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Amherst Island group files lawsuit  

Credit:  By Elliot Ferguson, Kingston Whig-Standard | Thursday, March 6, 2014 | www.thewhig.com ~~

The group opposed to a wind energy development on Amherst Island is going to court to challenge a recent government ruling that permitted the project to move ahead.

In an application filed Thursday with the Superior Court of Justice in Toronto, the Association to Protect Amherst Island (APAI) asked for a judicial review of the Jan. 2 decision by the Ministry of the Environment to declare complete the Renewable Energy Approval (REA) submitted by Windlectric Inc., the company seeking to build the Amherst Island wind project.

Windlectric plans to build a 75-megawatt wind energy project on the 70-square-kilometre Amherst Island, involving up to 36 turbines.

The January ruling meant the project was entering the technical review stage, during which the different reports filed by the company in support of the development are reviewed.

An REA deemed complete also allowed the project to proceed into 65 days of public comment, a phase set to conclude March 8.

In its application, which named Windlectric, the director of environmental approvals and the provincial ministries of the environment, natural resources and tourism, culture and sport, APAI stated the REA did not contain key components.

“The decision to deem the project application complete surprised the Association as substantial evidence as to why the project should not proceed to the technical review stage of the process,” the association stated in a release Thursday.

The association stated the application for the review is “consistent” with the position of Loyalist Township.

In October, Loyalist Township council passed a motion that called for the rejection of “incomplete” project applications.

APAI said the technical details of the Windlectric REA were far from complete.

The items missing included an emergency response and communications plan, a heritage assessment and protected properties assessment, a natural heritage assessment and environmental impact study.

The REA January decision was based largely on “deficient and incomplete studies submitted by Windlectric,” the association stated.

According to APAI, the island is home to more than 100 heritage properties and 34 endangered species, including the Blanding’s turtle.

Last summer, the Heritage Canada Foundation placed Amherst Island among the top 10 endangered places in Canada due to the potential impact the wind turbines could have on wildlife and natural heritage.

Source:  By Elliot Ferguson, Kingston Whig-Standard | Thursday, March 6, 2014 | www.thewhig.com

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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