Two companies involved in a Lambton County wind-turbine project were fined $10,000 each for vegetation and tree removal in violation of the Environmental Protection Act.
Amec Foster Wheeler Limited and Cedar Point II GP Inc. pleaded guilty Friday in Sarnia provincial offences court to the violations. There had been an approval granted for the project but the companies did not follow the approval requirements.
Suncor Energy Products Inc. had originally been charged as a former owner of the turbine project but the charge was withdrawn.
The offences occurred in March 2015 but early in 2015 ownership was transferred from Suncor to Cedar Point.
An agreed statement of facts was presented to the court during Friday's pleas.
Part of the project involved installation of power transmission lines. The approval that was granted required protection of designated woodland areas during the clearing needed for the transmission lines.
Suncor changed the project layout to comply with the approval.
The changes were not made to drawings used by AMEC, the construction management contractor.
On March 30 and 31, 2015 .25 hectares (.6 acres) of the designated woodlands were removed.
Since that time steps were taken to comply with the approval including daily monitoring. A remediation plan was developed in conjunction with the St. Clair Region Conservation Authority.
The financial penalty will be increased to $12,500 for each company due to mandatory surcharges.
The investigation that led to the charges by the Ministry of Environment was prompted by members of a local anti-turbine group who reported the woodland damage.