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Turbine setback ruling to be appealed  

Credit:  By WES KELLER Freelance Reporter, Orangeville Citizen, www.citizen.on.ca 24 March 2011 ~~

Ian Hanna, who is asking the Ontario Court of Appeal to review a Divisional Court ruling on the 550-metre wind turbine setback prescribed by the Green Energy Act, says he is in no personal danger of having a wind farm nearby as he is in an area prohibited for such by the Department of National Defence.

The three-judge Superior Court panel headed by Chief Justice Douglas Cunningham ruled only that the minister of environment had followed proper procedures in setting the setbacks.

It indicated, essentially, that the issue of setbacks might properly be addressed by the Environmental Review Tribunal with respect to specific proposals.

“It is not the court’s function to question the wisdom of the minister’s decision, or even whether it was reasonable. If the minister followed the (proper process, including the precautionary principle) his decision is unassailable on a judicial review application,” the panel said in its ruling.

Mr. Hanna’s fight against the turbines didn’t begin as a matter of public interest, however. At the outset, there had been a plan proposed for the area but it disappeared over DND concerns for its aerodrome at Mountain View, used in the training of pilots for the military transport planes.

“What didn’t disappear was my grave concern (for those who had reported adverse health effects from the turbines.” He said he knows some of those, including a few in the Dufferin area, “and I couldn’t abandon those (persons) by dropping the case.”

Mr. Hanna said at least 135 persons have reported adverse effects in Ontario. He guessed there are likely more suffering but who haven’t reported, possibly including persons with turbines on their properties “and a gag order in the lease.” He said there must be thousands of such throughout the world.

The legal challenge of the Green Energy Act’s setback is based on a belief that the minister of environment did not satisfy a precautionary principle by obtaining sufficient scientific evidence of safety before establishing a standard setback.

Asked about the conflict between the conclusions reached by the expert panel sponsored by the American and Canadian wind energy associations (AWEA and CanWEA) and those of specialists cited by opponents, Mr. Hanna suggested the WEA panel hadn’t done a proper study, as it had simply reviewed the literature.

Wind Concerns Ontario is quoting lawyer Eric Gillespie, who represents Mr. Hanna, as saying the decision to seek leave to appeal is based on a fundamental concern. “The standard of proof and adequacy of evidence submitted by the Minister of the Environment is the issue.”

It isn’t known when the Court of Appeal will make its decision.

Source:  By WES KELLER Freelance Reporter, Orangeville Citizen, www.citizen.on.ca 24 March 2011

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

The copyright of this article resides with the author or publisher indicated. As part of its noncommercial effort to present the environmental, social, scientific, and economic issues of large-scale wind power development to a global audience seeking such information, National Wind Watch endeavors to observe “fair use” as provided for in section 107 of U.S. Copyright Law and similar “fair dealing” provisions of the copyright laws of other nations. Send requests to excerpt, general inquiries, and comments via e-mail.

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