I have spent months (since Aug 1) organizing the appeal of the Adelaide 38 turbine wind project to the Environmental Review Tribunal, that was approved in my township. Days on end (I had to quit working at the plant nursery), at the computer, the phone, from 6 in the morning til 10 at night. Appeals, witness statements, piles of disclosure, scheduling, motions upon motions….it just goes on and on. Incredibly intense. Like nothing I’ve ever done before. But I had a wonderful group of generous witnesses – brilliant, supportive people who put their ALL into this appeal. For this, I felt really humbled.
What happened was this: on a Thursday evening (Oct 10) a pile (foot high, I kid you not) of motions was dumped on me by NextEra and the Min of Environment – all aimed at eliminating almost every single witness I had carefully brought into the appeal. Amazingly, or maybe not, none of these motions overlapped with each other— NextEra chewed away at a specific list of witnesses, while the MOE ate up the rest. You’d think they would have some similar motions if they weren’t ‘working together.’ I was to respond by Tuesday (Oct 15) to this stack of papers. At the hearing I was able to get a whole whopping ONE day extension where I fought by teleconference for 3 of my witnesses. Two and a half hours on the phone; one hour of me speaking.
Yesterday evening, a day after the motions were heard, an order was issued that said I lost every motion. This really shouldn’t be a surprise to me or anyone (even the lawyers say we can’t win with the ERT anymore), but the reality of the ‘appeal process’ is pretty damn clear now. Something is rotting, and we are being told to eat it.
If you saw your witnesses be struck off like this, what would you do?
Dr. Sarah Laurie (Australia)– they have removed the “Dr.” from her name, even though she has a medical degree, and practiced as a doctor, but doesn’t now due to family illness – how does this make Ontarians feel that we have done this to Sarah?? Shouldn’t we be up in arms over this alone? No reasons have been given from the ERT for not qualifying her as a doctor, they just made the decision. She sits with her testimony, from other recent ERTs, in purgatory.
Mike McCann (Chicago real estate appraiser) – Struck off from being able to speak to the numbers that he sees showing human habitat destruction where wind turbines are installed. All because Nexterror argues humans aren’t animals…if we were turtles we would get a voice. I’m not exaggerating – this was the argument made, and amazingly won.
Ben Lansink (London real estate appraiser) – Struck for the same reasons as Mike.
Larry Swart – (resident affected by turbines) – Struck as a witness because he wouldn’t give the lawyers ALL of his medical records, prescriptions, doctor notes etc.
William Palmer –Professional Engineer Testimony limited. Not allowed to speak to health and safety concerns, even though as a professional engineer, he MUST alert officials if he sees a situation where harm is happening or will happen.
Rick James – (Michigan acoustician) – Testimony limited. Not allowed to speak to health impacts from noise, even though THAT is what acousticians do – calculate the noise that affects people!
Still on the chopping block and not decided yet:
Dr. Nina Pierpont (New York) – she WROTE the book Wind Turbine Syndrome – and yet, that doesn’t seem to be good enough for the other side. They want her testimony struck because she didn’t write out her testimony word for word, which isn’t required or necessary. Even so, I have no faith that the ERT will let her speak.
Harvey Wrightman, Larry Cook – to speak to wind leases – the stress caused by the wind developers on landowners, the unethical leases that bind people into contracts signing their health and their family’s health away. These will be struck too, on Tuesday, if I stick around.
Kathryn Minten (Organic Dairy farmer) had asked to have Party Status with 5 witnesses lined up. She was to speak to stray voltage. The ERT downgraded her to just a presenter – no witnesses allowed. This was only decided a few days ago — no explanation as to why.
That leaves us with 2 witnesses: me, and Muriel. No kidding. Do you believe this? Do. And I hope you are as spitting mad as me.
So do I slog through their system, just to say I did it, or do we throw it back in their face and call them out for the corrupt system they are? Remember — MONTHS of work was put into this appeal, doing it all ‘correctly’, with a budget of zero dollars and a lot of well written pro-bono work from these witnesses, and the ERT had the ability to throw out the vast majority of my testimony the day before the hearing starts, without any reasons noted.
We must protest. Don’t worry about me losing this appeal — they’ve killed it already.
I need your help on very short notice:
The first day of the hearing is to consist of Opening Statements, and more motion madness against our side.
Date: Tuesday October 15th
Place: Middlesex County Office, 399 Ridout Street North, London MAP
Can you please come – bring signs, bring voices, bring cameras, video cameras – and let’s protest the ERT once and for all. No more worrying about offending the ERT, they’ve basically made their decision already. Unlike judges, they always get to make their decisions without facing the people, safely tucked away in Toronto — and save for Ostrander’s turtle, it has never been in favour of the people.
Many of you have been through unfair ERTs (I’ve been to many, and an appellant at several now.) Many are currently faced with them with all the new approvals in the last few months, or in the near future. How can we continue to have any faith in this brutal system? How can we continue to let this happen? When you are told, “You have an opportunity to appeal the Ministry’s decision,” is this what we call an “opportunity”?
Please help spread the word. We have nothing to lose anymore, and we need your faces there!!