Studies, appeals renew call for wind moratorium

By MPP Toby Barrett

Two significant announcements mean an industrial wind-power moratorium is required now more than ever.

Last week’s Health Canada decision to examine and report on health impacts from wind turbines coincided with the Environmental Review Tribunal’s (ERT) decision to schedule hearings for six separate appeals of the Haldimand-Samsung wind/solar project.

Given the potential findings and decisions coming out of these announcements, I feel it vital we renew our call for a moratorium on the construction of industrial wind turbines. We need only look at the electioneering Mississauga gas plant cancellation price tag – $190 million is just the start – to understand the cost of Mr. McGuinty’s manipulation of Ontario’s energy system. Apparently, as Finance Minister Dwight Duncan later admitted during Committee hearings, government is willing to accept “NIMBYism” in Etobicoke and Mississauga, but when the voice of rural Ontario is raised, government turns a deaf ear,

The Health Canada study is in response to questions from residents living near wind farms about possible health effects of low frequency noise generated by turbines. The study is designed with external expertise in noise, health assessment, clinical medicine and epidemiology.

While our calls for a moratorium were tossed aside in the past by a government dedicated to building wind towers, the Health Canada study allows science to prevail over ideology. On numerous occasions my caucus colleagues and I have called on government to at least pause before charging headlong into allowing green energy companies carte blanche.

Both Haldimand and Norfolk are among the 80 municipal councils, representing two million Ontarians, to have called on the government to put in place a full moratorium on industrial wind development.

Meantime, despite government’s Green Energy Act regulations limiting input and greasing the passage for renewables, locally, the news of six separate appeals of the Samsung wind/solar project has effectively slammed on the brakes in Haldimand.

While I have documented the many twists and turns of the costly secret Samsung deal, the ERT window sets up a David versus Goliath scenario in which local citizens now have a final opportunity to attempt to halt the giant turbines.

The ERT announced, “a Preliminary Hearing will be conducted by the Hearing Panel on Thursday, August 9, 2012 at 10am in the Council Chambers, Cayuga Administration Building. The purpose of the preliminary hearing will be to rule on requests from groups and individuals for party, participant or presenter status, to identify the issues to be considered at the main hearing….”

Anyone wishing to participate in the hearings as a “party”, a ‘participant’, or a “presenter” must provide their request in writing to the Case Coordinator, Tracee Wessam by August 3, 2012. Requestors must indicate the status they are seeking; their interest in the proceeding; a statement of the issues, facts and submissions relevant to the appeal that they wish to present.

Those interested are asked to write: Tracee Wessam, Case Coordinator, Environmental Review Tribunal, 655 Bay St., Suite 1500, Toronto, ON, M5G 1E5 or [email protected].

The ERT notes the main hearing of evidence, “will commence on Monday, September 10 at 10am at the Cayuga Kinsmen Centre.”

Since the Samsung deal was first announced, my staff and I have fielded hundreds of calls, emails, and letters from those concerned about the impact and lack of input – I encourage all to take advantage of this opportunity.