Toronto, Ont. – Today’s court ruling quashing Minister Yurek’s hasty cancellation of a wind power project is a victory for the rule of law and the environment.
Jeff Yurek, Ontario Minister of Environment, Conservation and Parks, cited concern for local endangered bats as the reason for the abrupt cancellation of the Nation Rise Wind Farm in late 2019. Scientists disputed his claim, concluding in expert testimony that there was no undue risk to endangered bats or to the surrounding environment. Today, the Ontario Superior Court of Justice (Divisional Court) agreed, ruling that the Minister’s rationale was riddled with errors and lacking in evidence.
Energy decisions are crucial in building a healthy, climate-safe future. These decisions must be based on evidence, not bias, and we’re glad to see this upheld in a court of law. It’s unfortunate that this reversal occurred after over 200 workers were laid off from the project in December 2019, and after hundreds of millions of public dollars were spent to cancel many other renewable energy projects in Ontario. These public funds could be put to much better use, particularly in our current state of emergency.
Moving forward, we hope that the Ontario government will take the time to consult the evidence and experts when considering clean energy projects. Renewables, including wind and solar power, are now the lowest cost form of new electricity generation in Canada. It’s time to come together to build climate change solutions instead of fighting them.
About ENVIRONMENTAL DEFENCE (www.environmentaldefence.ca): Environmental Defence is a leading Canadian advocacy organization that works with government, industry and individuals to defend clean water, a safe climate and healthy communities.
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