Appeal of wind turbines based on health issues

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LITTLE CURRENT—The date has been set for the Environmental Review Tribunal preliminary hearing concerning the recent appeal from the Manitoulin Coalition for Safe Energy Alternatives (MCSEA) against the Ministry of Environment’s (MOE) Renewable Energy Approval (REA) of Northland Power’s (NPI) McLean’s Mountain wind farm project.

The hearing will be held on Tuesday, December 18 at 1 pm at the Lions Den in the Little Current Recreation Centre.

“The purpose of the hearing is for the tribunal to review the director’s decision and consider only whether engaging in the renewable energy project in accordance with the REA will cause serious harm to human health or serious and irreversible harm to plant life, animal life or the natural environment,” states a notice from Environment and Land Tribunals Ontario. “If the tribunal determines that such harm will be caused, the tribunal may revoke the director’s decision by order, direct the director to take such action as the tribunal considers appropriate or alter the director’s decision, for which purpose the tribunal may substitute its own opinion. If the tribunal determines that such harm will not be caused, the tribunal shall confirm the director’s decision (REA).”

The McLean’s Mountain wind farm project was granted an REA from the MOE on October 31, the final approval needed for the 24-unit wind farm to begin construction.

Last week, MCSEA officially applied for a ‘stay of approval’ of the MOE’s directors’ decision, though land clearing for the project and potential construction can continue throughout the ERT appeal process for this project unless a decision regarding the stay is made in his organization’s favour, MCSEA spokesperson Ray Beaudry previously told The Expositor. “MCSEA is filing an appeal of the ruling and we will be calling on Environment Minister Jim Bradley and Energy Minister Chris Bentley to revoke the approval.”

Mr. Beaudry also revealed that MCSEA will be basing its case on recent studies that he claims “have shown the potential for serious harm to human health for those residents within 1,400 metres of wind turbines as well as protest several process-related issues regarding improper location of potential receptors and land rights of use for non-participants in the project.”

Individuals who are landowners near the potential site of the McLean’s wind farm or who have an interest in the hearing have been contacted and offered the opportunity by the ERT to attend or participate as a presenter, participant or party.

Those wishing to participate in the ERT hearing are asked to contact the ERT case coordinator, Tracee Wessam, to indicate their intention by 4 pm on December 14.

Rules and practice and practice directions of the ERT are available at www.elto.gov.on.ca or can be mailed upon request.

Mr. Wessam can be contact via mail at 655 Bay Street, Suite 1500, Toronto, Ontario, M5G 1E5, email at [email protected], telephone at 1-866-448-2248 or fax at 416-314-4506.

The main hearing for the appeal has also been scheduled, with a date of Thursday, January 10, 2013 at 10 am at the Lions Den.

Robin Burridge

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