Rural residents near Chatham Ontario have accused Samsung Renewable Energy, (a division of the Korean trans-national) of contaminating their drinking water wells.
The contamination is believed to have resulted from continuing pile driving for a 36 turbine development in North Kent on Bush Line near Highway 40. The Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change (MOECC) approved the North Kent Wind project even though it is situated on an important aquifer. Residents say the MOECC has ignored their concerns and refused to test their wells for heavy metals or even tell them whether their water is safe to drink.
The Regulations of Ontario’s “Green Energy Act” allow residents to challenge an energy development through the Environmental Review Tribunal (ERT). But to win a case against the teams of corporate and government lawyers they would have to prove that the turbines were damaging their health or the environment before they are even built and that is a legal impossibility.
As the North Kent residents saw more of their wells being contaminated, they formed a group called Water Wells First (WWF). After their complaints to the developer and the MOECC received no satisfactory response, and alarmed at the rapid spread of well contamination around the project, they formed a peaceful blockade of the entrance to one of the turbine sites. Officials of Pattern Energy, Samsung’s on site authority, arrived at the site with the police to disperse the protesters.
But the police backed off when two Native Canadian women told them to get the developer “off our land”. They held a deed of land proclamation issued in 1850 by the Province of Canada which gives ownership of the land to the First Nations people, as original inhabitors.
The Chatham Voice quoted Cindy Soney, Supreme Authority of Great Turtle Island (North America) and Head Crane Clan Mother as saying: “Hey, this is wrong. You’re ruining peoples’ water. Food, water, and shelter are the three basic necessities that everyone in North America should be entitled to without question”. Corrine Tooshkenig, an Elder and a Clan Water Grandmother said “this is an international and human rights issue”.
Pattern Energy reacted by getting a court injunction from the Superior Court of Justice of Ontario which granted an interim order “restraining and preventing anyone from blockading, obstructing, or impeding access to any of the construction sites for the project”.
Evidence on why pile driving for wind turbines can affect well water is to be presented for the first time in an Ontario court by the Water Wells First group at a hearing at the end of September.
The Multi-municipal Wind Turbine Working Group requests the Minister of the Environment and Climate Change to respect the urgent need of the citizens of North Kent and the First Nation clans to see this issue remedied at once.
For more information:
Stewart Halliday, Deputy Mayor, Grey Highlands, Chair
519-375-1433 / firstname.lastname@example.org
Mark Davis, Deputy Mayor, Arran-Elderslie, Vice-Chair
519-353-5466 / email@example.com
Multi-municipal Wind Turbine Working Group
1925 Bruce Road 10, Box 70, Chesley, ON N0G 1L0
519-363-3039 / Fax: 519-363-2203 / firstname.lastname@example.org
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