September 15th, 2015
Hon. Bill Mauro
6th FL Rm 6630
99 Wellesley St W
Toronto ON M7A 1W3
I’m writing you today to discuss the revelations from last week at the Environmental Review Tribunal held in the town of Demorestville. While ERTs would not typically be the purview of the Ministry of Natural Resources, evidence has come to light that pertains to previous actions of the Ministry with which I am taking issue today.
Joe Crowley, a species-at-risk expert in your Ministry testified in front of the ERT that he recommended against granting a Kill, Harm and Harass Permit for the Ostrander Point project in Prince Edward County. Mr. Crowley’s direct quotation was as follows:
“I expressed significant concerns with the fact the roads, because they were open to the public, would have a relatively high risk of road mortality for Blanding’s turtle, comparatively to the current risk now…So I did express concerns about the potential level of mortality on the road.”
Now, there is absolutely precedent for the Ministry of Natural Resources refusing to issue a Kill, Harm and Harass permit on the basis of views that the Ministry views as legitimate.
As you well know, in September of 2011, the Big Thunder wind project that was planned for your riding of Thunder Bay-Atikokan and your predecessor refused to grant a permit to kill, harm and harass peregrine falcons on the site of that project.
In fact, the Minister’s own words at the time were "I don’t know how the proponent could satisfy the conditions to allow my Ministry to issue a permit to allow the project to proceed. I am not prepared to issue a permit at this time, nor do I understand how a permit could be issued for this site."
What I am asking for is that the same standard that was applied to your riding and your constituents be applied to my riding and my constituents. Your own expert has stated that he recommended against issuing a Kill, Harm and Harass permit for this site. The only way that this project could have been allowed to go ahead over the recommendation of Ministry experts is through political intervention.
Therefore, I am requesting the following. First, that you revoke that Kill, Harm and Harass permit that was granted to Gilead Power for the Ostrander Point project planned for Prince Edward County. Second, that you make public all documentation and correspondence pertaining to Mr. Crowley’s recommendation to the Minister and the subsequent documentation and correspondence that led to the Ministry making a decision that ran contrary to the advice of its in-house experts.
You and your ministerial colleagues have consistently, in the House, deferred to Ministry staff and recommendations when discussing the approval of individual projects. However, it is clear that in this instance, the recommendation was ignored. The people of Prince Edward County have been denied equal protection by the government when such protection has been granted to other communities in identical circumstances. It is time this was rectified.
Todd Smith, MPP