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Re: “NIMBYism, ideological myopia are behind scandal” Letter to the Editor, Toronto Star, April 16, 2013

April 16, 2013

The Editors

The Toronto Star

1 Yonge St.

Toronto, Ontario

Dear Sirs


Re: "NIMBYism, ideological myopia are behind scandal" Martin Cohn's nostalgia for the good old days of Ontario Power Generation's (OPG) predecessor Ontario Hydro's experience in siting electricity facilities ignores some important historical realities. None of the power plants, including the three nuclear power facilities, developed by Ontario Hydro were ever subject to any form of public consultation or meaningful independent review. Indeed Ontario Hydro's high-handedness in planning and locating its facilities was a major factor behind that adoption of the Environmental Assessment Act, which incorporated extensive requirements for public consultation, in 1975, - although Ontario Hydro then promptly obtained an exemption from the act for the Darlington nuclear power plant. Keep in mind also the consequences of the lack of adequate oversight and review of Hydro's plans - a liability of $38 billion, much of which is still being paid for though the "debt retirement charge" on Ontario electricity ratepayers' bills. The Ontario Hydro monopoly model for electricity system planning and operation ended in failure; the political management model that led to the gas plant decisions is equally flawed. Ontario needs a electricity planning framework with clearly articulated long-term goals that advance energy sustainability and that provides for rigourous, independent public reviews of plans and major decisions before are finalized. OPG's recent commitment of nearly $1 billion to the refurbishment of the Darlington facility, a project for which there again has been no meaningful external review despite serious questions about its rationale and the availability of alternatives, again highlights this need.


Yours sincerely,

Mark S. Winfield, Ph.D. Associate Professor

Chair, Sustainable Energy Initiative

York University