A Prince Edward County resident has filed an application for judicial review of Ontario's Green Energy and Green Economy Act of 2009 (GEA), based on the Precautionary Principle as it applies to industrial wind turbine installations.
The application claims there is more than sufficient scientific uncertainty surrounding wind development in the province to allow Ontario's courts to strike down key portions of the legislation until proper health studies have been carried out.
‘The Green Energy Act [of 2009] and its regulations clearly do not appear to meet the requirements of law in the province of Ontario,’ says the lawyer, Eric Gillespie, who represents Ian Hanna, the Ontario resident who brought the complaint.
The Ontario government has proposed building a five-turbine wind farm within 900 meters of the resident's home on Big Island, Prince Edward County.
The Ontario government recently released the final four steps of the GEA, which included the establishment of minimum setbacks for wind turbine projects, as part of the Renewable Energy Approval process. The setbacks are 550 meters for one to five wind turbines, with distances increasing with the number and the sound-level rating of turbines.
According to the Canadian Broadcasting Corp., George Smitherman, minister of energy and infrastructure, has dismissed the case.
‘It's not a surprise that a group that has been so vocal in their opposition would seek some other redress, and of course we'll do our bit to defend that,’ he says, referring to the Alliance to Protect Prince Edward County, an organization that opposes utility-scale wind turbines on Prince Edward County.
Smitherman's comments notwithstanding, John Laforet, president of Wind Concerns Ontario, says local opposition to Ontario wind projects will continue.
‘I am hopeful the legal system will be able to address the concerns Hanna has outlined in his application and uphold the precautionary principle as a matter of law in Canada, says Laforet. ‘It is clear the wind industry will have one hell of a fight on its hands in the province of Ontario and residents do not intend to back down anytime soon.’
SOURCES: The Alliance to Protect Prince Edward County, Canadian Broadcasting Corp.