Is the MOECC interpreting Environmental Tribunal rulings?
A recent letter from the Minister contains troubling language
April 24, 2018
The Ontario Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change (MOECC) recently responded to a citizen of Prince Edward County, who wrote with concerns about German-based power developer WPD’s published construction schedule. The schedule appears to ignore stipulations put in place by the quasi-judicial Environmental Review Tribunal to protect the endangered Blandings Turtle, which is resident in the County, and the area where nine industrial-scale wind turbines are under construction.
The letter said:
“The REA restricts construction and maintenance activities within Blanding’s Turtle habitat to between October 15 and April 30 where possible. If construction and maintenance activities between May 1 and October 14 are unavoidable, the company must ensure additional measures are in place to avoid the Blanding’s Turtle and that its actions do not cause an adverse effect to the natural environment, including the Blanding’s Turtle.
“Construction of the nine turbines began on September 18, 2017. On September 21st and, in reference to the REA, the MOECC requested that construction stop in areas of Blanding’s Turtle habitat until October 15th, unless wpd White Pines Wind Inc. was able to prove the work was unavoidable. Construction continued in areas not identified as Blanding’s Turtle habitat per the REA.
“Construction has proceeded throughout the site as permitted by the REA. The company has proposed a construction schedule that will complete all construction in Blanding’s Turtle habitat between October 15, 2017 and April 30, 2018 with the exception of erecting one turbine which is in Blanding’s Turtle habitat. The proponent has successfully demonstrated to the MOECC that erecting the one turbine is unavoidable.”
Not very clear language from the MOECC, whose job it is to protect the environment, not aid and abet power developers.
On Amherst Island, the same situation is playing out. There, the Environmental Review Tribunal dismissed the appeal of the approval of the “Windlectric” power project brought forward by citizens, but stipulated certain conditions to protect the endangered turtles there. (Never mind the birds, apparently they keep up with this via social media and will avoid the turbines, eventually.)
However, those conditions are being ignored, so the Protect Amherst Island community group has written to the Ministry demanding that their own rules be enforced.
Once again, Ontario citizens are fighting to protect the environment from the Ministry of the Environment.
To write the MOECC use the contact form here: https://www.ontario.ca/feedback/contact-us?id=26985&nid=72714
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