Ontario Court Rules Windmill Setback “Precautionary”
Toronto, ON – The Ontario Divisional Court today rejected claims that the government failed to heed the ‘precautionary principle’ in enacting 550 metre setbacks for terrestrial windmills. The “Renewable Energy Approvals Regulation” under the Environmental Protection Act came into effect in October 2009 and was challenged as inconsistent with the Ontario Environmental Bill of Rights that establishes a precautionary approach to decision making.
The court ruled, however, that the government conducted full public consultation and did actively consider science based evidence such as World Health Organization reports and analysis of acoustic engineering experts. The court also found no evidence that the 550 metre setback is inadequate.
“Today’s ruling is a clear message that Ontario is taking a measured approach to windmill siting, while phasing out coal pollution and that we must continue on the path of providing home-grown clean energy while creating jobs across the province,” said Dr. Rick Smith, Executive Director of Environmental Defence.
“This is great news for Ontarians and one that will play an important role in getting rid of dirty coal, which is a real threat to Ontarian’s health,” said Kristopher Stevens, Executive Director, Ontario Sustainable Energy Association.
“Ontario’s Green Energy Act has been recognized as a world leader because it incorporates international best practices, like the 550 meter setback,” said Deborah Doncaster, Executive Director, Community Power Fund. 
“The ruling affirms that the 550m setback is safe for today’s wind tower designs, but we should continue to monitor and improve our understanding – using the latest science – as the technology evolves,” said Don McCabe, Vice-President, Ontario Federation of Agriculture.
About the Green Energy Act Alliance: The Alliance’s vision is to make Ontario a global leader in green energy development through the use of renewable energy, distributed energy and conservation, creating thousands of jobs, economic prosperity, and energy security, while ensuring climate protection. Member groups include: Ontario Sustainable Energy Association, Community Power Fund, David Suzuki Foundation, Environmental Defence, United Steelworkers, First Nations Energy Alliance, Ivey Foundation, Ontario Federation of Agriculture and the Pembina Institute.
For more information or to arrange an interview, please contact:
Stephanie Kohls, Environmental Defence, 416-323-9521 ext. 232; 647-280-9521 (cell);