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Blatant conflict of interest on MNR land

The letter below was sent to the editors of the Toronto Star who chose not to print it:

BLATANT CONFLICT OF INTEREST ON MNR LAND
Garth Manning, Terry Sprague, Jim McPherson

Gilead Power’s proposed wind factory at Ostrander Point in Prince Edward County places MNR in a clear conflict of interest. Quite apart from the mindless stupidity of locating it athwart the largest internationally recognised migration path in Ontario, from the killing of endangered species on the ground and from an egregious breach of the Ministry of Natural Resources’ own mission statement, this conflict taints the project to such a degree that it could well be struck down on application to the Courts.

Under the Green Energy Act, Gilead Power requires permits from two separate Ministries of the Ontario government to construct and operate its wind factory, one of them being MNR, which happens to own the land upon which the 9 massive turbines are proposed. MNR will also sell additional land to Gilead upon which will be located a sub-station.

The turbines are scheduled to operate for 20 years, with an option to extend that term for an additional 15 years, thus potentially 35 years in total. Gilead during that period will of course receive the taxpayer-funded inflated feed-in-tariff.

But there’s another side to the story. MNR, as landlord, will presumably receive rent for each turbine during each of those years, but the detail is not publicly available. In addition, MNR will be paid by Gilead for the land for the sub-station – again, the detail is not available.

Thus, directly to facilitate the receipt by MNR of these potentially astounding amounts, MNR itself issues one of the permits to Gilead permitting Gilead to operate and to receive the public funds from which it will pay MNR its equivalent of a golden handshake. It is difficult to conceive of a more direct conflict of interest, one that goes to the heart of and should void the entire transaction.

With all of the other mistakes already made by Queen’s Park on this disgraceful project, recognition of this very direct conflict of interest should at long last convince the Ontario government to disallow it and let us all move on.

Garth Manning, QC, Hillier
Terry Sprague, Professional Interpretive Naturalist, Demorestville
Jim McPherson, PEng, Milford

* * *

The Prince Edward County Field Naturalists, founded in 1997, is an affiliate of Ontario Nature. It provides an educational forum dedicated to the study, promotion, appreciation and conservation of the flora and fauna within Prince Edward County. The public is welcome at the meetings held on the last Tuesday of the month from September to May, except December, at Bloomfield Town Hall. Guest speakers introduce a variety of nature related topics. All members are encouraged to participate at meetings by sharing their experiences and observations. Regularly scheduled field trips in the vicinity offer members the opportunity to experience various habitats. Membership in PECFN is open to all. Contact: Prince Edward County Field Naturalists, P.O. Box 477, Bloomfield, Ontario K0K 1G0 Or Cheryl Anderson 613-471-1096

Filed Under: News from Everywhere Else

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  1. Doris Lane says:

    PETER The Toronto Srar is a Liberal oriented paper and the writer of your article is not a well known one
    If there was a big shortish of electricity in the last 10 years why did they not use Lennox
    Check the wind watch on coubty live IWT’s are not producing much electricity
    Wind is not the answer to more electricity–it is not reliable and can not be stored. all we can due with it is pay the states or quebec to take our surplus sound economic policy eh

  2. PEter says:

    http://www.thestar.com/news/article/1214702–these-days-hydro-can-laugh-at-the-heat?bn=1

    The link above leads to a Toronto Star article now on http://www.thestar.com. In a strange way, from my perspective, the article sheds light on “the why” industrial turbines are coming to Prince Edward County. The decision was decided upon a long, long time ago. As a matter of fact, discussions began post 911 and the Ontario blackout of 2003.

    Here are a few quotes from the article worth a look…

    The year before it was even worse, to the point that energy officials pleaded with the public to reduce their energy use — 13 times, in fact.
    Source: thestar.com

    “In 2005 and 2006, we were relying on our neighbours to import power to help meet demands here,” said Terry Young, vice-president of the Independent Electricity System Operator, which oversees Ontario’s power system.
    Source: thestar.com

    “In those days we used to watch the levels fly past 25,000 megawatts,” Young said, laughing at the days when, like air traffic controllers, his team would have to order more electricity from over the border.
    Source: thestar.com

    Supply is up and demand is down, which is due to a confluence of factors.

    “We’ve got more gas generation, more nuclear generation and more renewable generation,” Young said of the supply side.
    Source: thestar.com

    The energy situation in Ontario is still absolutely volatile. For now, energy flows. Why? Demand is down. Conservation measures are helping. Renewable energy generation is helping. However, should demand peak at over 27, 000 megawatts, the situation changes dramatically. It is still a reality for Ontario that we may have to depend on the Americans for power should we be forced with shortages. The minute that happens, national security becomes a huge concern… vulnerabilities surface, and quickly. In other words, it’s simply not acceptable. Ontario has committed to energy generation targets via our involvement with NERC… and it would appear that they will be honored at any cost.

    My friends, unfortunately everything I’m seeing and studying suggest the turbines are coming to Prince Edward County. I respect and understand the approach of naturalists re protecting significant birding areas, etc. By the way, I support them. However, I don’t think it’s going to make a bit of difference. Unfortunately or fortunately, depending on which side of the debate you stand on, energy is an issue of national security. And when it comes to issues of national security, nothing makes sense. It doesn’t have to. National security issues trump all!

    Perhaps a different approach is in order. Is it time we start asking different questions?

  3. Paul Cole says:

    Just to clarify my position and why I posted to this thread my concerns are for the First Nations Homelands and territory where the Ring of Fire is located and where the majority of mining claims are staked some 35.000 claims.Although Communities in the First Nations Territory are not opposed to developments such as the Ring of Fire in their territory they do wish to be part of the decision making process and with the changes to the environmental legislation included in Bill C-38 part of the Federal Conservative Omnibus bill which changes the environmental assessment review process,that would violate the federal government’s obligation to consult with First Nations and accommodate First Nation Treaty and Aboriginal rights.

  4. Doris Lane says:

    Of course the Star would not orint it as it is a Liberal oriented paper–Maybe the Globe or National Post
    The letter written by the 3 outstanding gentlemen brings out points that most of us do not realize.
    It is truly a dreadful thing that is happening in Ontario and in Canada. GREED by everyone the governments and some land owners is the name of the game

  5. Paul Cole says:

    The Federal Conservatives are easing environmental assesment laws as well which many feel are directly related to the Alberta Oil Sands project as well as a Chromite mining projects located in Northern Ontario’s Ring of fire.

    “In the final analysis, Bill C-38 just doesn’t make the grade,” says Jessica Clogg, Executive Director & Senior Counsel, West Coast Environmental Law Association. “Absent from Bill C-38, which replaced the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act with a new and less comprehensive law, are virtually every one of the safeguards required for a safe and effective approach to environmental assessment of resource projects.”

    So it seems Mr Harpers Conservatives are up to dirty tricks too. “Transparency” and “The Harper Conservatives” cannot be used in the same sentence.

  6. virginia says:

    Of course, if it was federal Conservatives, things would be so much better, wouldn’t they? likely scenario, that

  7. Chris Keen says:

    I, for one, do not expect transparency from a government that attempted to use the dubious mechanism of an omnibus budget bill to gut the province’s environmental and endangered species acts. “Transparency” and “the McGuinty liberals” cannot be used in the same sentence.

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