Environmental Review Tribunal hearing process is dysfunctional
It is easy to offer advice after the fact. I was in that position myself and find it difficult to criticize actions taken for which no precedent existed – more than once we heard from the Environmental Review Tribunal that process would define itself as “experience” was gained.
The awarding of costs to NextEra and the MOE in Mapleton is an abuse of citizens who acted in good faith, following the “process” that was laid out. Awarding costs is nothing but bully tactics. The Ministry of Environment in particular should be ashamed at raiding its own citizens.
Community groups have put forth a serious challenge to the whole wind energy program, turning public opinion on its head outside the urban areas, and creating a great deal of “anxiety” as Chris Bentley admitted to. The government now uses its “last recourse”- call in the bureaucrats and direct them to ram it through. It looks like that is the strategy.
Last week I watched eight lawyers for Samsung sit at the hearing in Cayuga. I watched the MOE lawyers, sitting beside Samsung, confer with Samsung frequently. I watched a fumbling, ineffective ERT panel permit MOE lawyer, Frederika Rotter refer to our people as “so-called witnesses”, not once, but 3 times.
I listened as the Samsung lawyer smugly admit that they would have their “experts” review the 176 “interrogatories” and so set-up an “ambush” of the lay witnesses. The ERT said nothing. In fact that is OK with them. – straight out of Kafka.
When the hearing ended, the ERT panel, the MOE lawyers, and the Samsung gang of eight all drove back to Toronto – SUV’s for Samsung, white, government hybrids for the MOE. No one involved in the decision-making is local.
What people must understand now is that this process is quite dysfunctional.
I’m going to the ERT on Monday, September 24th (Bill Monture’s day). I would urge as many others as possible to attend also, from all over Ontario. These people should know that we won’t accept having it rammed down our throats.