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Ontario wins court ruling on wind turbines

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In Energy
Mar 4th, 2011
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by John Spears Toronto Star Mar 03 2011
Ontario acted properly in setting regulations for the placement of large wind turbines, an Ontario court has decided.
A Superior Court of Justice panel has rejected an application from anti-wind activists. They had sought to strike down regulations governing how close turbines can be erected to dwellings.
Turbines must be located at least 550 metres from dwellings. But the anti-wind groups had argued that the province had no scientific basis for setting that standard.
If their application to strike down the 550-metre setback had succeeded, it might have halted further development of wind power in Ontario.
But the court ruled that the province’s environment department had followed due process in creating the setback.
There was public consultation, and the government considered “science-based evidence” in making its decision, it said.
“It is not the court’s function to question the wisdom of the minister’s decision, or even whether it was reasonable,” the court ruled Thursday.
“If the minister followed the process mandates by the Environmental Bill of Rights, his decision is unassailable on a judicial review application.”
The anti-wind groups had argued that the health effects of living close to big turbines are unknown, and as a precaution, development should be curtailed until better information is available.
But the court said persons living close to turbines do have a remedy if they are fearful. The Environmental Review Tribunal can consider the placement of turbines on a case-by-case basis, the court ruled.

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