Environment Minister’s response on altered well water: “generalities”

November 23, 2017

MPP demands that wind power projects be cancelled over concerns about Black Shale and polluted wells

 

MPP Monte McNaughton presents a bottle of well water to Minister Chris Ballard, compliments of the people of Chatham-Kent. The Minister’s response: “generalities”

 

In Question Period on November 20, Monte McNaughton, MPP for Lambton-Kent-Middlesex rose to ask the Minister of the Environment and Climate Change what action was being taken for people in his riding whose well water has been rendered “undrinkable swill” during construction for a nearby wind power project.

Minister Ballard responded with, in his own words, “generalities” and specifically skipped over answering the question about the quality of well water to say that “renewable energy projects are a necessity.”*

Here, from Hansard, is what the Minister said in response to Mr McNaughton.

Mr. Monte McNaughton: My question today is for the Minister of Energy. In my riding of Lambton–Kent–Middlesex, your ministry is pushing ahead with two new industrial wind turbine developments, the North Kent 1 and Otter Creek wind farms. These wind farms will generate electricity we don’t need and contribute to pushing hydro bills even higher than they already are.

These developments include turbines almost 200 metres high with foundations that require pile driving into black shale bedrock, rock containing heavy metals. This bedrock carries water of the aquifer. Since the start of construction on the North Kent project, 14 water wells have become turbid and undrinkable.

Mr. Speaker, we’ve seen the impact of pile driving into black shale from the North Kent project. Why is the minister allowing construction to continue there, and why is he jeopardizing the drinking water of another community by going forward with the Otter Creek project?

Hon. Glenn Thibeault: To the Minister of the Environment and Climate Change.

Hon. Chris Ballard: I’m happy to speak in some generalities around the need for wind turbines, and the very vigorous process that our government puts in place to make sure that the turbines are sited safely and that there is good, strong consultation with the community.

Speaker, we take the concerns regarding the environment and human health very seriously. I’ll say that we adhere to a very strict renewable energy approvals process.

Thanks to clean air and clean energy—and let me speak to the fundamentals for a second—Ontario has saved more than $4 billion in annual health and environmental costs because of this government’s commitment to clean energy.

Unlike the PCs, we can’t sit idly by. Renewable energy projects are a necessity and a crucial part of our low-carbon carbon switch, and we’re not going to back down from our—

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Thank you. I stand, you sit.

Supplementary.

Mr. Monte McNaughton: Back to the Minister of Energy: These wind farms will forever end food production on some of the best agricultural land in our country. And we are talking about an environmentally sensitive area, home to 24 species at risk, and within a major flight path for migratory birds. It is fragmenting the bedrock, turning clear, clean water into dirty, undrinkable swill, yet the project is going ahead even though the government has suspended the large renewable procurement II process because there is no need for additional electricity.

When the minister made that announcement in September 2016, I said that North Kent 1 and Otter Creek should be cancelled as well. Had the minister cancelled these two projects, the long-term savings would amount to $570 million. If stopping turbine construction makes economic, environmental and public health sense, why would the Minister of Energy sign off on continuing to build industrial wind farms in my riding of Lambton–Kent–Middlesex?

Interjections.

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Stop the clock, please. Be seated, please. Thank you.

Minister?

Hon. Chris Ballard: Thanks for the opportunity to follow up on the North Kent wind farm. Again, I’m going to reiterate that our government takes these concerns regarding groundwater quality very seriously. The renewable energy approval process, in fact, requires these proponents to undertake extensive consultation with municipalities, indigenous communities and the public. Additionally, we have taken a very cautious, science-based approach when setting the standards for renewable energy projects in order to protect the health of the Ontario people.

Speaker, the proponent in this case has done extensive monitoring prior to construction, and we’re going to require them to continue to monitor the vibration data closely during construction and operation of the wind turbines. We require the company to conduct additional water quality assessments and we’re keeping an eye on this.

Minister Ballard with some not-Chatham-Kent water

 

*WCO note: one of the key parts of the decision on the Ostrander Point wind power project, where the approval was rescinded by the Environmental Review Tribunal, is that wind power is not a “necessity” and does not trump everything. The approvals of wind power projects must achieve balance between the development of renewable energy and preservation of the environment.

Comments

Andre Lauzon
Reply

If the Liberals keep on saving so much in Health costs maybe they should cancel the shameful MGuinty health tax. And please Minister, what are the environmental costs?

Sommer
Reply

Pity the sincere representatives of the people who are honestly trying to protect their constituents. They deserve credit.
What on earth will it take to get through to this government?

JoeJoe
Reply

“…shameful Mc Guinty health tax.” As compared to the attack on our health care under the previous government? Remember hospital closings? Put more money into health care because it is needed. And that money comes from one source, taxpayers.

Notinduttondunwich
Reply

Keep telling you guys in CK to draw 10000 Litres of that sh!twater and take it to queens park in Taranta!!!… ask if the honourable Mr.Ballard or her majesty Premier Kathleen Wynne to drink a 500 ml bottle!!! Again such a ludicrous statement that wind power plants are a necessity!!!

Barbara
Reply

Will credit cards be accepted if the prepays run out?

Notinduttondunwich
Reply

Wont be neccesary Barbara…. hydro one states that they will not disconect the customer if the credits run out…

Barbara
Reply

EIA: New York State Energy Profile

Scroll down to:

Analysis / Overview, updated July 21, 2017

“More than half New York’s energy is supplied from other states and Canada.”

Renewable Energy

“About four-fiths of net renewable generation in New York comes from hydroelectricity …”

https://www.eia.gov/state/print.php?sid=NY

Barbara
Reply

MIT CEEPR, May 10, 2016

Re: Emissions trading and carbon market linkage in Canada and the U.S.

‘Emissions Trading in North America and Beyond’

Ontario mentioned in this news article.

http://ceepr.mit.edu/news/67

Barbara
Reply

Clean Energy and Mission Innovation, June 1-2, San Francisco, CA

Mission Innovation
Accelerating the Clean energy Revolution

Mission Innovation: Announced November 30, 2015, Paris

Member Participation: Click on a country on the map for more information.

Includes Canada.

http://www.mission-innovation.net

Barbara

UNFCCC

Re: ‘Carbon Pricing Leadership Coalition’, 2014

Note: Other organizations information related to the CPLC.

http:/newsroom.unfccc.int/lpaa/business/united-nations-global-compact-business-leadership-criteria-on-carbon-pricing

Barbara

Carbon pricing and related issues and organizations information are all over the internet and known world-wide.

Barbara

MIT CEEPR

‘Multilateral Linkage of Emissions Trading Systems’, 5 May 2016

References p.21: Provides emissions trading information links to other organizations.

http://ceepr.mit.edu/files/papers/16-009.pdf

Barbara
Reply

MIT CEEPR, May 10, 2016

Conference

‘Emissions Trading in North America and Beyond’

Includes sponsorship and participants at:
http://ceepr.mit.edu/news/67

Barbara
Reply

UN IPCC / (SRREN), Published January 2012

By Chapter

‘Special Report on Renewable Energy Sources and Climate Change Mitigation (SRREN)’

Has chapter on wind and/or select any chapter.

http://www.ipcc.ch/report/srren

Barbara

IPCC

‘Climate Change 2014: Mitigation of Climate Change’

By chapter

Chapter 7: “Energy Systems”

http://www.ipcc.ch/report/ar5/wg3

Notinduttondunwich
Reply

http://Www.gridwatch.ca

Under wind or power plants

22 of the wind power plant projects in Ontario are currently running at or exceeding nameplate capacity…

Use this as evidence to prove MOECC and the government is failing to protect the citizens of Ontario…..

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