Stratford Beacon Herald
Randy Pettapiece is keeping up the wind pressure on Premier Dalton McGuinty.
The Perth-Wellington MPP sent a three-page letter to the premier this week outlining the concerns of local constituents about the province’s “damaging and divisive” wind turbine policy.
The open letter summarizes a recent town hall meeting on the issue that Pettapiece hosted in Atwood, during which hundreds turned out to speak their minds about wind turbines, raising issues of health effects, loss of prime agricultural land and an inadequate government consultation process.
There’s a feeling among many people that the province’s energy policy is “disrespectful” toward small and rural communities in Ontario, noted Pettapiece in his letter.
“Many believe that wind-energy projects are dividing neighbour from neighbour. Many of my constituents feel – with good reason, I believe – that their government has turned its back on them, siding with large wind energy companies at the expense of our communities,” he wrote.
The letter calls for McGuinty to back down on the “damaging” aspects of its energy policy, including those that strip municipalities of the power to stop the development of industrial wind turbines where they’re not welcome or where they’re not in keeping with municipal development plans.
“As I have stated many times on behalf of my constituents, your government must restore local decision-making power to give municipalities a voice in wind-energy project decisions,” wrote Pettapiece, pointing specifically to a recently approved wind energy project in Mapleton Township that has generated opposition from residents in the area.
This is not the first time the Perth-Wellington MPP has taken the province to task for its wind turbine policy.
In December he wrote a letter to Environment Minister Jim Bradley seeking an extension on the appeal period for the province’s approval of that 10-turbine installation in Mapleton and criticizing the government for not notifying his office of the approval of the project in his riding.
He said those concerns were “dismissed.”
And prior to the March 14 town hall meeting in Atwood, Pettapiece voted for a PC motion calling for a moratorium on further wind turbine development until third-party economic, health and environmental studies have been completed. That motion was defeated.
“The premier needs to hear, loud and clear, from those most affected by his wind turbines policy,” said Pettapiece. “That’s why I wrote this letter on their behalf.”
The letter was also copied to Bradley and Energy Minister Chris Bentley.