Ontario Environment Minister served with summons on violation of the Environmental Protection Act

“We had no choice” : Wind Concerns Ontario on taking legal action regarding wind turbine noise reports

NEWS RELEASE

Citizens’ group charges Environment Minister with violation of Environmental Protection Act

May 1, 2018, Toronto, 10:00 EDT – The president of Wind Concerns Ontario (WCO), a volunteer-led coalition of 30 community groups and many Ontario families, has filed a private prosecution against the Honourable Chris Ballard, Minister of the Environment and Climate Change (MOECC), for violating Ontario’s Environmental Protection Act (EPA).

Private prosecutions are important tools in empowering private citizens to hold those persons in power to account.

The EPA prohibits anyone from permitting the “discharge of a contaminant into the natural environment, if the discharge causes or may cause an adverse effect.” Adverse effects listed in the EPA include “an adverse effect on the health of any person,” “harm or material discomfort to any person” and “loss of enjoyment of normal use of property.” (Section 14 subsections 1 and 2)

“We don’t take this step lightly,” says Jane Wilson, WCO President and a Registered Nurse, “but with the MOECC not responding to thousands of reports of excessive noise from wind turbines, which is affecting sleep and health for Ontario families, we had no choice. These are examples of adverse effects that Minister Ballard should not be permitting to continue.”

WCO recently received MOECC documents under a Freedom of Information request that showed thousands of unresolved reports of noise, many with staff notes about sleep disturbance and health impacts. Between 2006 and 2016, there were more than 4,500 recorded reports, 35% of which contained staff notes about adverse health effects; between 2015-2016, the MOECC response rate to the reports of excessive noise was less than 7%.

“Citizens report going without sleep for days, weeks, even months,” said Wilson. “Sleep disturbance is linked to other health problems such as high blood pressure and diabetes. Mr. Ballard, as steward of environmental protection in Ontario, is responsible for allowing this environmental noise pollution to continue.”

On April 30, 2018, Mr. Ballard was served with a summons to appear before the court on May 17, 2018.

CONTACT: Jane Wilson  president@windconcernsontario.ca

www.windconcernsontario.ca

 

Excerpts from Ontario resident wind turbine noise reports:

“You have done nothing to help myself or my family. How many times [do we have to complain] before the MOECC will do something?”

“Another week has passed with no response from you. It has been terrible here off and on the past week …continue to be unable to get a good night’s sleep.”

“When will you reopen our file and help us?”

“We just want to sleep…”

“After a week of east wind and no sleep in our house this has become intolerable … it is up to you to address this”

 

Read Wind Concerns Ontario’s reports on the MOECC pollution Incident Reports here.

The 2017 report on noise complaints 2006-2014 NoiseResponseReport-FINAL-May1

The 2018 report on noise complaints 2015-2016 Second Report Noise Complaints February 2018-FINAL

 

Legal foundation for a private prosecution

Ontario Private Prosecution

 

#MOECC

Comments

[…] It has finally happened! Using a “private prosecution,” Wind Concerns Ontario has served the Honourable Chris Ballard, Minister of MOECC with a summons for violating the EPA (Environment Protection Act). The issue is related to the lack of proper follow-up on the thousands of noise complaints filed by individuals throughout the province in locations where industrial wind turbines have been erected. The complaints date back to 2006 and have continued without any significant attention from the Ministry and have even caused families to abandon their homes in order to seek relief from the noise effects. Mr Ballard has been Environment Minister since August 2017, and complaints have continued, without resolution. Read the press release on Wind Concerns website here: http://www.windconcernsontario.ca/ontario-environment-minister-served-with-summons-on-violation-of-t… […]

Sommer
Reply

This is excellent news!
For people for whom low frequency noise modulations and infrasound radiation are waking them up and causing a list of symptoms directly connected to the functioning of turbines that are close to or in some cases surrounding their homes(clusters), there needs to be legal action taken and directed to the Federal Minster of Health for refusing to enforce the Radiation Emitting Devices Act (REDA).
This is a great start!

Mike Jankowski
Reply

The is GREAT news! The MoE has more than failed to protect people – it has continued to fail despite thousands of reports of problems, so now they must be held to account. In fact, they have not even inquired into any of my families’ problem reports.

I believe this will be successful in finding the MoE failing to comply with its own policy. My family and I do not make the decision to support this lightly – but believe it is well warranted and greatly needs to be done. Next, we must look to see if following the act is sufficient to protect people from harm.

Thanks WCO.

Cathy
Reply

Bravo! Finally they will be held to account!

Stan Thayer
Reply

Great.
Now, they should give us back the salaries they took and their pensions should be divided up to the families that they allowed to be harmed.
They were deliberately incompetent and knew what trouble their inactions were creating.
Good luck and thank you everyone.
Stan

Richard Mann
Reply

Thanks for your efforts. However, will the Minister appear? I fully expect him to not show up, just like Dr Arlene King did not show up to court in the past. Also, what happens when the government changes? Can the minister still be held responsible as a private citizen?

Sommer
Reply

Excellent questions!

Wind Concerns Ontario
Reply

That was a completely different matter and circumstance so does not bear mention. In that case, Dr King was to be called as a witness, and she was able to decline under some privilege. In this case, Mr Ballard has been summonsed directly with regard to a charge of violating the Environmental Protection Act. He is requested to appear in the Ontario Provincial Offences Court

Notinduttondunwich
Reply

“Failure to appear” constitutes a bench warrant for arrest….. should issued by the presiding judge…. not an option of “not to appear” when served with an Ontario court affidavit…. sure would be interesting if the honourable Mr. Ballard did not appear as resquested by the courts….

Wind Concerns Ontario
Reply

Let’s not get ahead of ourselves. To the best of our knowledge, Mr Ballard has to appear in person, but we will see.

Joanne Levesque
Reply

From court submissions filed by Town Counsel – out of Plymouth Superior Court, Massachusetts, USA:
Plymouth Superior Court C.A No. 15-1199-B: Kingston Board of Health & Town Opposition to the Plaintiff, Kingston Wind Independence, LLC’s Motion for Judgement on the Pleadings —– EXCERPT::
“Based on the HMMH (acoustic) Report, the information gleaned during subsequent communications, and evidence submitted at the public hearing, the Board (of health) found that KWI’s turbine produced noise in excess of the Commonwealth’s Regulations, Standards and Policies. The Board further found that such noise impacts constituted a nuisance that poses a threat to the health, safety and welfare of nearby residents…..”

Stan Thayer
Reply

So we spend more of our after tax dollars to fight our elected officials. Queens Park is like a schoolyard bully.
Kathleen Wynne is telling everyone, it is my glove, it is my ball, it is my bat, we will play by my rules.
Liberal lawlessness, gotaluvit it!
Stan

Sommer
Reply

Delay tactics are well known tactics.
Is it any surprise that this case was delayed until after the election?

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