Action needed for Sumac Ridge appeal

Action needed: Sumac Ridge ERT Appeal
Thanks in part to some fine legal footwork on the part of counsel for the appellants, it appears that the Sumac Ridge ERT appeal will be adjourned for  a period of time – until April 8th before  it commences again. At the heart of the adjournment is the problem of Turbine # 1. Although several people pointed out to the MOE that there is a non-participating receptor closer than 550 m, the Sumac Ridge project was approved. Now the MOE Director acknowledges that there is a receptor (residence) too close to a turbine.  Until it is known what will happen with Turbine # 1 – whether  it will be removed or relocated and what the Director will decide, the ERT will be adjourned and the clock stopped. This does not mean the ERT has been dismissed.  From the official  ERT Notice: 
“The Tribunal adjourns the proceeding on its own initiative pursuant to s. 59(2)1(ii) of Ontario Regulation 359/09 made under the Environmental Protection Act to April 8, 2014, with reasons to follow. On that date, the Tribunal will review the status of the proceeding. The Case Coordinator will give notice to the parties, participants and presenters with respect to the time and location of the status review.  
The Director shall give notice in writing to the parties and the Tribunal of his decision to revoke, amend or take no action with respect to Renewable Energy Approval No. 8037-9AYKBK issued on December 11, 2013 and new information regarding a noise receptor. The notice shall be given as soon as practical after he has made a decision.“ 
Call to Local Wind Action… 
In the meantime… to continue the fight to protect this area from unnecessary and unneeded industrial development, the call is out for people to show up in the Sumac Ridge project area next Tuesday March 4th at a little after 11 am. The  Toronto based Chinese TV Network, Fairchild Television is coming out and would like to interview COKL Councillor Heather Stauble and Cavan Monaghan Deputy Mayor Scott McFadden as well some of the protestors who were in Toronto and other concerned residents. There will be a very brief meet-up at Rolling Hills School at 11 am with Manvers Wind Concerns and then a convoy to the heart of the Sumac Ridge project. 
The call is out by Manvers Wind Concerns for people to show up at the corner of Wild Turkey Road and Ballyduff Road at a little after 11 am with signs… MWC will also supply signs.   The safest way to approach Wild Turkey Road is from Highway 35 via Ballyduff… Wild Turkey Road is NOT maintained.

Bow Lake appeal begins next week

Bow Lake Wind Farm appeals begin next week

Thursday, February 27, 2014   by: Darren Taylor, SooToday

The main hearing for an appeal against the Bow Lake Wind Farm project has been rescheduled to 11 a.m. on Monday, March 3, 2014 at The Days Inn at 332 Bay Street in Sault Ste. Marie.
Members of the public are invited to attend.
The Ontario Ministry of the Environment (MOE) approved the Bow Lake Wind Farm project December 16, 2013.
The Bow Lake Wind Farm project is a partnership between Nodin Kitagan of Batchewana First Nation (BFN) and Calgary’s BluEarth Renewables.
The Bow Lake Wind Farm project, a plan for 36 wind turbines, is to be located on traditional BFN land approximately 80 kilometres north of Sault Ste. Marie.
In early January, Save Ontario’s Algoma Region (SOAR) spokesperson Gillan Richards and Lake Superior Action Research Conservation (LSARC) Co-Chair George Browne announced by email that James Fata and 2401339 Ontario Ltd. (a corporation resident in Ontario) will request the Environmental Review Tribunal (ERT) revoke MOE approval of the Bow Lake Wind Farm.
Groups such as SOAR and LSARC state they are opposed to wind farm development in the Sault and Algoma region, maintaining that wind turbines are hazardous to human health and wildlife, an environmental disruption, and spoil the natural, rugged beauty of the Algoma landscape.
SOAR and LSARC say Fata is challenging MOE approval of Bow Lake on constitutional grounds, questioning whether the project’s approval has violated his right to security of the person as granted under Section 7 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
A preliminary hearing was held January 28 and continued by teleconference January 31, February 7, 14 and 21.
The March 3 main hearing will include opening statements for all parties.
The appeal by 2401339 Ontario Ltd. will be heard at 9 a.m., March 3 to 7, 2014, and at 9 a.m. March 17 to 21, 2014.
James Fata’s appeal will be heard at 9 a.m., March 25 to 27, 2014.
All meetings will take place at The Days Inn.

Sumac Ridge ERT adjourned until April

Here from Manvers Gone With The Wind, a report on the ERT from City of Kawarth Lakes Councillor Healther Stauble.

Sumac Ridge ERT UPDATE Feb 26th- Hearing Adjourned until April 8th!!!

MPP Laurie Scott (Haliburton–Kawartha Lakes–Brock) with Manvers Wind Concerns’ Paul Reid at the protest at Queen’s Park, Feb 24, 2013

UPDATE: Sumac Ridge from COKL Councillor Heather Stauble
I am attaching a copy of the Order that was issued yesterday regarding the Environmental Review Tribunal on the Sumac Ridge Wind Project adjourning the Hearing until at least April 8th, 2014.
At the beginning of this process, the Director at the Ministry of the Environment came forward acknowledging that a noise receptor had been identified that was within the 550m setback established under the Green Energy Act regulations (O. Reg 359-09).
The Tribunal has now cancelled all Hearing Dates and called an Adjournment until April 8, 2014 at which time the Tribunal will re-assess the status of the proceedings. The Director at the Ministry of the Environment must now bring forward his decision to revoke, amend or take no action in writing.
If the turbine that is currently within the 550m setback is not eliminated from the plan, and either moved or left in place, an opportunity to comment on the revised plan would be important.
In the meantime…email action required!

MPP Tim Hudak, MPP (Niagara West--Glanbrook) Leader of the PC Opposition
MPP Tim Hudak, MPP (Niagara West–Glanbrook) Leader of the PC Opposition
  • In addition, wpd has applied to the Ontario Energy Board to have access to Gray Rd. Road allowance and Wild Turkey Rd. under the Electricity Act.  The posting on the Ontario Energy Board website requires that they notify adjoining landowners, the Clerk at the municipality and post the information on their website.  There does not appear to have been any notice on the wpd website as of yesterday and no notice was provided to the City of Kawartha Lakes. Adjoining landowners who were NOT notified should advise the Ontario Energy Board and copy me
If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me.
Heather Stauble
Ward 16
City of Kawartha Lakes

Wrong, wrong, wrong: Ostrander Point decision


The Times

Wrong to assume

Rick Conroy

The Prince Edward County Field Naturalists are wrong. Ontario Nature. Nature Canada. Both wrong. Dr. Robert McMurtry is wrong. The South Shore Conservancy is wrong. So too is the Prince Edward Point Bird Observatory. Alvar, bird, butterfly, turtle and bat experts are all wrong. The municipality of Prince Edward is wrong. As are the majority of County residents who believed Crown Land at Ostrander Point should be preserved—rather than industrialized for the profit of one corporation.
And now we have learned that Ontario’s own Environmental Review Tribunal is wrong. A Toronto court has said so. This ought to keep Premier Kathleen Wynne up at night.
The Tribunal’s Robert Wright and Heather Gibbs spent more than 40 days hearing evidence, challenging testimony and witnesses and weighing competing claims. They began their task in a snowstorm in February; and delivered their decision on a hot July day last summer. Wright and Gibbs visited Ostrander Point. They walked around. They saw, with their own eyes, what was at stake.
They dug deep into the evidence. They weren’t satisfied that the Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR) had sufficiently scrutinized the developer’s plans before issuing it a permit to “harm, harass and kill” endangered species, including the Blanding’s turtle.
They discovered that mitigation measures proposed by the developer to ensure overall benefit to the species were untested and worse, according to evidence presented before them—unlikely to work, particularly for the population at Ostrander Point.
However, the Toronto court ruled that Wright and Gibbs should have given the MNR the benefit of doubt.
In my view, the Tribunal ought to have assumed that the MNR would properly and adequately monitor compliance with the ESA (Endangered Species Act) permit,” wrote Justice Ian Nordheimer in the decision.
But Wright and Gibbs, after listening to 40 days of testimony and examining nearly 200 documents entered into evidence, concluded they could not make that assumption.
The Tribunal’s error was that it didn’t believe the MNR would adequately look out for the Blanding’s turtle.
Wright and Gibbs had gone backward and forward through the proposals prepared and submitted by the developer and accepted by the MNR. They concluded the “Blanding’s turtle at Ostrander Point Crown Land Block will not be effectively mitigated by the conditions of the REA [Renewable Energy Approval].”
The court didn’t say Wright and Gibbs were wrong about their conclusions, but that they should have “accepted the ESA permit at face value” or explained better why their conclusions were different than the MNR.
The Tribunal was obliged to explain how the fact that the MNR had concluded under the ESA that the project would lead to an overall benefit to Blanding’s turtle (notwithstanding the harm that would arise from the project) could mesh with its conclusion that the project would cause irreversible harm to the same species,” wrote Justice Nordheimer.
This is the bit that ought to send a cold shiver through Premier Wynne and anyone else who is worries about the welfare of endangered species in this province.
Read the full article here.

The Prince Edward County Field Naturalists have decided they will persevere, and appeal this decision. They need HELP! to donate or learn more

Prince Edward County vows to fight on

Ostrander Point Appeal Fund 

Preserving critical natural habitats

“one of the worst possible places to construct a wind farm” (Ontario Nature)

Press Release   –  February 24, 2014

Round 2 goes to the Turbines

PICTON Ontario.  On January 21-23, 2014, lawyers assembled in Osgoode Hall to hear the arguments of the Ministry of the Environment and Gilead Power against the ERT ruling that revoked the Minister’s approval of the wind turbine project at Ostrander Point.  The decision of the Divisional Court was received on Thursday February 20.
Justice Nordheimer reached the decision that the Tribunal erred in its ruling.  Unless appealed, this decision will result in the industrial development of Ostrander Point Crown Land Block on the South Shore of Prince Edward County (PEC).
Prince Edward County Field Naturalists are disappointed with the ruling of the Divisional Court and do not agree that the Environmental Review Tribunal was wrong.  The group will be seeking leave to appeal the Divisional Court ruling to the Court of Appeal of Ontario.
Ostrander Point is in the middle of the PEC South Shore Important Bird Area.  It is the home of the endangered Blanding’s Turtle and many other species at risk.  Millions of birds fly through and stage for migration from the south shore of PEC in the spring and fall.  The Crown Land Block is adjacent to the Prince Edward Point National Wildlife Area designated as an international Monarch butterfly reserve.  Ostrander Point includes significant areas of globally imperilled alvar habitat.  Gilead’s wind turbines project will expose migrating birds to lethal turbine blades at a time when they are most vulnerable.  At nearby Wolfe Island the turbines kill more birds than any other installation in Ontario because the eastern end of Lake Ontario is such an important migratory pathway.  The turbine pads and access roads will damage vast swaths of the Crown Land Block – and expose Blanding’s turtles to high road mortality and nest predation while destroying their habitat.  The south Shore of Prince Edward County is the last undeveloped natural habitat along the north shore of Lake Ontario.
For these reasons the Prince Edward County Field Naturalists opposed the development plans from the beginning.  Nature Canada, Ontario Nature, Environment Canada, the Suzuki Foundation, the Sierra Club, the Audubon Society, Bird Life International and the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds agree that Ostrander Point is the worst place for wind turbines.
The cost of the ERT appeal and subsequent defence of the ERT decision has been very expensive.  PECFN is a small club of mostly retired people.  People all through Ontario and in several other provinces have donated about $130,000 to the cost of this legal battle.  This amount is at least $100,000 short of the estimated final legal bill.  Fund raising continues through events and activities in the County and beyond. The small group is “girding their loins” and arming their slingshots to continue this David and Goliath struggle.

Please Donate. It is important.

For More Information Contact: Cheryl Anderson, Past President

When is harming animals not “cruelty”? When it’s for wind power

Turtles and birds: factors in the coming election?

When is animal cruelty OK? When it’s for wind power
On the same day that a 19-year old in Toronto was charged with cruelty to animals for shooting a cat with a pellet gun, the Ontario Divisional Court actually blessed the killing of many other animals.   That includes the endangered Blanding’s Turtle and numerous birds and bats, at Ostrander Point in Prince Edward County, where a wind power developer now seemingly has the green light to build on a fragile environment that is home to many forms of wildlife.  
The cruelty to a cat should not be taken lightly, of course, but neither should the granting of licence to kill turtles, birds, and bats or to damage rare plant life to erect industrial wind turbines on Crown land.   The licence granted to the developer, Gilead Power was simply because this Liberal provincial government has decided they “know best”! 
The Ontario Divisional Court ruling released last Thursday upset the onlysuccessful Environmental Review Tribunal (ERT) decision in Ontario that ruled against a developer and against the government’s approval of its project.  It is now apparent that the Green Energy Act is supreme in its ability to set the rules on the skills of bureaucrats to issue licences to “kill, harm and harass” any species in Ontario, even though designated as being at-risk or even endangered.   The GEA was obviously a well crafted act that cannot be found in error; the lawyers who crafted it must be proud. 
It must also make the current Liberal Government happy that they have set the bar* so low that no matter what evidence is presented to the ERT or the Ontario courts, they are able to stand up and proclaim that the GEA is an act without equal. 
Maybe when Premier Wynne is running on roads in the tranquil Ontario countryside, depicted in the turbine-free ads for the Liberal Party, she will see a magnificent eagle, or a red-tailed hawk, or if she is lucky, a Blanding’s turtle and she will consider the fate of her own at-risk species: a government no longer acting in the best interests of its people. 
©Parker Gallant
February 21, 2014
*Editor’s note: the Green Energy Act has made the grounds on which Ontario citizens can appeal a renewable power project approval extremely narrow: serious harm to human health, and serious and irreversible harm to the environment. As the lawyer for the industry lobby group, the Canadian Wind Energy Association, stated at the appeal of the Ostrander Point ERT decision, no one was ever supposed to be successful at stopping an approval.
We shall see about that.
A sampling of other projects where wildlife and the environment are endangered by wind power projects:
Algoma: Bow Lake and Goulais Bay
McLean’s Mountain, Manitoulin “Great Spirit” Island
Oak Ridges Moraine
Luther Marsh
Bluewater area, Huron Coast
North shore of Lake Erie
Amherst Island

Ostrander Point appeal:the MoE will go to any lengths to aid wind power

Here from Rick Conroy of the independent Wellington Times, his wrap of the appeal of the Environmental Review Tribunal decision to rescind approval of a wind power project on Ostrander Point.

The Times

To harm, harass and kill


Appeal hearing considers who shall condemn endangered species in the name of green energy
By the time Heather Gibbs and Robert Wright concluded that the risk, posed by a proposed industrial wind project at Ostrander Point upon the Blanding’s turtle, was simply too great, and the damage likely permanent, the Environmental Review Tribunal (ERT or Tribunal) panel had heard more than 40 days of testimony. More than 188 exhibits had been entered into evidence. Their decision ran 140 pages.
That decision, to revoke the Renewable Energy Approval (REA) granted to Gilead Power by the Ministry of Environment (MOE), rocked the wind energy sector in this country. It sent government bureaucrats scurrying for cover.
If the fate of a turtle could block the development of an industrial wind project—the precedent could be a formidable roadblock to similar projects across the province and Canada. There are other turtles and endangered species that deserve the protection this panel afforded the Blanding’s turtle of Ostrander Point. The implications are profound.
Wright and Gibbs must have known their words, their actions, and their decision would be attacked, pulled apart and recast as naïve or simply mistaken.
An appeal to the Ontario Superior Court was the only door left open to the developer, Gilead Power Corporation, the wind energy lobby and their large team of lawyers.
So it was that the latest battle, played out in a courtroom over three days last week at Osgoode Hall in Toronto, was fought over what Wright and Gibbs said. What they wrote. What they did. And what they didn’t do.
Did Wright and Gibbs make an error in law? Or procedure? This was the narrow lens with which the three justices—Maria Linhares de Sousa, Ian Nordheimer and Kevin Whitaker—heard arguments in courtroom number three last week.
Even before the appeal began, the developer’s attorneys attempted to change the ground rules by urging the justices to hear new evidence. The talented and able lawyers from McCarthy Tetrault argued that their client, in the intervening months since the Wright and Gibbs had delivered their decision, had undertaken steps it believed would address the Tribunal’s concerns.
Their argument failed to persuade the appeal court. The justices refused to widen its scope beyond whether or not the Tribunal had conducted themselves correctly and in accordance with the rules by which they are governed.
Courtroom 3 is located on the west side of the ornate and grandly decorated centre square of Osgoode Hall. Ceilings soar to about 40 feet. The length and width are only a few feet greater—forming a giant cube. The three justices, cloaked in floor-length robes are perched upon a raised platform before a thick hewnwood bench. The only marker of the current century is the laptop computer each judge keeps before them—though scarcely used.
Arrayed below them are rows of lawyers. Eric Gillespie and Nathalie Smith argued the bulk of the appeal for the Prince Edward County Field Naturalists (PECFN) and the Alliance to Protect Prince Edward County (APPEC).

Read the full article here.

Dufferin County still fighting wind power project: “we have a gun to our head”

UPDATED: Dufferin County, Dufferin Wind return to negotiating table

Wind wars

Dufferin County will return to the negotiating table with Dufferin Wind Power Inc. in hopes of avoiding expropriation. On Thursday (Jan. 23), county council directed staff to continue negotiations to finalize an agreement to grant an easement along the county-owned rail corridor. The agreement will be presented to county council at their Feb. 13 meeting.

Orangeville Banner

Dufferin County will return to the negotiating table with Dufferin Wind Power Inc. in hopes of avoiding expropriation.
On Thursday (Jan. 23), county council directed staff to continue negotiations to finalize an agreement to grant an easement along the county-owned rail corridor. The agreement will be presented to county council at their Feb. 13 meeting.
“It is different from what we’ve been doing,” said county Warden Bill Hill. “But when every avenue we’ve explored – and everyone else has explored – has been ignored and shut down by the province, the only option left for the county was to be faced with expropriation.”
According to the motion, Dufferin County has an opportunity to receive additional compensation and improved terms from Dufferin Wind over what would be granted through expropriation.
The warden explained the county was presented with a new offer from Dufferin Wind.
“There was a meeting with Dufferin Wind,” Hill said, adding details are not publicly available yet. “When the (Feb. 13) agenda is put out, you’ll see what has been negotiated, vs. what will be rammed down our throat by the energy board.”
Dufferin Wind spokesperson Connie Roberts said the company is pleased the county is returning to the negotiating table.
“Until an agreement is reached however, DWPI must continue to pursue expropriation to ensure the project is not delayed,” Roberts said in an email to The Banner. “This being said, everyone with Dufferin Wind is feeling optimistic that a positive outcome will allow DWPI to cease expropriation proceedings after the February 13th Dufferin County Council meeting.”
The Ontario Energy Board (OEB) has approved a leave to construct application from Dufferin Wind to build a 230 kV transmission line from Melancthon to the Orangeville transmission station in Amaranth.
The line will be above ground with the exception of sections in Shelburne and near the south end of the line.
Dufferin Wind has filed an application to expropriate the lands needed for the line. Approval of that application is immanent, according to the recent county motion.
“It’s not a matter of if this is going to go ahead or not. It’s a matter of what are the terms of it going ahead,” Hill said. “We have a gun to our head that says this deal is going ahead.”

Read the full story here.

Save The Oak Ridges Moraine (STORM) Coalition to be Participant at ERT

STORM Coalition (Save the Oak Ridges Moraine)

NEWS RELEASE January 24, 2014

For Immediate Release
STORM Granted Power at First Wind ERT Hearing on the Oak Ridges Moraine
Save The Oak Ridges Moraine (STORM) has been granted participant status at the Sumac Ridge Tribunal Hearing, Tribunal Case Nos. 13-140/13-141/13-142.  This is the first wind turbine project to be approved under the Renewable Energy Approval on the Oak Ridges Moraine.
The opposition to this project spans people from across the Oak Ridges Moraine, local citizens, municipal governments, First Nations, Buddhists, and STORM.  STORM Chairperson, Cindy Sutch will be participating in the hearing on behalf of STORM Coalition.  Sutch states, “the spirit of the Oak Ridges Moraine was certainly felt by everyone at the Preliminary Hearing today.” 
Since 2009, STORM has been expressing concerns with proposed large-scale energy projects being sited on the Oak Ridges Moraine to the Province. Aside from the fact the Oak Ridges Moraine contains a diversity of woodlands, wetlands, watercourses, kettle lakes, kettle bogs, and significant flora and fauna, it is one of the few remaining continuous green corridors in southern Ontario. The remnants of tallgrass prairie and oak-pine savanna in the eastern portion of this ancient landform are globally threatened ecosystems and will be impacted by wind development.
The Oak Ridges Moraine is environmentally sensitive, geological landforms that contains the headwaters of 65 rivers and streams and whose deep aquifer systems provide clean drinking water directly to 250,000 and indirectly to millions more. Due to the topography of the Oak Ridges Moraine, wind developers are attracted to this landscape to install their energy infrastructure projects.
To date, there are six wind turbine power plant installations that have received Feed-in Tariff (FIT) contracts all within the eastern portion of the moraine (east of the Region of Durham). This portion of the moraine provides both terrestrial core and corridor habitat and is a critical refuge for birds, bats, threatened and/or endangered plants and animals, and numerous species at risk.   Sutch added “the trade offs in terms of environmental protection for development is unacceptable and contravenes the spirit of established Provincial Policies.”
STORM was established in 1989 to raise awareness of the sensitivity of the moraine’s ecology to impacts from urban development and other land and resource uses such as aggregate mining, forest destruction and infrastructure projects.  STORM was represented on the two provincial initiatives charged with developing long term management strategies for the moraine, the second which provided advice to the government that formed the basis of the current legislation and policy framework.  The core of the Oak Ridges Moraine Conservation Plan (ORMCP) is the recognition of how important the moraine is to the ecological and hydrological integrity of south central Ontario.
The Environmental Tribunal Hearing will commence on February 24, 2014 in the City of Kawartha Lakes.
Contact: Debbie Gordon
Senior Campaign Manager
Save The Oak Ridges Moraine Coalition
Phone: 905.841.9200

Appeal dismissals mean more $$$ for Ontario ratepayers

Appeals were dismissed yesterday for two wind turbine projects meaning that they will proceed unless they are appealed to the courts. 

The South Kent Project approved today for Samsung/Pattern in Chatham-Kent is huge— 270 MW.  The Adelaide project approved today for Suncor in Middlesex County is  40 MW.
Here are the costs from these projects for Ontario electricity users:
                                        South Kent        Adelaide        Total
Annual Cost in $ Millions      $    92.6              13.7         $106.3
20 year Cost  in $ Millions    $1,852.0          $274.4        2,126.3
The annual cost for these two projects alone works out to $22.15 per household for 20 years.
The decision on the 270-MW K2 project appeal is expected by the end of January.  
This has been (another) costly week for Ontario ratepayers.