Environment minister move to protect wildlife “quashed” by judges’ decision

Minister cancelled wind power project approval to “exercise precaution” regarding endangered bats; judges say, No and side with wind power lobby and developer on all points

May 15, 2020

A panel of judges in Toronto in the Ontario Superior Court released their decision yesterday over the Nation Rise wind power project in North Stormont, “quashing” the environment minister’s decision to revoke the project approval.

The decision is important —- and worrying —- as it appears to limit the environment minister’s powers to act over risks to the environment. Lawyer for the community group which filed appeals of the power project over a number of environmental concerns published a news release early this morning. It is available here: https://www.newswire.ca/news-releases/court-denies-minister-s-ability-to-protect-ontario-environment-823653654.html?fbclid=IwAR0ZEpgR1PRHmtE4lgDFu5SCI-WcVu5I4-TzXPf-b8pnZOyqsJ70ebu9fYM

Lawyer Eric Gillespie says that the decision rules the environment minister is unable to act and raise further issues after the quasi-judicial Environmental Review Tribunal has made a decision, even if there are factual errors alleged.

“This appears to leave the entire Province highly vulnerable,” said Margaret Benke of the Concerned Citizens of North Stormont group, calling the decision a “tremendous step backward for environmental protection.”

The Attorney General’s Office, which defended the minister’s decision in court, has yet to respond to yesterday’s decision.

“This is astonishing,” says Wind Concerns Ontario president Jane Wilson. “We know how difficult it is to present environmental concerns before the Tribunal and how the test was made very difficult to meet. Yet almost every wind power project in Ontario has been appealed, at a cost of millions to citizens and municipal government. To handcuff the minister like this is very concerning.”

While the community group learned of the decision Wednesday afternoon, power developer EDPR had workers back at the site earlier in the day. Somehow, the NDP energy critic was also informed and posted a message about the minister’s “batty” decision on Twitter Wednesday evening.

The judges’ decision is here: https://www.canlii.org/en/on/onscdc/doc/2020/2020onsc2984/2020onsc2984.html?resultIndex=3

WIND CONCERNS ONTARIO

contact@windconcernsontario.ca

Comments

Agneta Sand
Reply

Shame on those “Judges” ! ! !

Sommer
Reply

Why did Erik Gillespie not question the potential bias of Justice Harriet Sachs?

https://parkergallantenergyperspectivesblog.wordpress.com/2020/05/15/ontarios-bureaucrats-and-liberal-appointed-justices-have-full-control-of-the-ontario-energy-ministry/

“In examining the Justices hearing the appeal and overturning its cancellation it is striking to note one of them was Supernumerary Justice Harriet Sachs married to Clayton Ruby.  Clayton Ruby is a well-respected lawyer who has been quite active in promoting renewable energy and appears to be a firm believer in “climate change”.  Mr. Ruby has even signed the Leap Manifesto which makes major improbable and unproven claims such as: “The latest research shows it is feasible for Canada to get 100% of its electricity from renewable resources within two decades; by 2050 we could have a 100% clean economy.” A picture of Mr. Ruby and others who signed the Manifesto can be found on page 39 in the November/December 2015 issue of the Monitor.  The Monitor was issued by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives.   Should Mr. Ruby desire, he could easily find many recent research papers that would dispel many of the Leap Manifesto claims.  Based on Mr. Ruby’s beliefs, it should be expected they would be chatted about with his spouse, Justice Sachs, over the kitchen table or a family event, so the question arises; does she share his beliefs?

Looking back to October 2013 Justice Sachs was to sit as the judge on a “mock trial” of environmentalist David Suzuki related to a live theatre performance referenced as “The Trial of David Suzuki” but she withdrew as Sun News host Ezra Levant raised “queries on Judge Sachs and her possible bias.”
The foregoing raises the question on whether she continues to retain the suggested bias and if so, why did she not relinquish her role in this matter or why didn’t the other two justices suggest she do so?”

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