The County appeal of the Ostrander Point wind project is under way. But we need your help.
The recent approval of the industrial wind turbine project by Gilead Power Corporation on Crown-owned Land at Ostrander Point and the subsequent legal appeals to an Environmental Review Tribunal (ERT) have been reported in both local and regional media. Conflicting statements may have left you with questions: What are the benefits of an appeal? Can an appeal be successful?
Background. Gilead, wpd Canada and other wind developers plan to industrialize large areas of Prince Edward County. Since the passage of the Green Energy Act (GEA) in 2009, several local citizens’ groups have tried their best to prevent this from happening – letters, rallies, petitions, polls, a new MPP – to no avail. The GEA overrides prior protective legislation and local democracy and the Ministry of the Environment has approved all wind energy applications to date. There are only two grounds for appeal of an approval: serious and irreversible harm to plants, animals or the natural environment, and serious harm to human health.
Appeals. Appeals by two citizens’ groups, PECFN and APPEC, are now being heard by an ERT. Its decision will have major significance, not just for this project, but likely for all wind development in The County and elsewhere in the province. Proof of harm to migratory birds, bats and alvars at Ostrander Point (PECFN’s appeal) will likely apply to the much larger wpd Canada White Pines project nearby. And proof of harm to the health of residents living near Ostrander Point (APPEC’s appeal) will establish a precedent for hundreds of families living near wpd Canada’s project, and for many thousands of other rural families throughout Ontario.
Previous legal action. So far, legal action by citizens’ groups in Ontario has focused only on the Ministry of Environment’s decision-making process (Hanna judicial review, 2011) and on expert medical testimony regarding health (Chatham-Kent ERT, 2011). In the latter case, the Tribunal found that industrial wind turbines DO cause harm to human health, but was not satisfied by the evidence presented that the harm is “serious”, as required by the Green Energy Act to reverse approval of a project.
NOW. The ERT appeal on health initiated by the Alliance to Protect Prince Edward County (APPEC) includes expert medical testimony, as in Chatham-Kent. But recently published acoustical and medical research has strengthened the link between ill health and turbine noise, low-frequency sound, and infrasound. And, for the first time, Ontario residents will testify as to serious health problems resulting from living near IWTs. It is believed that this updated and expanded evidence will prove “serious” harm to health and thereby reverse the approval. However, there are substantial legal costs involved in bringing this evidence forward.
ANY = MANY. Families living in south County are now at the greatest risk of adverse health effects and property value losses, but additional wind projects are planned for other locations in the County. If we get ANY wind turbines, we’ll get MANY wind turbines. Wind turbine industrialization of the County will result in loss of our “quality of place” image, leading to reductions in property values County-wide (at least 10%), significantly lower revenues for many local businesses and decreased municipal tax revenues.
Help us prevent this disaster. If we don’t win the Ostrander Point ERT appeal, there may not be another chance to save the County from wind turbine industrialization. We (CCSAGE) are assisting APPEC to raise funds to finance its appeal on health, and ask for your help. You can send a cheque made out to APPEC Legal Fund to P.O. Box 173, Milford, ON K0K 2P0, or contribute online by credit card at www.appec.wordpress.com . (Note: No tax receipt, as this is a legal action.) We very much appreciate your generosity.
Garth Manning, Chair, CCSAGE
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