The Environmental Review Tribunal dismissed this appeal on March 20, 2018
In reviewing all of the evidence including the Appellant’s Notice of Appeal, the Appellant’s witness statements and the issues proposed to be raised by the participants, the Tribunal ruled that there was nothing in the evidence that alleges any harm caused specifically by the amendment to the Renewable Energy Approval, which provided the option of using an alternate transformer and added flexibility to reduce the voltage of the project’s interconnection line.
As such, the Tribunal found that the Notice of Appeal failed to meet the requirements of the Environmental Protection Act or the Tribunal Rules for appealing Renewable Energy Approvals, and should be struck. Further, the Tribunal concluded that the appeal should be dismissed for lack of jurisdiction.
Other Relevant Information
The full text of the decision may be available by accessing the Environment & Land Tribunals Ontario website at elto.gov.on.ca.
Application for Appeal:
On December 6, 2017, the Alliance to Protect Prince Edward County (the “Appellant”) appealed the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change’s (MOECC) decision to amend the renewable energy approval (REA) no. 2344-9R6RWR granted to wpd White Pines Wind Incorporated. The amendment is for the inclusion of flexibility to reduce the voltage of the project’s interconnection line from 69kV to 44kV, as well as reduce the voltage and megavolt amperes (MVA) rating of the project’s southern transformer substation to 44kV (from 69kV) and 20 MVA (from 65 MVA), respectively.
Grounds for Appeal:
The Appellant asserts several grounds to demonstrate that engaging in the renewable energy project will cause serious harm to human health, including:
- Placement of the transformer substation and access road adjacent to a residence, their water supply and agricultural operation will cause serious harm to human health.
The Appellant also asserts grounds to demonstrate that engaging in the renewable energy project will cause serious and irreversible harm to plant life, animal life or the natural environment, including:
- The Renewable Energy Approval for the White Pines Wind project and the associated monitoring, avoidance and mitigation undertakings to protect the natural environment have not been completely updated and amended to reflect changes made to the project or proposed to be made to the project.
- The Operational Mitigation Plans and the Additional Avoidance and Mitigation Plans for the White Pines Wind project have not been updated or amended to reflect the changes made to the project. These Operational Mitigation Plans and Additional Avoidance and Mitigation Plans are now obsolete and require amendment.
- The MOECC Director is allowing the Additional Avoidance and Mitigation Plans to be modified without amending the REA or allowing an appeal on the amendments to the REA.
- The Director and/or the Approval Holder have misapplied the spatial extent of the Blanding's turtle habitat within the project area. As a result, construction, maintenance, and other activities associated with the project is likely to occur during prohibited periods which will cause serious and irreversible harm to the Blanding's turtle.
- As a result, the Blanding's turtle habitat the avoidance, monitoring, and mitigation measures within the REA will not be properly implemented. Incompletely implemented avoidance, monitoring and mitigation measures will cause serious and irreversible harm to the Blanding's turtle.
- The Operational Mitigation Plan to address the serious and irreversible harm to the Little brown bat is obsolete.
The Appellant requests that the Environmental Review Tribunal:
- Amend or alter the Renewable Energy Approval to define Blanding's turtle habitat as all of the areas in the southern area of the project site.
- Alter the location of the transformer substation away from residences and agricultural operations and to an area within the project site.
- Clarify the restoration of the project sites cleared but no longer part of the project.
- Issue a stay on construction until the Renewable Energy Approval has been completely updated and amended.
More information on this appeal application is available by accessing the Environment & Land Tribunals Ontario website at elto.gov.on.ca. Click on the “ERT” link in the upper right-hand corner, then select “Case Search” and search for case number 17-074.