Comments on Bill 34, the Act to Repeal the Green Energy Act.

Bill 34 reinstates the ability of municipalities to have input into the siting of power generation facilities, but does little else to eliminate the politicization of the electricity industry by the McGuinty and Wynne governments or to remediate the disastrous impact that the Green Energy Act (“GEA”) has had on residents of rural Ontario.

In a news release dated 20 September 2018 announcing the legislation to repeal the GEA, Monte McNaughton is quoted as saying: ”The Green Energy Act allowed the previous government to trample over the rights of families, businesses and municipalities across rural Ontario”.

There are over 2,500 Industrial Wind Turbines (“IWTs”) installed while the GEA was in effect that continue to operate in Ontario. The rights of the families, businesses and municipalities on whom this mandatory industrialization has been inflicted continue to be trampled and Bill 34 does nothing to change this.

The extensive Record of evidence filed in the legal proceeding CCSAGE v. Director, et al. in Ottawa Court file DC 15-2162 provides evidence that IWTs:

  • have been erected in breach of mandatory geographic setbacks and noise limits
  • emit infrasound and electromagnetic pollution that causes illness in residents
  • render homes unfit for habitation
  • create “dirty electricity” that impedes livestock operations
  • pollute waterways and ground water with soil, shale and poisonous minerals
  • sterilize adjacent lands by preventing building within their setback shadow
  • vandalize roads, landscape, habitat and species on abutting lands during

    construction

  • open gravel pits, build wharves and erect cement batching plants without any

    environmental studies

  • incur fires, tower collapses and other dangers to residents of abutting lands
  • depreciate the market value of abutting lands or render them unsaleable

    The shame of this environmental degradation is that the former Ontario government was complicit in it. Voters in the recent provincial election looked to the PC Party to restore their rights and remedy these wrongs.

On 11 October 2018 MPP (PC) Bill Walker of Bruce/Grey Counties addressed a meeting of the Multi Municipal Wind Turbine Working Group in Chesley, Ontario. Mr. Walker said that residents cannot expect any relief from IWTs for at least 1 to 2 years because the new government is just too busy doing other things.

This is not good enough. There are residents of rural Ontario who cannot sleep in their own houses, or drink from their own wells, or build on their own land, or sell their properties, and this situation has been going on since the enactment of the GEA in 2009. Repealing this ill-advised and punitive legislation should include measures to deal with the havoc it has caused.

 

CCSAGE update on legal proceedings

In enacting Bill 2 and Bill 34 the new Ontario government has delivered much of the relief sought by CCSAGENG in its Application for Judicial Review pending in the Divisional Court in Ottawa as Court File 15 – 2162 styled CCSAGE Naturally Green v Director, Environmental Protection Act and Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry (the “JR”).

However, one result of these recent enactments is that CCSAGE is compelled to amend much of its court proceeding.

Schedule 2 of Bill 2, the White Pines Wind Project Termination Act, § 5(1) (d) of
the Act provides that no cause of action arises against the Crown…as a direct or indirect result of…any…conduct that is related, directly or indirectly, to the White Pines
Wind Project and by § 5(5) any such proceeding already commenced is deemed to
have been dismissed, without costs, on 25 July 2018.

To the extent that CCSAGENG sought judicial review of the decisions to issue the REA and species harassment permits that allowed construction of the White Pines Project, those permits having been cancelled, there is no decision left to review.

However, with respect to the Industrial Wind Turbines already in operation across Ontario, the following issues raised in the JR remain unresolved:

was the statutory scheme in violation of constitutional rights and international treaties;
were the administrative procedures biased and in breach of natural law; and
were administrative decisions institutionally and operationally biased in favour of the proponents.

CCSAGE has filed in the Court a Record consisting of 14 Volumes of evidence from dozens of rural inhabitants across Ontario demonstrating that under the GEA statutory scheme the relevant ministries violated the constitutional rights of rural residents, ignoring their interests and their environment by following an inflexible policy of approving renewable energy projects without regard for rural economies or the health and property rights of rural residents. The damage inflicted includes health hazards making abutting properties uninhabitable, sterilization of use of abutting properties, ruin of water tables, violation of economic interests, and disruption of fragile rural economies.

In a news release dated 20 September 2018 announcing the legislation to repeal the GEA, Monte McNaughton is quoted as saying: ”The Green Energy Act allowed the previous government to trample over the rights of families, businesses and municipalities across rural Ontario”.

There are over 2,500 Industrial Wind Turbines (“IWTs”) installed while the GEA was in effect that continue to operate in Ontario. The rights of the families, businesses and municipalities on whom this mandatory industrialization has been inflicted continue to be trampled and Bill 34 does nothing to change this.

The extensive Record of evidence filed in the legal proceeding CCSAGE v. Director, et al. in Ottawa Court file DC 15-2162 provides evidence that IWTs:

have been erected in breach of mandatory geographic setbacks and noise limits
emit infrasound and electromagnetic pollution that causes illness in residents
render homes unfit for habitation
create “dirty electricity” that impedes livestock operations
pollute waterways and ground water with soil, shale and poisonous minerals
sterilize adjacent lands by preventing building within their setback shadow
vandalize roads, landscape, habitat and species on abutting lands during construction
open gravel pits, build wharves and erect cement batching plants without any environmental studies
incur fires, tower collapses and other dangers to residents of abutting lands
depreciate the market value of abutting lands or render them unsaleable

The shame of this environmental degradation is that the former Ontario government was complicit in it. Voters in the recent provincial election looked to the PC Party to restore their rights and remedy these wrongs.

CCSAGE is faced with amending its court proceedings to eliminate the claim for judicial review and have the issue of the constitutionality (or otherwise) of the GEA referred to the Superior Court of Ontario. Back in July when Bill 2 was enacted we asked the court to consider these changes. As in the past, the court has failed to respond on a timely basis. Our next appearance before the court is scheduled for 21 February 2019. CCSAGE is not giving up.

 

Rex Murphy: The Green Energy Act is dead. Let that be a warning to green politicians Ontario’s Green Energy Act was a horror for business, a gross invasion of municipal authority, and sent successive auditors general to whatever is the chartered accountants version of a hospice centre

Rex Murphy
September 21, 2018
2:28 PM EDT
With apologies to the cowboy folk-music tradition, and in particular to Mr. Roy Rogers (film star, balladeer) and his horse Trigger (the golden palomino) for the mauling of a noble classic, may I offer, in homage to Mr. Ford’s euthanasia of the Green Energy Act, a few campfire lyrics:

Whoopee ti yi yo, git along little boondoggles,

It was McGuinty’s misfortune, and none of my own

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Ontario’s Green Energy Act was a horror for business, a gross invasion of municipal authority, and sent successive auditors general to whatever is…

Whoopee ti yi yo, git along little boondoggles,

You know that Ontario’s no longer your home.

The Green Energy and Green Economy Act, which the Ford government announced Thursday it would officially cancel, was one of the most monumental government follies of our time. It was a hydra-headed monster of regulations and fiat that bludgeoned Ontario’s rural communities, stripped Ontario’s municipalities of every right to the slightest participation in their own planning, placed a darkling pall over the manufacturing industry, and imposed the highest electricity costs in all North America on some of Ontario’s lowest-income citizens.

It is a challenge to give a comprehensive account of its many follies. A saga that started in 2009 under then Liberal premier Dalton McGuinty, received a full and smothering embrace by his successor, Kathleen Wynne, that subsidized at dizzying multiples the electricity provided by the most inefficient sources, put the small towns and outlying cities of the province under a green iron fist, stimulated both the construction of gas plants and their subsequent abrupt election-inspired cancellation, produced power it had to give away or pay other jurisdictions to take, castrated small businesses, burdened the most impoverished of the province with a choice between power and bread, and then precipitated the greatest slaughter of the Liberal Party of Ontario in modern-day history, cannot be encompassed in a column.

The story of the McGuinty/Wynne crusade to impose, at any cost, full green moralism on Ontarians should serve as a drastic caution to politicians everywhere that “going green” isn’t the innocent

All in all, it was the most staggering story involving hallucinations about windmills since the great Cervantes inscribed — to give the full, elegant title — “El ingenioso hidalgo Don Quijote de La Mancha,” which an obliging Google amanuensis translates as “The ingenious knight Don Quixote of La Mancha.”

It’s quite queasy being a green. The story of the McGuinty/Wynne crusade to impose, at any cost, full green moralism on Ontarians should serve as a drastic caution to politicians everywhere that “going green” isn’t the innocent, costless Boy-Scoutism it is always portrayed as. That it is never quite enough to keep telling your citizens in the condescending tones of the Sunday morning TV evangelists to “take your medicine, it’s for your own good.”

It is an amazing thing how often politicians elected to serve a particular jurisdiction — could be municipal or provincial — set themselves these grand glorious and green global agendas. “Sorry. Can’t fix the potholes, clear the drains before a storm, unlock the traffic snarling every street and expressway or get the streetcars here on time — but, hey, we’re banning plastic straws and grocery bags and we’re going solar on the billboards.” If you can’t run the city, leave the planet saving for another day. If you’ve got to send out government money to private citizens to allow them to pay their power bills because your policies are the very ones that drove power bills to a level they cannot pay, then reconsider the delusion that global warming is what you were elected to fix.

Ontario’s Green Energy Act was a horror for business, a gross invasion of municipal authority, and sent successive auditors general to whatever is the chartered accountants version of a hospice centre. It had some glorious moments. Following the politically motivated billion-dollar cancellation of the Oakville gas plant — a plant necessitated by the Green Energy fiat that shut down all coal power — and the destruction by Liberal staffers of the very emails in the premier’s office that might have illuminated this billion-dollar waste, Mr. McGuinty, at one hearing offered this immortal rationalization: “It’s never too late to do the right thing.”

They have not baked, nor will they ever, the fortune cookie worthy to receive that compacted, gnarly, choice slice of perfect condescension. It should be engraved in granite on the steps of the Ontario legislature, enclosed in glass, with the instruction: For Use Only When Every Other Excuse Has Laid Down And Died.

An addiction to greenism is never free. It hollows the political mind. And in the light of last week’s great horror over Premier Ford toying with the notwithstanding clause — the very birth-giving instrument of our sacred Charter of Rights — the green-energy saga offers yet another lesson. Its fiercest opponents, the Liberals and the NDP, saw constitutional Armageddon in Mr. Ford’s resolve to call out the clause. They were most intensely angered because he was “depriving Toronto’s municipal government” of its rights, short-circuiting democracy itself.

Where were they and their Everest-high concerns for municipal democracy when Premier Never-Too-Late stripped all municipal authorities of their capacity to protest, participate in or engage with the epidemic of windmill construction in their own communities? The Toronto Sun Lorrie Goldstein put it very clearly: “(They) deprived Ontarians of natural justice, turning neighbour against neighbour as developers quietly signed deals to lease privately-owned lands in rural communities for massive wind turbines and solar farms, with the projects then sprung on those communities as a fait accompli, in which they had no meaningful say.”

Two final points: when they people got to judge their glorious green future in an election, the Liberals were transmuted into a rump. If any politician wants to see how greenism and the famous equation of federal Environment Minister Catherine McKenna works out in the real world (“the environment and the economy go hand in hand”) check out Ontario. Note those Liberal numbers, and note well too, that a Mr. Doug Ford “I am become Destroyer of Carbon Taxes” is Premier.

CCSAGE Director John Hirsch addresses the Annual General Meeting on SAFE AND APPROPRIATE GREEN ENERGY (SAGE)

PLEASE CLICK THE LINK BELOW to read the presentation made by CCSAGE Director John Hirsch at the CCSAGE Annual General Meeting, May 5, 2018 at the Bloomfield Town Hall.  Topic:  Safe and Appropriate Green Energy (SAGE)

AGM Hirsch Presentation 2018

 

IMG_1150

Lawyer Alan Whiteley addresses CCSAGE Annual General Meeting

The following is the presentation made by our pro-bono lawyer, Alan Whiteley at the CCSAGE Annual General Meeting held Saturday, May 5, 2018  at Bloomfield Town Hall.
Please click on the link below to see the presentation. 

IMG_1151

Jane Wilson goes after MOECC Minister Ballard

Jane Wilson, President of Wind Concerns Ontario, has initiated a private prosecution of the Hon. Chris Ballard, with a hearing scheduled in Toronto on Thursday, May 17. She would benefit by your attendance at the hearing.

Jane alleges that the Minister has violated the Environmental Protection Act by not taking action on thousands of noise complaints relating to wind turbines. Here is WCO’s news release: http://www.windconcernsontario.ca/

Jane has convinced a Justice of the Peace to issue a summons, in conjunction with the Provincial Offences Act, compelling the Minister to appear in court on Thursday, May 17 to respond to the evidence that she will submit. She is being represented by a lawyer in Eric Gillespie’s office. Lawyers for MOECC will be out in force.

Here is an article on private prosecutions in Ontario:
https://www.attorneygeneral.jus.gov.on.ca/english/private_prosecution.php

It would be very helpful to Jane if some of us were to attend the hearing to support her brave initiative. The hearing will be at the Toronto East Court, 1350 Markham Road (just south of the 401), on Thursday, May 17 at 9:00 am.

Ontario Wind Turbines – The Good the Bad and the Ugly – an update

The following is from a presentation by Anne Dumbrille, Chair of CCSAGE at the Annual General Meeting held at Bloomfield Town Hall, Saturday, May 5, 2018

 
Welcome everyone, special welcome to our MPP Todd Smith, Acting Mayor Dianne O’Brien and Councillor Steve Ferguson.
I am giving an update on what is happened in Ontario regarding turbines in the last year.   The Good, the Bad and the Ugly – not always in that order.
Good
Slide 3

  • In 2017, the media has been more outspoken about adverse impacts of turbines e.g.,
  • Two major networks, Global News and Radio-Canada, carried multi-part investigative reports this past year. The three-part Global News feature spurred questions in the Legislature and forced the then-minister to act on noise complaints for several Huron County families.
  • Fraser Inst. Publication Mid- April. They published Understanding the Changes in Ontario’s Electricity Markets and Their Effects criticized the GEA, speaking to it causing high energy costs, losing manufacturing jobs, and not improving the environment.
  • Auditor General criticized Liberal accounting practices re energy costs, fair energy plan; it was well covered in major newspapers

Slide 4
Noise from turbines consists of audible and low frequency noise/ infrsound –these affect brain waves but may be inaudible.

  • A team at University of Waterloo has created a special chamber in which infrasound can be produced, in the hopes that health researchers can determine unequivocally effects of infrasound at levels produced by turbines on people.
  • Australian Court (similar to our ERT) linked wind turbine generated LFN and infrasound noise with possible diseases including hypertension and cardiovascular disease, possibly mediated in part by disturbed sleep and/or psychological stress/distress – it found an established association between annoyance (used as a medical term) and some diseases that result from prolonged stress. They say effects of LFN include motion-sickness-like symptoms, vertigo, and tinnitus -like symptoms.

It was also established that the current method adopted by windfarms to measure noise (including in Canada) — the dB(A) scale, is not suitable for the task, as it does not measure the lower frequency range. The dB(A) scale averages out the sound levels, masking the highest levels and rate of change of noise that could be causing harmful health side-effects.
This is consistent with what the UK noise association said in 2006. 12 years ago.
MOECC still will not address infrasound.
Slide 5
The Environmental Commissioner’s office wrote a report criticizing the government for approving 100% of turbine company permits to kill harm and harass endangered species.
Slide 6
But – BAD they followed that up with one that makes superficial and false statements on the health impacts of wind turbines. She says there is no link between wind turbine noise and health effects — based on ERT conclusions. She does not say that it is next to impossible to win an ERT appeal on health. She said that noise impacts are controlled through setbacks and noise limits in the REAs.
What of the over 4500 records of health/noise complaints filed by people living near turbines in Ontario with the government since 2006? And the out-of-compliance turbines. This is important as if the local turbines are built, they may not be noise compliant.
Slide 7
Bad-Turbines have been out of noise compliance with poor-to-totally lacking government response:
Port Elgin has one (Unifor) turbine – and have been complaining for years about the noise. Finally MOECC said that noise testing did show that it was out of compliance. A noise abatement protocol has to be put in place. The engineering report was filed with the MOECC in January, and then to the wrong Municipality in March – and finally to those affected. There is to be repeat testing in June–if it is out of compliance again -then what? Unknown.

Complaints regarding the Huron-Bruce Turbines in K2 Wind power project led to noise testing a year ago. Turbines were found to be out of compliance with Ontario regulations (April 2017). Since then, MOECC has done nothing.

Kincardine area has made multiple noise complaints over years, have been told testing is ongoing, but somehow, the tests are never completed, and the problem continues. In December they were told by MOECC that nothing was being done. And MOECC will not respond to complaints during an audit. The audit process started in December 2011 and is still not complete.

Slide 8

  • Last summer, a Brinston area resident wrote to Minister Murray about the complete lack of response to her reports of excessive noise (she has had to sleep in her basement on occasion because of the noise and vibration). An officer telephoned her and said:
    • Ministry staff were completely unprepared for wind turbine noise complaints.
    • They still don’t really know what to do.
    • They “lost” her records — even though she had so many reports that the MOECC actually installed equipment and did noise measurement for several days.
    • Last, it was too bad they lost everything pertaining to her situation and reports but it didn’t really matter, she was told because “You’re the only one complaining.”
    • With thousands of noise complaints recorded with the government unresolved, MOECC still refuse to acknowledge the problem, and refuses to look for causes.

Slide 10

  • Good: The MOECC finally admitted previous guidelines resulted in underestimating the noise at nearby homes – the modelling used to predict these impacts was wrong.
  • Last April 21, MOECC released a new protocol intended for “assessing noise from wind turbines that have already been built. It is used by industry and ministry staff to monitor compliance.” And compliance documents are to be publically available.
  • The result of non-compliance is: 1 – Remodel turbines; 2 – conduct a receptor audit at worst affected receptor from that turbine –or mitigation is required

Slide 9 Bad: However:

  • Still no recognition of low frequency noise. And, it hasn’t resulted in any effective changes.
  •  Still – when WCO complained about the lack of response regarding noise and lack of a posted compliance report, they were told that the report cannot be posted as the turbine company’s documents are incomplete. (The turbines had been running for 3 years)

Slide 11

  • Although the government knows the modeling done by wind companies is wrong, they are allowing 5 new large-scale wind projects to follow the old guidelines. If they followed the new guidelines, about 3/4 of these turbines would have to be relocated or removed as they are predicted to be out of compliance with the new noise guidelines. At one project 11 of 12 would be out of compliance.
  • So in January, 5 affected communities filed a JR application against MOECC as surely, Ontario regulations and directives that limit the amount of noise any residence in the province should have to be followed. The claim is – transition provisions were put in place by the ministry to allow those wind turbine companies to use the old regulations without having to provide evidence that they were unable to comply with the new noise modelling guidelines (Dutton Dunwich, North Stormont, La Nation, and Wallaceburg)

Slide 12
Brilliant:

  • Wind Concerns Ontario taking Minister Murray to court May 18 for violating the Environmental Protection Act for permitting noise that causes adverse health events. According to WCO Access to information requests, of 4500 complaints noise/sleeplessness and other health-related effects received, few were followed up – only ~7% in 2015-16.

Slide 13
Ugly

  • In SW Ontario, in an area with sedimentary rock similar to that here, during and after IWT construction, well contamination has been reported – such that some wells are completely clogged, some failed simultaneously from pile-driving during construction. Some have not used their well for 4 years.
  • Before and after tests sent to Laboratories in Michigan show an exponential increase [in] turbidity among the affected wells, including [a] large proportion that can be attributed to black shale particles that are known to contain heavy metals, including uranium, arsenic and lead.
  • An ERT had warned that water wells in that area could be damaged.
  • A professional geologist said: the relationship between the installation of wind turbines and the contamination of wells is obvious. When you have a [pure] water source for years and [transforms] a few days after the construction of an industrial facility. You do not have to be a genius to see that there is a link of cause and effect.
  • He had agreement from geoscientist and geological engineer.
    The project’s owner claims it has nothing to do with the problem.

MOECC’s response — While there’s been an admission that wells have indeed been contaminated, contamination can only be attributed to “unidentified factors.” They maintain that pile-driving activities associated with wind turbine development are not to blame. This conclusion was based on evaluations prepared by the power developer’s consultant.

MOECC say that you should only test your water for bacteria.

Quinte Region Proposed Source Protection Plan Version 8.1 Aug 2012: Section 2.4: “Due to the shallow soil conditions, the entire Quinte area was identified and mapped as a highly vulnerable aquifer. This designation was a direct result of the ease with which a contaminant can move into the underlying fractured bedrock aquifer.” 

Slide 14

  • In 2017 alone, reported in the media:
  • 181 accidents.* Note that there is massive underreporting. RenewableUK confirmed that of 1500 wind turbine accidents and incidents in the UK alone between 2006 and 2011, only 9% are on the global report. So there may have been more like 1800 accidents.

*  http://www.caithnesswindfarms.co.uk/fullaccidents.pdf

But it gives information on a cross-section of accidents: –

  • Of the 181, there were 17 fatal accidents, 13 injury accidents, 16 blade failure (blade or partial blade throws, travelling up to 1 mile), 24 fires, 14 structural failures (storm damage, tower collapse), 19 transport – related (biggest cause of public injury/fatalities, e.g. ram through a house, turbine parts falling off).

Slide 15

  • Turbine collapse in Chatham-Kent January
  • And in Germany, bits of blade travelled over 500 m –yes, the distance to neighbouring houses by Ontario regulations.

Slide 16
CONCLUSION

  • MOECC, MNRF – Apparently – still blind, deaf and dumb regarding turbine effects and violations
  • All rules and regulations can be broken for the precious GEA
  • Compliance is only met only if citizens fight (and pay) for it
  • Feds (Health Canada, Environment Canada) – no better

Justice refuses to give CCSAGE protection from costs and will not compel the government agencies to produce records of their decisions regarding White Pines Wind Development

As members will be aware, CCSAGE, through our lawyer, Alan Whitely, filed motions at the Superior Court in Ottawa last June 14 and 15 regarding our Judicial Review Application. Our motions sought to protect CCSAGE from costs, and to compel the government agencies to produce the records of their decisions regarding the approval of wpd White Pines and the transmission lines. A motion was filed by OEB regarding their removal from the case.
In his decision on these Motions, issued on January 9, 2018, Justice Labrosse essentially denied all of our requests but did allow OEB to be removed from the case.
CCSAGE has studied Justice Labrosse’s decisions and found them to contain numerous errors and misunderstandings. Consequently, we are appealing all the negative decisions to the Divisional court. Both the Labrosse decision and our appeal are posted here. The appeal is actually called a “Notice of Motion to Vary”
We believe our arguments are sound and that our Judicial Review application is more important than ever given the recent political events which make it less certain that the next provincial government will repeal the Green Energy Act.

Anyone who wishes to read Justice Labrosse’s decision and the reasons for our lawyers appeal of that decision will find them on the Legal Issues page on this site.