A Big Island resident, Ian Hanna, launched judicial review today to block renewable energy approvals under the regulations recently adopted to implement Bill 150, the Green Energy Act. Mr. Hanna argues that it is contrary to the precautionary principle to allow wind energy development in Ontario without further study of its alleged health effects. He claims that the regulation is therefore contrary to the Ministry of the Environment’s Statement of Environmental Values, and should be struck down.
Mr. Hanna is supported by Dr. Robert McMurtry, former Dean of Medicine at the University of Western Ontario, who claims that noise and low frequency sound are already causing adverse health effects on more than 100 people, and who wants all existing wind generation shut down.
The judicial review application is a very long shot, and it is extremely improbable that it will succeed. No Ontario regulation has ever been struck down on the ground that it conflicts with a statement of environmental values, which is a generally worded, subordinate instrument traditionally given less importance than a regulation. To do so, the court would have to decide it is better suited than the Legislature to balance the various harms caused by each form of electrical generation – a classic political decision. However, the application will redouble pressure on the Ministry of the Environment approvals branch as it struggles to meet the Minister’s promise of a six-month service guarantee to issue renewable energy approvals. Its main impact may be in making it more difficult for wind energy developers to obtain financing for projects in Ontario, especially with so much appetite for wind development in Europe and the United States.