Wind turbines face Charter suit: Ontario Farmer
Three citizen groups have been allowed to appeal wind farm projects in court
France Anderson, Ontario Farmer, July 2014
Three West Coast citizens’ wind groups have gotten leave to jointly appeal wind turbine projects under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
The three Ontario groups—SWEAR (Safe Wind Energy for All Residents), HEAT (Huron East Against Turbines), and HALT (Huron-Kinloss Against Lakeside Turbines)—which oppose wind farms near Goderich, St. Columban and Kincardine respectively, will be able to jointly appeal the projects by the Ontario Ministry of the Environment.*
They will be represented by Falconers LLP, and the appeal to the Divisional Court of Ontario is to be heard November 17, 18 and 19, 2014.
The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms is the government’s promise to every man, woman and child in Canada that they will have security to conduct their affairs and lives in relative peace.
Falconers, which specializes in human rights and constitutional law firm [sic], is arguing that the provincial government did not exercise due diligence with regard to human health when it crafted the Green Energy and Economy Act.
“The government says that massive industrial wind turbine developments are safe. We, the people, are holding them accountable,” explains Dave Hemingway, the president of SWEAR.
“If this Charter challenge is successful, it will set a precedent and will assist all appeals and legal challenges going forward,” says Gerry Ryan, the president of HEAT.
“This action has the potential to shift the burden of proof from the need to prove direct and serious harm to human health to the need to prove the possibility of harm,” which is “a lower and more reasonable threshold,” says Kevin McKee, the president of HALT.
Falconers is also seeking a conjoined stay of proceedings to halt progress of K2, St. Columban and Armow projects until the appeal is heard.
Hemingway said they hope to know the date for the hearing regarding the stay “relatively soon.”
Meanwhile, the commissioning of the Varna Wind LP Farm by NextEra Energy Canada** is underway. This project comprises 37 GE model turbines that stand 80 meters high and support blades 50.5 meters across. The project on private lands was of Highway 21 along the Lake Huron Shoreline, in the Municipalities of Bluewater and Huron East, has 60 MW total capacity.
*Editor’s note: Of course, the projects are approved by the Ministry of the Environment. The developers, however, for the projects are: Capital Power/Samsung/Pattern; Veresen; and Samsung/Pattern, respectively.
**NextEra Canada is not a Canadian company; neither is Samsung, Pattern, and Veresen.
For more information on the Charter challenge and to donate funds, please go to SWEAR’s website.