With the Ontario legislature prorogued and Energy Minister Bentley mulling a run for the Liberal leadership, rural communities worried about wind farms are left in limbo.
Bentley was supposed to mend fences between the provincial Liberals and rural Ontario amid opposition to the growing number of wind farms.
If someone takes over Bentley’s portfolio, it will take time for that person to get up to speed, said Jane Wilson, president of Wind Concerns Ontario.
“It’s just adding to the uncertainty,” she said.
With 6,000 wind turbines planned or proposed for Ontario, opposition politicians have long called for a moratorium on wind farms. Health Canada is completing a study in 2014 of the effects of industrial wind turbines on human health.
The issue cost the Liberals a majority in the last election as rural residents voiced their growing anger over a lack of local control over where the turbines go and how many are allowed in their communities.
“The greatest injustice of the McGuinty Liberals is sitting in Toronto and telling people in my riding and in communities across the province where these wind turbines are going to go,” said Monte McNaughton, the Tory MPP for Lambton-Kent-Essex who has long pushed for a moratorium.
“There’s no accountability right now. When it comes to the wind turbines, we want a moratorium on these things.”
Turbines are a key part of the Liberals’ green-energy policy. But with two environmental reviews under way, along with a Health Canada study, rural residents are bracing themselves for when the second feed-in tariff will begin to accept applications.
“There’s so many things about wind power development that’s up in the air and it’s really difficult to know what’s going on,” Wilson said.
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