Opponents of NextEra Energy’s 92-turbine Jericho wind energy project have appealed its provincial environmental approval.
Marcelle Brooks, with the Middlesex-Lambton Wind Action Group, said an appeal filed by member Bob Lewis has been accepted by Ontario’s Environmental Review Tribunal, and a hearing is expected to be held June 24.
Construction on the wind project that will see turbines built in Lambton Shores and Warwick Township, as well as transmission lines in neighbouring North Middlesex, began days after it was approved April 14 by Ontario’s Ministry of Environment.
Ontario allows construction of renewable energy projects to continue while an appeal is underway, unless the tribunal issues a stay order.
Brooks said they know odds of an appeal succeeding are slim but still decided to go ahead.
“We need our voice to be heard at every opportunity,” she said.
Brooks said they don’t have money for a lawyer and Lewis will represent himself at the tribunal hearing.
“It’s quite complex, when you’re not a lawyer,” she said.
The group members plan to make use of experience gained when members of the wind action group appealed other wind projects.
As well as arguing that wind turbines harm the environment and human health, Brooks said the appeal will challenge the provincial approval under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
“We really did not have any say in what is going on here,” she said.
“There has been no freedom to choose, to decide location, to do what’s best for the community. The whole wind energy fiasco has been imposed on us.”
Brooks said the wind action group didn’t file the appeal itself because of past experiences with the tribunal, an independent body established by provincial legislation.
“The tribunal doesn’t care for us, all that well, because we always represent ourselves,” she said.
Brooks said they will request the hearing be held in Lambton so members of the community can attend.
NextEra has said construction of the Jericho wind project is expected to take six to nine months.