Simcoe-Grey’s Member of Provincial Parliament wants to see the province reimburse area residents and municipalities in their fight against a wind turbine project.
Jim Wilson questioned energy minister Glenn Thibeault on the amount of money spent by residents and municipalities – approximately $1.6 million – to appeal the renewable energy application awarded to WPD Canada for the Fairview Wind project.
Last August, the Environmental Review Tribunal revoked the approval, but decided in February it would not award costs to the appellants.
In the Legislature, Wilson told the government it should change to the Green Energy Act to allow citizens and communities to have legal costs reimbursed if they successfully stop a project.
“Citizen groups worked hard to stop this project and have since made an attempt to have their legal costs awarded by the tribunal,” Wilson told Thibeault. “The Green Energy Act won’t allow these groups and individuals to get their money back. Will the minister change the legislation to allow the tribunal to award costs?”
Thibeault responded by reviewing the public consultation process followed by the Independent Electricity System Operator for approving Green Energy Act projects – a response Wilson said was both unsatisfactory and completely ignored the issue the MPP was raising.
“He did a pretty good job of skirting around it,” Wilson told Simcoe.com.
Wilson said the tribunal’s ruling not to award costs was correct.
“The tribunal is following the rules, it’s just that the rules are wonky,” he said. “People have a right to be angry at the political side, because (that’s the side) that’s put us through this.”
However, Wilson stopped short of suggesting a Progressive Conservative government would reimburse the costs for residents and municipalities to fight similar projects should the Tories form a government after the June 7 provincial election.
“If it’s in the billions of dollars, the answer would probably be no; I’m not sure there would be the stomach there to correct the Liberal’s problems, especially if it wasn’t something in (a member’s) riding,” he said. “It’s a mess. It’s one of the biggest boondoggles I’ve seen here in the last 30 years, and no one has apologized.”
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