We would like to draw your attention to the recent Regulation and Policy Proposal Notices (EBR Reg. No. 012-4493)posted by the MOECC. Many of the proposed amendments are issues that we raised with the MOECC through letters, submission of comments to the registry and in our witness statements to the Environmental Review Tribunal. Now, the ministry is planning to make amendments to the rules governing approval of wind turbine projects and the changes include “fixing” the very same errors we raised. Had these amendments been in place for the NRWC project, the project would have been denied. In other words, they are now planning to change the law to fit this project.
Please submit as many comments to the registry as you wish. Below is a response to some of the proposed amendments. Feel free to copy and paste. The more responses/comments that are submitted, the stronger our case will become. Comments must be submitted to the registry before Sept 18, 2015. MAWTI has also submitted a formal response to this issue through various government agencies.
To see the document outlining proposed changes to the regulations and to submit comments, go to the following link:
After considerable research by MAWTI’s working group, the MOECC was notified that all other jurisdictions used a value of 106 dBA for the sound power level of an Enercon E-101. Suspiciously, NRWC used 104.8 dBA to maintain noise levels at a predicted value of 40.0 dBA which is the maximum allowed. The project would have exceeded the 40 dBA with a higher sound power level. MAWTI efforts in this regard fell on deaf ears. The MOECC is now proposing that the proponent must use sound power levels that are reflective of the value used by other jurisdictions. Therefore the NRWC project (REA #4353-9HMP2R) was evaluated and approved incorrectly by the ministry.
The MOECC now proposes to use the “apparent” sound power level. By definition, the apparent sound power level is determined using several turbine noise tests – not just one test as was used for the NRWC project. MAWTI raised this issue as well and the MOECC dismissed our concerns. Now the MOECC is acknowledging that one test is insufficient. Therefore REA #4353-9HMP2R was evaluated and approved incorrectly by the ministry.
The wind turbine manufacturer recommends that positive uncertainties be included in determining sound levels but no such uncertainties were included for the NRWC project. If the uncertainty factor had been included, the project would have exceeded permissible noise limits and could not have been approved. This issue was raised in correspondence in a multitude of correspondence submitted by MAWTI. With this amendment, the MOECC is now proposing that positive uncertainties be included. Therefore REA #4353-9HMP2R was evaluated and approved incorrectly by the ministry.
The current legislation requires that the sound power level of a wind turbine be rounded to the nearest whole number yet the project was approved with a sound power level of 104.8 dBA. As stated earlier, only a sound power level of 104.8 dBA would fit. The project would have exceeded permissible noise levels if the sound power level had been rounded off to the closest whole number (105 dBA). In response to MAWTI’s concerns with this issue, the MOECC stated that the “rounding” requirement did not apply. In the proposed amendment however, the MOECC states that they are “clarifying” that sound power levels do not need to be rounded to the nearest whole number. Since the MOECC is amending this issue, it is clear that rounding to the closest whole number was required for the NRWC project. Therefore REA #4353-9HMP2R was evaluated and approved incorrectly by the ministry.
At the ERT hearing, none of the above items were allowed to be presented as factual evidence. The MOECC argued that none of the issues were relevant. However, a few months later, the MOECC is acknowledging these very issues and is now attempting the correct them. This would imply that REA #4353-9HMP2R was evaluated and approved incorrectly by the ministry.
The proposed amendment is not retroactive and will only apply after 2016. If the NRWC project were to be submitted after 2016, it would be denied because of harm to human health. The same turbines are presently being erected in our community but since the proposed amendments do not apply retroactively, the MOECC is knowingly allowing for harm to human health. Nothing has changed in regard to the wind turbines, their sound power level, their positioning or the harms to be incurred. The only change occurs in the amendments to the legislation. It is unconscionable of the MOECC to amend the rules to “fix” the gaps and issues identified by the public but at the same time, attempt to indemnify itself by applying the changes only to new projects. Therefore REA #4353-9HMP2R was evaluated and approved incorrectly by the ministry. With the proposed amendments, the MOECC appears to be acknowledging their own errors and is attempting to fix them. However, since the new rules will not apply retroactively, the ministry seems to be clearly dismissing the impact that those errors will have on the health of people within the project area.