There may be yet another round in the battle over an endangered turtle habitat in Prince Edward County.
Gilead Power and the Environment ministry are challenging the findings of an environmental review tribunal, which last month sided with defenders of Blanding’s turtle, and stopped a wind farm from being built on Ostrander Point.
The decision, which overturned the province’s earlier approval of the project, is now being appealed to divisional court, which will determine whether to hear the case.
The tribunal determined that the required access roads would cause “serious and irreversible harm” to the rare reptile.
But Michael Lord, vice-president of Gilead Power, said the tribunal “does not have any jurisdiction” to comment on a permit issued in 2012 by the Natural Resources ministry under the Endangered Species Act.
Lord said the ministry granted the “overall benefit” permit because it felt “we had put sufficient mitigation measures in, as well as 20 years of impact monitoring on the site.”
The Gilead Power project also received a permit from the Ministry of Environment under the Environmental Protection Act, but the Prince Edward County Field Naturalists appealed that approval.
Group spokeswoman Myrna Wood called the counterappeals “somewhat disheartening,” but said they will continue raising funds to prevent industrial development on environmentally sensitive Crown lands.
“Many people were quite outraged when they found out it was our government that was fighting us in the tribunal,” she said. “Now, I think people are going to be doubly outraged that the government is trying to overturn the tribunal’s ruling and keep on with this disastrous course.”
Wood put the cost of the last appeal at more than $100,000.
An Environment ministry spokesman declined to comment on a matter currently before the courts.
Lord estimates Gilead Power has invested $2 million in the project, not including legal costs.
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