21 Feb 2011 04:02:09
CELA criticises offshore wind moratorium
The Canadian Environmental Law Association (CELA) has criticised the Ontario government's recent decision to impose a moratorium on processing applications for offshore wind power.
In particular, CELA is critical of the reported rationale for the moratorium. The association highlighted that the Minister of the Environment, John Wilkinson, has stated in media interviews that the reason for the moratorium is due to "lack of science", and in particular, he cites a concern about the safety of the drinking water of millions of people in the Great Lakes.
He states that given that lack of science, the government is acting in a "precautionary" manner. For its part, the association is of the view that this is not an appropriate application of the precautionary principle. That principle is about taking action when incomplete but credible evidence points to the potential for serious or irreversible harm to the environment and human health.
"Applying precaution is not about responding to a 'lack of science' but about taking action in the face of uncertain but deeply troubling scientific information," stated Theresa McClenaghan, executive director and counsel with CELA.
In fact, CELA said it is not aware of any serious or credible evidence of risks to drinking water from offshore wind turbines.
CELA and others have been calling on the government to establish the Great Lakes Drinking Water Advisory Committee provided for in the legislation covering drinking water source protection – the Clean Water Act. That legislation, according to the association, provides for such a committee to establish Great Lakes drinking water targets. It added that to date the government has not moved ahead with this advisory committee.
27 Apr 2011
In view of the hundreds of cases of human health problems resulting from inadequate wind turbine setbacks on land (ie. Hanna Case), does CELA agree that the "Precautionary principle" should be applied to all wind based turbine installations? The fact that anecdotal evidence provides the basis of all medical diagnosis and is the driving force for further research into health problems seems to be dismissed by the MOE as unimportant. I can understand CELA's opposition to Minister Wilkinson's moratorium based on "lack of science", however I would expect CELA to support a moratorium on all land based turbine installations until research is done on human health side effects due to insufficient setbacks.