A not-for-profit green energy group in Prince Edward County has filed a notice for a judicial review with the divisional court in Ottawa into the approval of a 27 industrial wind project.
CCSAGE wants a review of the process by which on July 16 the Ontario Ministry of Environment and Climate Change issued a Renewable Energy Approval for the White Pines wind energy project in South Marysburgh and Athol.
As part of this REA approval process, on September 11, 2015, the Minister of Natural Resources and Forests issued a permit for the project to kill, harm and harass endangered or threatened species at risk.
Citing institutional bias, lack of science-based studies, disallowance of municipal input, and denial of natural justice, CCSAGE has prepared affidavit evidence exceeding 1500 pages claiming that the Ontario government’s approval process has violated several constitutional rights of rural citizens and communities as well as international treaties and agreements.
CCSAGE is currently working to support two other groups appealing two separate wind projects planned for the County’s south shore.
CCSAGE says however, Ontario’s Green Energy Act permits Environmental Review Tribunal (ERT) appeals only on grounds of serious harm to humans or serious and irreversible harm to animal and/or plant life and to the natural environment. That Act does not permit ERT appeals on any other grounds such as biased approval processes, denial of natural justice, violation of constitutional rights, harm to local economies, harm to tourism, harm to heritage assets, diminution of property values, or violation of international treaties and agreements. CCSAGE has therefore filed its application for a Judicial Review of this project’s approval process, in an effort to restore equity, accountability and justice.
CCSAGE Chair Anne Dumbrille says she has observed that, at an ERT, it is difficult for citizens to get a fair hearing of their grievances against government-approved wind projects because the ERT process is heavily biased in favour of the wind energy developer and the government ministries that approve its projects. “ERTs are government-appointed tribunals that follow government rules and use taxpayer-funded lawyers to permit destruction of environmentally sensitive areas and to deny natural justice to local citizens who have constitutionally assured rights and freedoms. Our only recourse is to Canada’s courts, where rules of equitable justice prevail,” she said.
In preparing the Application, CCSAGE NG has had the benefit of considerable research contributed by five students from the Osgoode Hall Law School at York University.
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