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MPP Smith calls out MNRF minister on ‘kill, harass and harm’ permit

Todd Smith took revelations from this month’s Environmental Review Tribunal to Queen’s Park today.

Two weeks ago, Joe Crowley, a species-at-risk expert with the Ministry of Natural Resources, told the tribunal he initially recommended against issuing a Kill, Harm and Harass Permit for Ostrander Point – the site for industrial wind turbines.

“Joe Crowley is your species-at-risk expert who testified less than two weeks ago at an Environmental Review Tribunal in Prince Edward County and he recommended against issuing a permit for wind turbines to kill, harm and harass endangered species on the South Shore of Prince Edward County.” Smith said at Queen’s Park. “What did the ministry do? They granted the permit anyway.”

Smith went on to remind that in September 2011, the Big Thunder wind project that was planned for Minister Bill Mauro’s riding of Thunder Bay-Atikokan “and your predecessor refused to grant a permit to kill, harm and harass peregrine falcons on the site of that project.

“In fact, the Minister’s own words at the time were “I don’t know how the proponent could satisfy the conditions to allow my Ministry to issue a permit to allow the project to proceed. I am not prepared to issue a permit at this time, nor do I understand how a permit could be issued for this site.”

Smith said he is asking for the same standard to apply to Prince Edward County.

“The County doesn’t want this project. Conservation and environmental groups don’t want it and the Ministry’s own expert recommended against it ever being approved.” Smith concluded. “Apparently, no one outside the Liberal cabinet office thinks this project is a good idea.”

In a letter to the minister, Smith requested the permit be revoked.

“Second, that you make public all documentation and correspondence pertaining to Mr. Crowley’s recommendation to the Minister and the subsequent documentation and correspondence that led to the Ministry making a decision that ran contrary to the advice of its in-house experts.

“You and your ministerial colleagues have consistently, in the House, deferred to Ministry staff and recommendations when discussing the approval of individual projects. However, it is clear that in this instance, the recommendation was ignored. The people of Prince Edward County have been denied equal protection by the government when such protection has been granted to other communities in identical circumstances. It is time this was rectified.”