It has been clear for too long that Ontario’s environmental assessment process is a farce. For example:
- The MOECC accepted the proponent’s Environmental Impact Study, which claimed a net benefit, even though it didn’t even try to assess the negative impacts.
- For their environmental assessment, the proponent made many commitments that their proposed generating station would not rise above road level, it would not have a larger footprint, and it would not impact heritage landscapes. They will not honour any of these.
- For their proposal, the proponent made commitments such as they would not impact in-water recreation. They would not honour these either.
But now we know what kind of farce it is – a political farce. Look at the status of the following seven controversial proposed electricity generation projects:
- The first three, in ridings held by Liberals were cancelled.
- The next four, all in ridings held by the Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario, have been approved by the Ontario Liberal government.
|Proposed project||Local MPP at the time||Status|
|Oakville gas-fired generating station||Liberal, Kevin Flynn, Oakville||Cancelled by Ontario Liberal government.|
|Mississauga gas-fired generating station||Liberal, Charles Sousa, Mississauga South||Cancelled by Ontario Liberal government as part of an election promise.|
|Thunder Bay wind turbines (Big Thunder wind project)||Liberal, Bill Mauro, Thunder Bay-Atikokan||Cancelled by MOECC.|
|South River hydro-electric generating station||PC, Norm Miller, Parry Sound-Muskoka||Approved by MOECC, currently in operation.|
|Almonte hydro-electric generating station||PC, Jack MacLaren, Carleton-Mississippi Mills||Approved by MOECC, currently under construction.|
|Collingwood wind turbines (Fairview wind project)||PC, Jim Wilson, Simcoe-Grey||Approved by MOECC, but cancelled after six teams of lawyers and more than $1,800,000 of legal fees for appeal to the Environmental Review Tribunal, that agreed the eight 45-storey-tall wind turbines too close to two airports would be a danger to human life – which the MOECC had refused to accept.|
|Bala hydro-electric generating station||PC, Norm Miller, Parry Sound-Muskoka||Environmental Assessment approved by MOECC, who have stated they expect to issue the required Environmental Compliance Approval “in the near future”.|
Clearly, there are political forces here which are subverting the MOECC from fulfilling its mandate.