It’s difficult to rule in isolation.
That can be the only conclusion from the latest incident between rural Ontario and those in charge of Ontario’s Green Energy Plan.
How else to explain the almost embarrassing lack of understanding that the Green Energy people have about the potential impact of their decisions in parts of Ontario where wind turbines are to be developed?
The latest wrinkle comes from Chatham-Kent, which happens to lead the province in the number of wind turbines located in a single jurisdiction, and whose residents are bracing to receive even more.
A citizens’ group is now concerned about the potential impact that turbine vibrations will have on rural water wells, in an area where 40 to 50 turbines are to be constructed. They say studies show turbine activity can disrupt groundwater activity, a red flag for those who depend upon water wells for their households and agricultural activities.
Turns out that the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change is prepared for such an eventuality — or they thought they were. The ministry’s approval for the turbine company reads that “an adequate amount of bottled water” must be provided to “the impacted party” should there be a disruption with water well activity.
That’s a lot of bottled water. As one Chatham-Kent farmer told reporters, an average horse can consume two to five cases of water a day.
“How are we supposed to water livestock?” he asked.
It’s likely the ministry wasn’t counting on watering livestock. It was thinking about the water requirements of homeowners. Its bottled water protocol appears to be adequate for that requirement, but agriculture is different, and the amount of water needed by livestock farmers can be staggering.
Part of the problem, as always, is that those who implement the Green Energy Plan are making decisions from Toronto, and those centralized decisions rarely take into account the diversity of challenges faced by residents in rural Ontario.
On the surface, it makes sense that an emergency protocol would demand bottled water for a homeowner whose water source has been disrupted. But it’s a ridiculous response for the farmer responsible for hundreds of thirsty animals.
Yet absurd incongruities are bound to occur when governments rule in isolation. Did the urban-based architects of the Green Energy Plan not realize that the turbines they were approving for rural Ontario might co-exist with agriculture, and that livestock might be included?