TORONTO – Environment – The Ontario Government is seeking to overturn itself in a court hearing that starts today in Toronto. Ontario. Wind Concerns Ontario states, “The rare and endangered Blanding’s turtle had a good day last July—the Environmental Review Tribunal revoked the Ontario government’s decision to allow a wind turbine project at Ostrander Point in Prince Edward County on the grounds that the project would cause ‘serious and irreversible harm’ to the endangered turtles native to the area”.
Ministry of Environment Appeals Own Decision
“Now, the Ontario government’s Ministry of the Environment is appealing the decision by its own quasi-judicial Tribunal, seeking to overturn the decision and allow the wind power project to proceed, despite the objections of community and naturalist groups,” states Jane Wilson, President of Wind Concerns Ontario (WCO). “Beginning January 21, lawyers representing the Prince Edward County Field Naturalists (PECFN) and the South Shore Conservancy will be defending the ERT decision in the Ontario Superior Court of Justice in Toronto”.
The wind power developer, Toronto-based Gilead Power, supported by the wind power industry lobby group, the Canadian Wind Energy Association, will be arguing to overturn the decision to protect the turtles.
Wind Group Spending Hundreds of Thousands
“It is absolutely astounding to us that ordinary citizens have to go to court and spend hundreds of thousands on legal fees to protect the environment and Ontario’s wildlife against the government department that is supposed to be doing that,” added Wilson. “To make matters worse, we are fighting the government that is using our own tax dollars against us—it just isn’t right.”
Wind Concerns Ontario was a participant in the original proceeding.
“The Ontario government’s Green Energy Act has allowed developers to invade important natural habitat,” says Cheryl Anderson with the Naturalists’ group. “Ostrander Point was set aside as ‘Crown Land’ is in the centre of an Important Bird and Biodiversity Area that supports millions of migrating birds, bats and Monarch butterflies and Species at Risk, reptiles, plants and birds as well as areas of globally imperiled alvar landscape. It is not appropriate for wind turbines and their access roads.”
The Alliance to Protect Prince Edward County will also be making a presentation on the potential health impacts from the environmental noise produced by the giant wind turbines.
The Ministry of the Environment is promoting its approval of the Ostrander Point wind power project in spite of the fact that Energy Minister Bob Chiarelli has admitted Ontario has a surplus of power and is actually exporting power at a loss, while paying wind power companies not to produce power. Wilson said, “Ontario citizens don’t need another expensive wind turbine project, and certainly not one in a fragile environment such as this.”
The appeal will be held at Osgoode Hall in Toronto beginning at 10 a.m. Tuesday January 21st.