aviation safety, Collingwood airport, ERT, Ontario Ministry of the Environment, wind farm appeal, wind farms, Wynne government
In January 2014, John Terry, the lawyer for the well-funded wind power development lobbyist the Canadian Wind Energy Association (CanWEA) told the panel of judges in an Ontario court at the appeal of a decision at Ostrander Point, that their decision was very important for the future of wind power development in Ontario because, he said, “This [a successful appeal] was never supposed to happen.”
One might think that he meant the approval process was so rigorous that wind power projects should pose no danger to the environment or to people and that’s why “this,” the successful Ostrander appeal shouldn’t have happened. But no, what he meant was, the rules and procedures attached to wind power development were supposed to be so iron-clad that mere citizens acting on behalf of the environment, wildlife and their own health, could have no hope of success. Lawyers acting for appellants have said, the test set up by Regulation 359-09 to prove serious harm to human health and serious and irreversible harm to wildlife was impossible to meet.
Except, now, that test has been met.
The successful appeals at Ostrander Point, White Pines, Settlers Landing and yesterday, Clearview, show that when proper attention is paid to the requirements to preserve the environment and actually balance development against potential harm, the wind power developments can be demonstrated to be in the complete wrong place.
But the wind power development industry, coached and encouraged by their huge lobbyist and the very compliant Ontario government, felt entitled to propose wind power projects wherever they found willing landowners. Such was the case at Clearview where the eight, 500-foot turbines were to be located near not one, but two aerodromes, the Collingwood Regional Airport and a private airstrip. WPD Canada felt so entitled to success and money that it believed it could locate huge turbines even where pilots’ safety would be in danger and where wildlife would almost certainly be killed.
The Environmental Review Tribunal decision was released Friday, October 7: yes, there would be serious harm to human health because of the risk to aviation safety and yes, there would be serious and irreversible harm to the endangered Little Brown Bat.
Paragraphs [149-151] are interesting: the appellants’ expert witness arguments were “informed and reasoned” the panel wrote, finding they had established “the evidentiary base to support their qualitative assessments.”
Although a remedy hearing is possible, the Tribunal expressed doubts as to the effectiveness of any measures proposed.
The Tribunal used very strong language in places in the decision, saying “it would be trite to say …” or “it is obvious …” and they noted the federal Ministry of Transport’s carefully crafted opinion letter on aviation safety at the airport.
The people of Ontario have despaired at times as wind power projects have been put in fragile environments, too close to people’s homes and workplaces, without any real demonstration of environmental benefit. Millions have been spent by ordinary citizens as they took on corporate Big Wind to defend—what? The environment against their own Ministry of the Environment.
One lawyer for the Ministry has often been heard to say “wind trumps everything.” She is wrong, as this latest decision demonstrates.
Actions taken in the name of preserving the environment must really do that, and not rely on ideology-based trite statements for justification. Ontario has still never done a cost-benefit analysis on its wind power program even though clearly, wind power has a high impact on the natural environment, on communities, and on the economy, without actual demonstrated benefits.
Clearview was a victory for all Ontario, and the environment.
Wind Concerns Ontario
Cheryl Gallant, MP said:
By Cheryl Gallant, Member of Parliament for Renfrew-Nipissing-Pembroke October 2016
Energy Poverty Means Pre-Paying
This should be no surprise to who are familiar with the close political party relationship between Ottawa and Toronto.
Federal Agency Measurement Canada is preparing to finalize approval for “pre-pay” hydro meters. This was only a matter of time since the province installed so-called “smart meters” in people’s homes.
The announcement by the Federal Government that the designation of “provisional” specification to a “full” specification follows a public mandate letter recently sent by the Toronto Liberal leader to her Minister of Finance bragging about the Ontario Electricity Support Program (OESP) being part of the federal budget.
What I predicted before the last election is now happening. I predicted that all Canadian taxpayers would end up with part of the bill for Ontario Liberals’ policy disasters. It was predictable because the same policy advisers in Queen’s Park, who wrote the “Greed” Energy Act and fled Toronto, are now hiding in Ottawa as the most senior advisers of the federal Liberal Party. The cozy relationship between the Prime Minister and the Ontario premier is bad for all taxpayers, just as I warned Canadians before the last election.
Pre-payment meters were given provisional approval before the liberal “Greed” Energy and Employment Act had raised electricity prices. Hydro One had not been sold, nor had the “smart meter” electricity scandal cost electricity consumers over a billion dollars. On the basis of no comments or requests from the public or industry back then, the federal government has assumed “implied consent,” which in their way of thinking gives approval to move full speed ahead.
To picture a pre-payment electricity meter, just think of a parking meter that you load with money in order to park a vehicle. These are popular in third-world countries, particularly where poor people have no access to credit. They enable the power utilities to deny access to a basic necessity without actually having to pull the plug if customers have trouble with bills. It forces the poor household to self-disconnect.
Energy poverty, defined as households that spend more than 10 percent of their income on home energy, affects about one million households in Canada. In Ontario, the lowest income group spends on average 12 or more percent of their income on utilities, while the average Ontarian spends only 4 per cent.
Energy poverty is prevalent among certain types of households, including those with single residents, seniors, children or young adults, renters, and those with a female primary bill-payer. Low-income families and individuals are being forced to choose between heating their homes, buying groceries or paying the rent as the result of increasing utility prices. For many, it is literally a choice between eating and heating.
The vast majority of Canada’s seniors (as well as low-income families) live in older houses, with inadequate insulation in attics, walls and basements. For young families just starting out, while these houses may offer cheaper than-average rent or require lower down payments than more efficient homes, their upkeep is costlier, particularly when forced to use electric heat in Ontario.
Climate change policies raise energy costs. As a rule of thumb, the more the increase in fuel poverty, the greater the rhetoric about “climate change”. Canada had been following a smart policy to lower emissions. With the change in Ottawa and no one to moderate the extremists in Toronto, energy poverty is the new norm.
Canadians still have an opportunity to withhold their “implied consent” to poverty meters. While the federal government has set a January 1st 2017 implementation date for its new policy, you are invited to provide me your thoughts on pre-payment electricity meters. Remember, ‘no comment’ is considered by this government to be a “yes.” The federal government deadline for submissions is October 30, 2016.
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