ERT wind farm testimony: Environment officials not doing their job
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.
2. Agatha Garcia-Wright, Director, Renewable Energy Approvals, agatha.garcia-
3. Copy: Andre Marin, Ombudsman for Ontario firstname.lastname@example.org
4. Copy: Gord Miller, Environmental Commissioner for Ontario email@example.com