President’s Report for 2015.
President’s Report for 2015.
Ontario brought in wind energy with a “top-down” style. Rather than the government setting broad policy objectives – they are making choices on which technologies and which suppliers should receive government contracts. They are working with corporations, to the detriment of the citizens and the province.
- The Liberals’ Green Energy Act was enacted without economic or scientific research behind it.
- There was no thought to how it would affect communities, local economy; individuals and individual’s economics.
- There was a promise for overall job creation, with no analysis and in apparent deliberate conflict of international trade agreements.
- Ontario took next to no account of heritage, landscapes and “place-attachment,” the sense we have of being anchored somewhere.
- Heath concerns are ignored; requirements regarding noise/sound measurements inadequate.
- There was a promise that it would save generations from climate change – yet:
- There is no evidence that IWTs decrease greenhouse gases
- Electricity constitutes only 7% of greenhouse gas emissions; by government calculations, meeting a goal of 20% electricity from IWTs only would decrease greenhouse gasses 1% – in reality 0%.
- While energy use in Ontario has decreased 8%, energy generation has increased 13% — and we already had a surplus [in last 13 years].Advertisement
Thus – spilling enough hydro last year to supply 350,000 households for a full year as well as selling it at a huge loss.
- It appears that we are increasing construction of gas plants only to provide back-up power for our so called green energy projects.
- Over the last 10 years, the government has directed the expenditure of billions of dollars of public money on electricity projects, giving premium prices for solar and wind energy, with virtually no oversight or checks and balances. During this time, Ontario consumers have seen a large increase in electricity prices, with more to come. Electricity prices, now highest in North America –are pricing Ontario out of the business market.
- The Act removes municipal zoning controls over renewable projects. Neither the people nor the municipality have a say whatever in what happened in their community – but must suffer the consequence.
- To make it easy for contract approval:
- Laws were changed. E.g., IWTs are exempt from the core protections of the Endangered Species Act – an Act that took years to put in place/ a strike of the pen to eviscerate. It now permits the harming, harassing and killing of endangered species in the course of installation and operation of so-called “green energy” industrial units/plants.
- Laws were ignored
- New bills are still in the works to centralize regulatory power (e.g. Bill 135 provides no role for oversight of government electricity directives; it will take power from the OEB, and essentially stop ERTs based on the environment).
To date we have followed the rules set by the government.
- We attend public meetings held by the Corporations that are a sham. Only general information is given, questions are not answered. In the process – another box checked off.
- The public is permitted to review the REA documents and comment. Another box checked off.
- Generally comments are ignored. [We spent a great deal of energy the first half of the year addressing scientific gaps in the REA, particularly regarding eagles, bats]
- Some documents are not available to the public – such as the critical Species at Risk report (which, after a FOI response was curiously received a day after the deadline for comments)
- FOI requests indicate there are no reviewer notes, and few meeting notes that can be reviewed.
- In response to our science-based comments:
- No new studies are required – nothing to delay approval. Instead, the government make then have study information changed – or deleted. The documents are still loaded with errors – even in protocols written by MNR itself.
- If responses are sent, they are lip-service, or contain incorrect or biased information – even contradicting the REA reports themselves.
- When the Renewable Energy Approvals (REAs) are given – that never follow the government’s own requirements, an ERT can be initiated by the public:
- ERTs that are limited to PROVING serious and irreversible harm will be done to environment, serious harm will be done to human health.
- Tribunals have made clear that it is not their business if government requirements are not followed – whether followed or not, serious/irreversible harm must be shown – e.g. acoustic requirements, measurement of water at average annual high water mark).
- The onus is on the public to prove this, not on the corporation.
- And the government does little of its own assessment –it TRUSTS the corporations to do proper, complete and accurate surveys – even with the obvious self-interest.
- The public are preforming the job of the government for them –at great personal cost – with a ridiculously high bar – that of proving irreversible harm.
- This is contrary to MOE and MNR Statement of Environmental Values that emphasize precautionary principal, consideration of cumulative effects, protection of biodiversity.
- We reminded the Federal government about their Acts and international obligations, e.g. regarding Migratory Bird Convention Act, and their Guidelines that define acceptable placement of turbines for the protection of birds. Sadly, we have received no meaningful response.]
We are tired of playing by the faulty rules.
We are tired of seeing laws abused, ignored and changed at the whim of the government.
We are tired of losing our municipal democratic rights.
We are tired of losing rights to the use of and the pleasure of our own property.
We are tired of seeing our personal and community economies lost.
We are tired of being pawns, feeling we are in a feudal system or USSR.
There is written evidence of more turbines planned here – we know not what is yet to come.
We need a permanent solution.
Thus the Judicial Review was launched by CCSAGE. The goal is to have the GEA modified or revoked in order to protect our environment, people and economy. For this, since last spring we have been occupied gathering information for our lawyer, Alan Whiteley.
I would like to acknowledge and thank PECFN, SSC and APPEC/Hirsch for taking on the necessary steps of ERTs – – at great effort and cost. Without the ERT work –past, present and future, with the battles they have won and continue to fight, the South Shore, and possibly other areas of the County would already be destroyed.
I also thank all others contributing to this cause, including, – in PEC Liz Driver, the Municipality, as well as our neighbour APAI, and the other many jurisdictions and the umbrella group WCO. The JR, although critical and on-going, will not happen overnight!