Opponents file appeal against McLean’s Mountain wind approval

LITTLE CURRENT—The Manitoulin Coalition for Safe Energy Alternatives (MCSEA) has announced it has filed an appeal against the Ministry of Environment’s (MOE) Renewable Energy Approval that was granted last month to Northland Power’s (NPI) McLean’s Mountain wind farm project, which gave the project the go-a-head on the 24-unit wind farm.

“The Manitoulin Coalition has applied for a ‘stay of approval’ of the MOE directors’ decision though land clearing for the project and potential construction will continue throughout the Environmental Review Tribunal (ERT) appeal process for this green energy project,” a press release from MCSEA spokesperson Ray Beaudry stated on Monday. “The organization, which advocates for local residents in the project area and elsewhere on Manitoulin, has retained renowned environmental lawyer Eric Gillespie to advise MCSEA.”

The press release also notes that, “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.”

The Expositor contacted the office of Minister Bradley regarding the appeal and received this response. “As the matter may be coming before the minister for his decision on an appeal, it would be inappropriate for him to comment,” said Lyndsay Miller, press secretary with Mr. Bradley’s office.

The Expositor also spoke with McLean’s Mountain wind farm project manager Rick Martin regarding the appeal.

“Yes, MCSEA has filed an appeal,” Mr. Martin confirmed. “Since a formal appeal has been launched, all I can comment is that we will be following the process.”

Mr. Martin previously told to The Expositor that the project was prepared to begin tree removal immediately, something that had to be done prior to migrating birds returning to nest in the spring.

As to how the project may be delayed by the appeal, Mr. Martin did not comment.

“The coalition will base its case on recent studies which has shown the potential for serious harm to human health for those residents within 1,400 metres,” explained Mr. Beaudry. “In addition, they will protest several process-related issues related to improper location of potential receptors and land rights of use for non participants in the project.”

“The lack of consultation with members of First Nations communities who have treaty rights to the area are also not recognized by this tribunal,” added Mr. Beaudry.

With an appeal made by MCSEA, the issue will now go towards the ERT who will determine the future of the McLean’s Mountain wind farm project.

Robin Burridge