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Enforce the law: Hudak to energy minister

WEST LINCOLN – Tim Hudak has renewed the call for a province-wide moratorium on new industrial wind turbine projects.

Last week, in an open letter to Energy Minister Bob Chiarelli, Hudak requested the Liberals implement an immediate moratorium on future projects in light of “the recent chaos” in West Lincoln.

The chaos the Ontario PC Leader is referring to is the revelation that four of the five HAF Wind Energy turbines do not meet setback requirements established by the ministry. Hudak said the ministry’s response is “unacceptable.” Since The News reported on the issue, it has come to light that four of the turbines infract on the minimum property line setback distance, rather than three as initially reported.

“The notion that the government is forgiving turbines that are breaking the law is just wrong,” Hudak told The News. “What they should do is stop them. Put in a moratorium. And secondly, enforce the law. If the turbines don’t sit with the law, take them out.”

Hudak has called on his Liberal counterparts numerous times to initiate an immediate moratorium on wind projects due to ongoing concerns of Ontarians in relation to health, plummeting property values and a loss of democratic rights. The Niagara West-Glanbrook MPP says the government needs to scrap the expensive Green Energy Act and focus on putting Ontario’s economy back on track – which includes reining in out-of-control energy costs.

“I’m not going to give up,” said Hudak. “It’s [moratorium] the right thing to do to get power rates under control and to restore local decision making. I’m not going to give up until that’s done.”

Hudak said the Liberal’s “expensive energy experiment” is a failure that has done nothing but drive hydro bills through the roof, cost Ontario jobs and divide communities down the middle. Hudak’s plan to put Ontario back on track was introduced Feb. 18, when legislature resumed. His Million Jobs Act will be debated at Queen’s Park Thursday.

Under the ministry’s guidelines, industrial wind turbines must be at least the height of the turbine from the nearest property line – which in this case is 95 metres.

Property owner Anne Meinen said it was visible to the naked eye that one of the turbines was too close to her property. In fact, the turbine was only 68 metres from her property – 27 metres shy of the regulation. She brought her concerns to the West Lincoln Glanbrook Wind Action Group, which used a range finder to determine the distances before contacting the ministry.

The group is also demanding the government do more than bend the rules for the wind companies.

WLGWAG chair Neil Switzer said the setback violations “illustrate the arrogance and disrespect” of the wind turbine industry. He is demanding the government cancel the project immediately.

“Do the right thing and cancel the permit,” Switzer urged

Switzer also commended Hudak and his party for again taking up the cause.

“We are elated that the PCs are providing some sanity to the energy portfolio,” said Switzer. “Where as both the NDP and Liberals appear to support proceeding with the spending of billions without preparation of a financial business plan according to auditor general reporter in 2011.”

Hudak said he will keep the pressure on the Liberals until there is a change in government.

“I hope to have a chance to change this government and end this misguided policy,” Hudak said. “Until that happens, I will keep the pressure on.”