ontario to bear any repercussions from an incomplete REA Application. K2’s application was incomplete. Given the current situation, we question the terms under which the REA was granted. The approval was premised on inadequate and unsupported information. We are therefore requesting that the Renewable Energy Approval for the K2 Wind Ontario Inc. project in Ashfield-Colborne-Wawanosh be revisited and revoked.”

You may view the letter here: Letter to Agatha Garcia-Wright – July 19, 2014-1

Public in the dark on Kawartha Lakes appeal

Industry and the Ministry of the Environment not telling appellants or Tribunal what they’re up to.

Wind farm appeal on hold until August

Kawartha Lakes councillor Heather Stauble says appellants aren’t sure when hearing will move forward

Kawartha Lakes This Week, June 5, 2014

(KAWARTHA LAKES) Ward 16 Councillor Heather Stauble says it is disturbing that the Environmental Review Tribunal (ERT) hearing the appeal of a wind energy project in Manvers Township is not getting information from the developer and the Province.

Last December, the Province granted wpd Canada approval for its Sumac Ridge wind energy project, which would see the installation of five large turbines near Bethany.

READ MORE: Councillor Explains Rationale Behind Wind Turbine Fight

Manvers Wind Concerns, Cransley Home Farm Limited and the Cham Shan Temple are appealing. The Cham Shan Temple is an initiative of the Buddhist Association of Canada that will mirror the four great Temples in China. One is almost completed and three more are planned for the City of Kawartha Lakes, a total investment of about $100 million.

On Wednesday (June 4), Coun. Stauble noted the hearing was originally scheduled for three months, ending in June. But, after several date changes, she says it has been postponed until Aug. 13. “We don’t know when this will move forward.”

Coun. Stauble said there has been ongoing correspondence between wpd Canada and the Ministry of Environment, but the appellants and the ERT panel have not been privy to that information.

Asked why not, Coun. Stauble said, “That’s a great question. Something has changed and we don’t know what it is.”

Read the full story here.

Niagara turbines to be near 1,000-year-old historic trail

Ancient Trail Threatens Turbines
SMITHVILLE, ON – April 27, 2014
A local amateur historian may have stopped the imminent start-up of a Niagara wind farm by simply highlighting the importance of a thousand year old trail on the very doorstep of the turbines. And while largely
forgotten by locals and historians alike, Neil Switzer contends that this 35 km trail that stretches from the Grand River to the Forty (Grimsby) is a major legacy trail to both native and Canadian cultures alike which
upon further study should qualify as a cultural heritage landscape of major Provincial significance under the Ontario Heritage Act.
Unfortunately for the wind power developer Vineland Power Inc., their heritage assessment consultant missed this historically significant feature and making matters worse the Ministry of the Environment failed to forward Mr. Switzer’s comments back to the heritage consultant or the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Sport for appropriate review. The trail comments were formally submitted to the MOE’s Environmental Registry as part of the Green Energy Act’s public consultation process but that Act does not supersede the Ontario Heritage Act and all projects must have clearance from the MTCS before approvals are granted.
This convenient oversight previously allowed the MOE to expeditiously grant approval to the wind project but now, owing to property line setback violations of 4 of the 5 turbines, an amendment must be approved prior
to final project start-up. This time however Mr. Switzer is making sure the MOE cannot cover-up such an important heritage asset. And in order to ensure that the MOE follows due process this time he has submitted
a complaint to the Ombudsman’s office detailing how the MOE will effectively be in contravention of the of Ontario Heritage Act if it proceeds with the amendment prior to the completion of a full trail heritage
assessment.
Mr. Switzer stated “the depth, richness and importance of Niagara’s native and pre-confederation history is unparalleled in Ontario and MOE’s disregard for this significant historic trail is a major insult to all Canadian
and First Nation’s people alike”.
Examples given of the cultural significance of this trail as submitted to the MOE included:
• One of only three major north/south Iroquoian/ Neutral Indian trails connecting the Grand River to
Lake Ontario with major archaeological resources along its 35 km route (i.e., Grimsby Neutral ossuary of 373 burials)
• Gateway trail influencing earliest settlement pattern of the United Empire Loyalist after the American Revolution including many officers and soldiers of the famous Butler’s Rangers and Indian Department
(i.e. Captain Robert Nelles, friend of the British and Chief Joseph Brant, homesteading land grants at both ends of the trail and frequented the trail so often that it became known as the Nelles Trail).
• Trail played major role in war of 1812 which not only transported local members of the 4th Lincoln Militia to battle but significantly it was the influx of Grand River native warriors arriving along this trail
to attack the retreating Americans after the Battle of Stoney Creek together with Sir James Yeo’s naval bombardment that sent the Yanks running back to Fort George. Without this native attack the Americans outnumbering the British 5 to 1 and with further reinforcements on
their way could easily have regrouped and overwhelmed the British at Burlington Heights and today we’d be under an American flag.
• Captain John Norton the famed native leader of the Grand River warriors lived at the southern terminus of this trail and regularly frequented this route on his way to battle or rendezvous with the British at the Forty.
• Chief Mesquacosy, an Ojibwa warrior who fought beside General Brock and Tecumseh in several battles had a son born in 1811 on the banks of the Forty Mile Creek named Maungwudaus who become one of North America’s most famous Indian in the 1840s and 50’s. Capitalizing on his native heritage he formed a troupe of native performers who toured the United States and Europe performing and lecturing before huge cheering audiences as well as having private audiences with the US President and French. Belgium and English royalty.
• Historically this trail symbolizes one of the best physical and literal representations of that formative nation building era when the ties between two of Canada’s three founding nations were strongest as
having been forged “as brothers in arms” during the American Revolutionary War and when natives and UEL settlers respected and depended on each other as equals.

Mr. Switzer admits this is a last ditch attempt to stall the turbine start-up until the upcoming Provincial election where if the PC’s win, Hudak has said he’ll cancel the costly $20 billion subsidy to wind and would hold wind developers accountable to comply with all setback requirements. Otherwise the future for anti-wind protesters appears extremely bleak so long as the Liberals remain in power and continue to approve hundreds more turbines every week in spite of electrical surpluses and spiraling energy costs.
While all Ontario homeowners, businessmen and industries are suffering from the highest electricity rates in North America due to the Liberal/NDP Green Energy Act, the real victims are the immediate neighbours.
Experience elsewhere has shown they stand to lose 20 to 40% of their property value as well as sleepless nights and the resultant health problems from turbine noise and low frequency infrasound.

One of the neighbours whose property will be directly impacted by an MOE amendment to legitimize the setback infractions stated in their comments to the MOE that she and her husband had fled their homeland in Yugoslavia 40 years ago in an attempt to escape a communist government who always put their own interests above the people and the community. Unfortunately, the way this issue has been handled by the
MOE has made them question whether life in Canada is really much different from our previous life under a communist regime halfway around the world.
Not so says Neil: “We may have strayed from our Canadian roots of “peace, fairness and good government” but it’s not too late to set things right and a little history lesson might be a good place to start.

Neil Switzer Chair, WLGWAG
www.wlwag.com