Library filed under Legal from Ontario
“It is a clear example of sovereign risk. It is certainly not unique, but it is a reminder of how the government can pass legislation that deprives a party of contractual rights or remedies,” says O’Neill. “You are not dealing with a private counter-party. You are dealing with an entity that has statute-making power.”
“As the community proved at the ERT hearing, this project should not have been approved in the first place,” he said. “It’s outrageous the government could be so negligent, making it necessary for the citizens to protect the public, then hide behind flawed legislation that robs the tribunal appointed by them in overlooking their bad decisions to award costs to the citizens who successfully proved the government compromised people’s safety.”
A Notice of Application for Judicial Review was filed by DDOWT in the Divisional Court in Toronto on Tuesday against the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change alleging the ministry has allowed companies promoting at least five large-scale wind projects to ignore new government guidelines with respect to limiting the amount of noise any residence in the area should have to tolerate.
Ontario’s already lost a related case on very different legal grounds. Last year an international tribunal agreed the government violated the North American Free Trade Agreement with its moratorium on wind farms, which killed a project next to the one Trillium was working on run by an American-backed company. The people of Ontario are out $28 million in damages and legal costs for that.
The Environmental Review Tribunal has ruled the approval for a 500-foot-tall wind turbines in an area near the Collingwood Regional Airport should be revoked.
There may not be eight wind turbines spinning in Clearview Township after all. In a decision released Wednesday, the Environmental Review Tribunal revoked the renewable energy approval for the project, saying the danger to human life and safety was too great.
In this important decision by the Ontario Environmental Review Tribune, the Tribune officially revokes Wpd Canada's permit to install eight 137-meter (450 feet) tall wind turbines in close proximity to the Collingwood Regional Airport and a private air field owned by Kevin and Gail Elwood. In its October 2016 decision, the ERT had determined that the appellants met the test that showed there would be harm to human health. The ERT also agreed that irreversible harm to the natural environment, specifically to bats, warranted further investigation. Wpd Canada was granted an opportunity to show that mitigation could resolve the concerns. The ERT in this decision held that the risk to human health and safety was unacceptable. A portion of the decision is provided below (paragraphs 15-20) pertaining to the turbines impairing safe air travel. The full decision of the ERT can be found by clicking the links on this page.
“The Tribunal decision has made it clear that this wind power project was never about protecting the environment,” said Jane Wilson, president of Wind Concerns Ontario, the coalition of community groups concerned about wind power projects. “The wind power project was always about money. The citizens of Prince Edward County fought hard to protect the environment and wildlife against our own Ministry of the Environment.”
Ontario’s government signed an electricity deal with an American company to build a wind farm at the eastern end of Lake Ontario, froze the project, and then wanted to treat its own decision like an uncontrollable act of God to get out of the contract it signed, an international panel found in a ruling saying such behaviour is not OK.
In an 87-page decision, ERT hearing officers Dirk Vanderbent and Hugh Wilkins stated the appeal of the renewable energy application for WPD Canada’s Fairview Wind project met the test for potential harm to human health with respect to the operations at the Collingwood Regional Airport and Clearview Aerodrome.
Under the terms of the mediation, property owners will be given baseline testing before the construction of any turbines and will receive groundwater and ground vibration monitoring in each of the first three years of operation.
Rural landowners who are approached to permit a wind turbine or turbines or associated equipment on their acreage badly need sophisticated legal advice on these complex agreements.
In essence, the tribunal ruled that whatever the benefits of renewable energy — and whatever a government’s policy interest in promoting it — they do not override the public interest in protecting against environmental harm. (Migratory birds, bats and monarch butterflies were also said to be at risk under the wind turbine proposal.)
A tribunal hearing an appeal of the province’s decision to approve an wind turbine project in Clearview Township has moved on to the next phase of the process.
The Town of Collingwood has spent $187,000 to fight the wind turbine proposal in Clearview Township – and that number could rise by an additional $75,000.
The suit, filed by Trillium Power Wind Corp. in 2011, is over allegations that provincial officials deliberately timed a decision to scrap all wind-farm developments on the waters of the Great Lakes to cause the most damage possible to Trillium so the company wouldn’t have the resources to fight.
Council will appeal the development of wpd Fairview Wind Farm, a controversial wind turbine project the town says is too close to its airport. The fight against the development of the wpd Fairview Wind Farm is going into extra rounds after Collingwood council voted to initiate an appeal against a ministry decision to green light the controversial project.
Concerns from Fort William First Nations about the moose and moose habitat, and Horizon Wind Inc.’s failure to address them, is what led to the official denial of the project.
"The Association to Protect Amherst Island remains adamantly opposed to the construction of turbines on Amherst Island and has appealed the MOECC decision to grant Renewable Energy Approval to Windlectric Inc. and plans to make application for judicial review of the application," APAI president Peter Large wrote in a letter to Loyalist Township. "The association also continues to explore all legal and political opportunities to stop the industrialization of Amherst Island."
Mr. Pickens and Mesa Power contend that the Florida company, NextEra, was granted exclusive access through private meetings with important government officials that ultimately tilted the bidding in its favor. The province of Ontario granted NextEra $3.8 billion in energy contracts. Mesa Power contends that $18,600 in donations that NextEra made to the ruling Liberal Party in Ontario before elections in 2011 had undue influence on the auction.