PETAWAWA – Council has taken a stand on the province’s Green Energy Act.
On the heels of Xeneca’s recent Public Information Centre, Petawawa Council voted unanimously at a recent meeting to no longer support the province’s Green Energy Act 2009.
In a move to stand up to the green energy project moving in to town, Councillor Treena Lemay made a motion to inform Premier Dalton McGuinty and the ministry of energy and infrastructure and the minister of the environment and natural resources that Petawawa council does not and will not give any support or sanction any project that seeks or will be seeking ministry approval under the Green Energy Act 2009 and in particular the feed-in-tariff provision.
Coun. Lemay explained to council that George Smitherman, the minster of Energy and Infrastructure at the time, brought in the Green Energy Act 2009 to eliminate ‘social roadblocks’ over the siting of renewable energy infrastructure projects.
She referred to public consultation and objections as the “social roadblocks.”
“The act promoted ‘fast tracking’ of environmental approvals for all electricity infrastructure projects, removed the long-established local planning process and left rural residents without effective noise complaint protocols and municipalities with no voice in their own community development,” explained Coun. Lemay.
She objected to the enormous costs associated with the green energy, referring to the $5 billion price tag to bring wind energy to cities because new transmission lines need to be installed, which will fall onto the taxpayers, not from the profits made by the energy corporations.
Councillor James Carmody applauded his fellow council member for putting the motion and information together.
While he said he is in favour of green energy projects he said he isn’t in favour of implementing them ‘at any cost.’
“This motion really cuts to the chase and focuses on what is really concerning about the Green Energy Act.”
Citing green energy as heavily subsidized, unsustainable and unaffordable Coun. Carmody said “the McGuinty Liberals are running and expensive energy experiment here, one which has failed elsewhere. It’s a buy high, sell low approach to energy, that in the end is paid for by the consumer.”
He referred to Tim Hudak’s description of the act at the Good Roads Convention in 2011, “Every kid who runs a lemonade stand knows you can’t buy lemons for 80 cents and then sell lemonade for a nickel. That’s what the Liberals are doing with heavily subsidized green energy projects.”
Coun. Carmody acknowledged that sacrifices must be made to create energy, but, “The Green Energy Act sacrifices too much, can cause irreversible damage and is the equivalent of picking low hanging fruit.
“The fact the EA process has been fast tracked can have long standing equivalent effects on our environment, for us and for generations to come. That is far more worrisome prospect than the loss of a few recreational activities.”
After making her motion Coun. Lemay gave a list of town objections including the fact the green act “abandons the concept of economically prudent service to customers, shifting the cost of renewable subsidies to consumers despite handsome profits for developers is unacceptable to taxpayers and detrimental to the economy.”
She also cited, “the province has increasingly stepped away from some key EA decision making responsibilities and the Ministry of Environment is not adequately meeting its vital procedural oversight role.”
Concluding her presentation she noted, the evaluation and approvals processes contained in the act are flawed in that they do not adequately carry out meaningful consultations with the electorate and that those that are included do not appear to listen to, comprehend, fully investigate and accommodate the concerns of the hundreds of people who respond to the Environmental Bill of Rights.
Before he called the vote Mayor Bob Sweet wanted to be clear that council was voting against the whole Green Energy Act 2009 and the feed-in-tariff process.
Council acknowledged it was.
Cyndi Mills is a Daily Observer multimedia journalist