Tag Archive | APPEC

Kafkaesque: Opposing an industrial wind turbine project in Ontario

2X0V6067-2

(Scroll down for updates)

Take a look at what happens when Ontarians try to oppose an industrial wind turbine project.

Laws, regulations, and processes seem to have eliminated every conceivable obstacle for the mad rush of the (economically useless, environmentally destructive) wind industrialization of rural Ontario. At the same time they effectively, undemocratically block wind project opponents at every turn. The Ontario Green Energy Act (GEA) and its quasi-judicial complaints department, the Environmental Review Tribunal (ERT) pitch opponents headlong into a Kafkaesque nightmare.

An example:

  1. The government gives the Proponent permission to undertake an industrial wind turbine construction project, which includes granting a special environmental permit that allows the Proponent to kill, harm, and harass a Victim or two.
  2. Locals launch an appeal on the grounds that the project would, amongst other troublesome consequences, cause serious and irreversible harm to the Victims.
  3. The appeal is heard by a Tribunal, which issues a very rare decision favouring the Victims, finding that the Proponent’s project will indeed cause serious and irreversible harm to two classes of Victims.
  4. The Tribunal orders a further hearing to consider the Proponent’s proposed mitigations of this serious and irreversible harm.
  5. In the meantime, however, the Proponent is legally entitled (and signals the intention) to go ahead and begin the project site pre-construction work, and in the process kill, harm, and harass Victims, without first having to table mitigation plans at the next Tribunal hearing (see 4 above).
  6. Lawyers for the Victims file a motion to have the Tribunal issue a stay of the Proponent’s pre-construction on-site activity associated with the special permit to kill, harm, and harass.
  7. The Tribunal dismisses the Victims’ motion, with reasons for its decision to be given at a later time.
  8. Lawyers for the Victims then appeal to a Divisional Court with a motion for a stay.
  9. The Divisional Court also dismisses the appeal because the Victims’ lawyers, through no fault of their own, are unable to establish specific grounds for said appeal, given that they are in the dark about the reasons for the Tribunal’s dismissal of the motion (see 7 above).
  10. The Victims’ lawyers are entitled to renew their Divisional Court motion (see 8 above), if and when they ever receive the reasons for the Tribunal’s dismissal decision (see 7 above).
  11. Meanwhile, the circle is complete, with the Proponent apparently free to go ahead and kill, harm, and harass the Victims, even though there is to be a future Tribunal hearing (see 4 above) at which the Proponent is supposed to make proposals for mitigating the killing, harming, and harassing that probably will already have taken place by then.

That is the saga thus far with respect to the battle between the Alliance to Protect Prince Edward County and the wind energy company wpd Canada Corporation.

The ERT appears to be nothing more than a Kafkaesque-Potemkin-kangaroo-emperor-with-no-clothes court.

The GEA and its companion, the ERT have allowed wind energy companies, eager to cash in on the Ontario Liberal government’s 20-year-guaranteed, above-market returns, to ride roughshod over democratic rights of people and municipalities. The kleptocratic subsidy scheme is footed by the taxpayers, and consumers’ electricity charges triple as a result.

Wind project opponents are spending inordinate amounts of time and money to fight a losing battle, the contest rigged from the start. For wind project opponents, the ERT appears to be nothing more than a Kafkaesque-Potemkin-kangaroo-emperor-with-no-clothes court.

The ERT gives people the illusion of offering democratic equality and justice before the law. In reality, it forces them to accept the industrialization of rural Ontario against their will, while depleting their wallets and spirit.

What’s at play here is just one aspect of the insidious implementation of the UN’s one-world-government Agenda 21, a blueprint for an anti-prosperity, anti-democratic sustainable development and wealth transfer movement. It uses the cudgel of the massive scientific deception of manmade climate change to clobber and guilt people into phony-green-energy submission. It has them running in circles, looking in vain for democracy and laws to protect their rights.

UPDATES

APRIL 4, 2016 – Wind developer wpd Canada Corporation indeed started clearing trees in preparation for wind turbine construction, despite the fact that the entire project was under appeal.

This work began in areas known to be habitat for the endangered Blandings Turtle; the power developer is continuing even though there are reports that milder weather has resulted in the turtles emerging early from their winter hibernation, and are at great risk.

SSHore-3

Vegetation cleared in Prince Edward County Blanding’s Turtle wetland area, while the White Pines project was and still is under appeal. [Photo: APPEC]

APRIL 6, 2016 – A hearing on a motion for a stay in the Court of Appeal for Ontario did not quite go as planned. As is the case in any ERT or court proceedings brought on by wind project opponents, the Ontario Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change deployed its lawyers to fight on behalf of the wind developer, in opposition to the people, who not only must pay their own lawyers, but, as taxpayers, also foot the bill for the Ministry’s lawyers!

…Sylvia Davis, lawyer for the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change, cited a ruling from over fifty years ago that only a panel of three judges could hear an appeal of this nature. 

It became clear at that point that the motion would not be heard until after the legal matter of whether this was properly before the court had been dealt with, with a potentially unfavourable decision. 

Rather than spend considerable time and money on legal wrangling the decision was made to withdraw our motion for a stay on all physical activity at the White Pines project site.  The motion was withdrawn on consent of all parties and without costs.

We will immediately be going to the Tribunal to once again request a stay.

APRIL 8, 2016 – And then, mirabile dictu, the ERT granted a temporary stay!

Late this afternoon the Environmental Review Tribunal granted a temporary stay of WPD’s Renewable Energy Approval (REA).  As a result of the stay all construction work at the project site has been brought to a halt.  The Tribunal will schedule a written hearing at a later date to decide on the merits of a more permanent stay.

Human health denied

IMG_2863Human health was given short shrift in the recent Environmental Review Tribunal (ERT) hearing that saw Blanding’s Turtle singlehandedly win the day and save Ostrander Point on Prince Edward County from being turned into the industrial wind factory that had been approved by the Ontario Ministry of the Environment.

The Prince Edward County Field Naturalists advocated successfully for the turtle, but their arguments that birds, bats, Monarch butterflies, and alvars, “naturally open areas of thin soil over flat limestone or marble rock” would also suffer “serious and irreversible harm”, the legal test demanded by the Tribunal, were rejected.

And the Alliance to Protect Prince Edward County (APPEC) did not succeed in making its case for protecting human health, failing to sway the ERT that the approved wind factory project would cause serious harm to people’s health.

In a July 4, 2013 news release, APPEC said it was “baffled by the ERT’s decision on human health.”  APPEC went on to suggest that the ERT process was “fundamentally flawed.” In order to succeed, APPEC would have had to provide scientific evidence to the ERT that human health was going to be harmed through “direct effects (i.e., audible noise) or indirect effects (i.e., infrasound, low frequency sound, severe annoyance, or by some other mechanism)” caused by the proposed wind factory in question when it was being operated in accordance with the Renewable Energy Approval (REA). APPEC rightly complains that “citizens are required to undertake acoustical and epidemiological research” in order to have any success in making their case to the ERT.

The Ontario government and wind power proponents don’t bother themselves with any such scientific rigour. The REA’s 550-metre residential setback appears to be an arbitrary distance without any scientific basis. Furthermore, the Ministry of Health has conducted no studies on the health effects of industrial wind turbines. This does not stop Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health from asserting that the “weight of the evidence does not support any direct health effects associated with wind turbines if they are appropriately placed, and that is with a minimum of a 550-metre set-back.” But even that paltry set-back concession to protecting human health is routinely nullified by wind companies in the agreements they present to Ontario landowners.

The ERT heard, and acknowledged in its decision, information given by Dr. Cornelia Baines about a University of Auckland study that purports to show that adverse health effects from wind turbines are due to suggestibility. This questionable study has been hauled out ad nauseam, including by David Suzuki, to bolster the notion that adverse health effects of wind turbines are all in the head. The researchers conclude that “psychological expectations could explain the link between wind turbine exposure and health complaints”, when really all their study does is confirm that there is such a thing as suggestibility, period.

The lead author of the study, doctoral candidate Fiona Crichton, states in her abstract that 54 (or 60, depending on which of her reports you want to believe) participants were involved in a “sham-controlled double-blind provocation study” where they were presented with information “designed to invoke either high or low expectations that exposure to infrasound causes specified symptoms.” Lo and behold, the high-expectation group reported more symptomatic changes than the low-expectation group. In this study, which is completely useless insofar as health effects of wind turbines are concerned, you could substitute the infrasound with any non-wind turbine sound and posit high-expectation symptoms of your choice to the subjects and get the same result – a demonstration of suggestibility.

If there is any invocation-of-high-expectations-leading-to-false-beliefs going on, it’s the wind power lobby that has the McGuinty/Wynne government convinced that wind energy is useful, reliable, harmless, economically feasible, environmentally attractive, green, when it really isn’t any of that.