Ontario's Environmental Review Tribunal will hear final arguments this Thursay and Friday in the case of Erickson v. Director, Ministry of the Environment. Katie Erickson is appealing the decision of the MOE to grant a Renewable Energy Approval for the proposed 20 MW Kent Breeze wind farm.

The ERT expects to issue a decision on July 18 (which was later than expected as a result of an adjournment to accommodate personal circumstances of counsel).

The grounds of the appeal are that the low-frequency sound and vibrations emitted by the project will harm people. Specifically, the issues raised in the appeal are the following:

  1. Will the project as approved cause serious harm to human health of (a) non-participants and/or (b) participants?
  2. Will the project as approved cause serious harm to human health if the approval authority is unable to predict, measure or assess sound from the facilities including audible noise and/or low frequency noise and/or infrasound?
  3. Does the approval comply with the approval authority's Statement of Environmental Values? (the ERT previously ordered that this third issue be struck from the notice of appeal, but agreed that the substance of the issue may still be considered)

A similar line of attack was taken in Ian Hanna's judicial review of the REA regulations. Mr. Hanna alleged that the government did not give adequate consideration to the health risks posed by low frequency noise and vibration emitted by wind turbines. The Divisional Court disagreed, holding that the government had conducted full public consultations and had considered science-based evidence in arriving at the 550 metre minimum setback requirements for turbines (although that decision is being appealed).