Mauro Seeks Clairification from New Ministers on Wind Farm

Bill Mauro MPPTHUNDER BAY – Leader’s Ledger – Thunder Bay Atikokan MPP Bill Mauro has written to the new Minister of Natural Resources, and Ontario’s new Minister of the Environment.

Honourable Jim Bradley
Minister of the Environment
11th Floor, 77 Wellesley St. West Toronto, Ontario M7A 2T5

Honourable Michael Gravelle
Minister of Natural Resources
Room 6630, 6th Floor, Whitney Block Toronto, Ontario M7A 1W3

Dear Ministers,

I am writing to you both regarding the wind turbine project proposed by Horizon Wind in my riding of Thunder Bay Atikokan.

On August 26th, 2011,1 met with then Minister of Natural Resources, Linda Jeffrey, regarding this application and the requirement for the Company to receive a permit approval under the Endangered Species Act.

The Company at that time did not have an application in to the Ministry of the Environment for us to respond to.

However, the Minister, based on her knowledge of the project from a previous application that had been returned to the Company, provided me with a very strongly worded letter that clearly indicated that it would be highly unlikely that she would be able to provide a permit to this Company for this project to move forward based on concerns with the Endangered Species Act, (copy of letter enclosed). This letter is consistent with information that had been provided to the Company by the local Ministry of Natural Resources in Thunder Bay back in February of 2011.

I have been advised that the Company has again submitted an application to the Ministry of the Environment. It is my hope that we will move quickly to deny this application and advise the applicant of our decision. This decision would be consistent with the information offered to the Company in February 2011 and supported by the Minister’s letter in August of this year.

This project has been the source of significant concern in my riding for several years and a timely response would be greatly appreciated.

Sincerely,

Bill Mauro MPP

Here is a copy of the letter from Minister Jeffery to Bill Mauro:

Dear Mr Mauro:

Thank you for taking the time to meet with me in Toronto on Friday, August 26. I appreciate your taking the time once again to share your perspective concerning the proposed Big Thunder wind project, and my Ministry’s involvement in that project. I just wanted to confirm in writing the content of our conversation.

As I mentioned to you, Horizon Wind Inc., the project proponent, has met with my office previously and was told that they would need to work with MNR officials to address any species at risk concerns. Since that meeting, I understand Horizon has met with our Thunder Bay district office to discuss issues related to Peregrine Falcons. Our district office formally advised Horizon on February 8, 2011 that the construction and operation of the Big Thunder Wind Farm is likely to harm, harass or kill peregrine falcon. As you know, the Endangered Species Act prohibits the harm, harassment or killing of endangered species, including peregrine falcon. Under the Act, the Minister may issue a permit to authorize an activity that would otherwise be prohibited, provided certain conditions are met. I understand that Horizon has had preliminary discussions with the Thunder Bay district about applying for such an authorization.

I would like to confirm that my Ministry has not received a permit application from Horizon. Furthermore, based on the material provided to me by the Ministry as well as my knowledge of the project and project location, I don’t know how the proponent could satisfy the conditions to allow my Ministry to issue a permit to allow the project to proceed. I have serious concerns about the effect the proposed project could potentially have on the recovery of Peregrine Falcons in Ontario. I am not prepared to issue a permit at this time, nor do I understand how a permit could be issued for this site. Based on my knowledge of the proposed project, it appears to me that this site is not appropriate for the type of development currently proposed by Horizon.

Sincerely,

Linda Jeffrey