An Otago environmental group has launched eleventh hour legal action against two massive wind farm proposals, just days before an Environment Court appeal against one of them starts.
Dunedin-based Upland Landscape Protection Society filed a judicial review with the Dunedin High Court on Wednesday saying the decisions by three councils to publicly notify TrustPower’s Mahinerangi wind farm and state power company Meridian’s Project Hayes were flawed.
The society says the Otago Regional and Central Otago and Clutha District councils failed in their statutory obligation to have adequate or sufficient information about the proposals before public notification.
Society member Ewan Carr, who co-ordinates the group’s legal action, said the electricity companies deliberately deceived the public by not providing images that would show what the wind farms would look like.
The Mahinerangi project was approved in September and Project Hayes was granted consents in October. Both decisions were appealed.
Environment Court appeals against the Mahinerangi wind farm, by the society and Contact Energy, will start on Monday, although the society will seek an adjournment while the High Court action is pursued.
TrustPower spokesman Graeme Purchas told The Press last night the society had no credibility and the company would argue against an adjournment.
The society had missed its deadline a month ago to exchange evidence and by last Friday, when TrustPower’s rebuttal had to be filed, the power company had not received any evidence from the society.
“The interesting thing is that we are two working days from the start of an Environment Court hearing and this organisation, which has failed to meet every deadline set by the court, suddenly launches a High court action,” he said.
When asked if the society was ready to present evidence on Monday, Carr said: “We’re ready to examine and cross-examine.”
11 April 2008
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