Serious and irreversible harm
We know that wind energy is economically ruinous, a faux-green shell game that has no benefit whatsoever, except for the wind companies and their political enablers. And yet the only thing that was able to stop nine useless industrial wind turbines from invading an environmental and tourist treasure in Ontario was—a little reptile.
Thanks to evidence that “serious and irreversible harm” would befall Blanding’s turtle, a globally endangered species that is threatened in Ontario, on July 3, 2013 the Environmental Review Tribunal revoked the approval for a wind factory at Ostrander Point in Prince Edward County that had been issued by the Ministry of the Environment in December 2012.
It was the danger to the turtle and its habitat alone, not the distinct prospect of turbine-slaughter of other animals such as birds and bats, not the likelihood of turbine-construction related destruction of plant life, not the probability of turbine-syndrome harm to human health, not the insult of a useless project allowed to squat on the people’s Crown land (it is “the policy of the Ontario government to promote the use of Crown land for renewable energy projects”), not the shock of turbines licensed to impale a designated Important Bird Area (explicitly permitted by the government) that swayed the Tribunal in this case. Only the turtle’s predicament met the very rigorous legal test of “serious and irreversible harm”, and thus the threatened reptile managed to protect all the other potential wind turbine victims as well.
The Ostrander Point outcome is welcome news for “anti-wind” warriors, but not every appeal to the Tribunal will have a handy endangered or threatened turtle to help out. The harsh reality is that it is very difficult to meet “the statutory onus” of proof of harm. But the damage is all too real and proven for the scientists who study the adverse effects of wind turbines on birds, bats and the environment and for the people who have had to move out of their homes because nearby wind turbines have made them too ill to stay.
The Tribunal’s decision (see Alliance to Protect Prince Edward County, 03 Jul 2013) is recommended reading for anyone interested in how tortuous a path anti-wind turbine advocates must tread, even when the Ontario government’s wind power scheme has been thoroughly discredited as a scam and very costly sham.