Report on Remedy Hearing for White Pines wind project
Cross-examination of wpd witnesses on September 29, 2016
by Paula Peel
APPEC legal counsel Eric Gillespie questioned Mr. Taylor on a series of exhibits from the Amherst Island ERT, where Mr. Taylor recently testified for the wind developer. Mr. Gillespie’s questions were repeatedly blocked by wpd’s legal counsel, Mr. Duffy who indicated that wpd would object to any document that Mr. Gillespie referred to from the Amherst Island ERT. Mr. Duffy also directed their witness, Mr. Taylor, to not respond to any questions relating to Amherst Island, even the simple question whether one of the issues that came up at those hearing was the location of Blanding’s turtles on the island. The transcript shows twelve refusals by wpd during Mr. Gillespie’s cross-examination of Mr. Taylor. Mr. Gillespie noted that there was no mechanism for dealing with refusals and motions and asked that the cross-examination be adjourned as it would not be productive to proceed with Mr. Taylor at this time.
Mr. Gillespie noted that Dr. Reynold’s original affidavit included a 5-volume set of literature references containing 79 studies and reports and told Dr. Reynolds that APPEC has brought a motion asking the Tribunal to strike out evidence. Mr. Gillespie remarked on the difficulty of a cross-examination on what is essentially over 100 documents at this point in this kind of format and with these time constraints. Mr. Duffy told Mr. Gillespie that this would be the only opportunity Mr. Gillespie would have to cross-examine Dr. Reynolds but Mr. Gillespie replied that this would ultimately be up to the Tribunal to decide.
In the time available Mr. Gillespie was able to sort out a discrepancy between Dr. Reynold’s affidavit and his Literature Cited list involving two missing papers. Mr. Gillespie also questioned Dr. Reynolds on the paper “Bat Mortality Due to Wind Turbines in Canada”. Mr. Gillespie asked Dr. Reynolds if there was anything in that paper that was inconsistent with his own understanding and that he would disagree with. Mr. Duffy directed Dr. Reynolds not to respond and suggested that Mr. Gillespie ask narrow, more focused questions about the paper. Mr. Gillespie responded to the effect that if we were to do that with the over 100 papers that Dr. Reynold produced we would never get anywhere at these hearings, ever. Mr. Gillespie asked that the cross-examination be adjourned as this was as far as it was possible to go given the time constraints. The transcript shows three refusals by wpd during Mr. Gillespie’s cross-examination of Dr. Reynolds.
After confirming Ms. Parre’s position as wpd’s Director of Renewable Energy Approvals, Mr. Gillespie questioned Ms. Parre on the document that had been issued by the provincial government two days earlier entitled “Ontario Suspends Large Renewable Energy Procurement”. Mr. Duffy objected to the admission of this and two other related documents, citing relevance. Mr. Gillespie challenged the timing of the objection, as it was made before Mr. Gillespie had an opportunity to show relevance through questioning of the witness. Mr. Gillespie argued that the relevance was clear enough given the benchmark hearing in the Ostrander Point case, where the Tribunal made it clear that it is completely proper to make submissions around the Ministry’s Statement of Environmental Values (the “SEV”) which includes economic considerations.
Mr. Gillespie asked Ms. Parre if she was aware that on the 27th September that the Ontario government announced that it was suspending any further procurement of large energy projects. Mr. Duffy directed Ms. Parre to refuse to answer that question and any other question on that topic. Mr. Gillespie asked that the cross-examination be adjourned as this was as far as it was possible to go with this witness at this time. The transcript shows three refusals by wpd during Mr. Gillespie’s cross-examination of Ms. Parre.