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Watermark Movie Fundraiser at Picton’s Regent Theatre

Dear SSC Members,

You are invited to attend a special screening of the award-winning documentary film “Watermark” on Monday, January 13, 2014 at the Regent Theatre in Picton, 7 pm – 9 pm.  Admission $10*.

Cinefest has dedicated the screening of this award winning film to the Ostrander Point Appeal Fund.  The film will be introduced on Skype by producer Jennifer Baichwal.  As an added highlight to the evening County musician and songwriter Suzanne Pasternak will perform her hauntingly beautiful song Midnight Migration.

What better way to start off the New Year!  Let’s do our best to fill the Regent – weather permitting!

Sincerely,

SSC Board

Janice Gibbins, Sandy Goranson, Paula Peel, Beth Harrington

 

* All proceeds from this fundraiser will aid the Prince Edward County Field Naturalists in their legal fight against the Ontario Ministry of the Environment and Gilead Power Corporation.

Ostrander Wind Developer Says Gates will Protect Turtles

From the Wellington Times

by Rick Conroy

The developer seeking to construct nine 50-storey industrial wind turbines at
Ostrander Point is now proposing to erect a series of gates on provincially
owned crown land—in a last ditch maneuver to persuade a provincial court to
overturn an Environmental Review Tribunal decision that took away the
developer’s permit to build the project in a landmark ruling issued earlier
this year.

LANDMARK DECISION

In July, after more than 40 days of hearings, the Tribunal revoked a Ministry
of Environment approval of the project in which Gilead Power Corporation
proposed to develop a nine-turbine wind project on Crown land on the shores of
South Marysburgh. The two member panel ruled that the project would cause
serious and irreversible harm to the Blanding’s turtles that reside in this
rare alvar habitat at Ostrander Point. The Tribunal concluded, too, that
measures proposed by the developer to lessen the impact of the development on the
turtles were untested and unlikely to be effective. Given that the Blanding’s
turtle is an endangered species, they decided the potential harm was too great,
and once inflicted could not be undone.

It was a precedent-setting decision— not since the provincial government had
enacted legislation to reduce the administrative and regulatory hurdles for
wind and solar energy developers had an environmental review tribunal revoked
an approval permit. Conservation groups and environmentalists rejoiced— as did
everyone else opposed to Ontario’s natural heritage being spoiled by 500-foot
towers of carbon and steel structures.

The developer appealed the Tribunal decision, along with the Ministry of
Environment, seeking to uphold the approval of the project.

THE APPEAL

Among other things, the developer and the MOE will argue that the Tribunal
exceeded its jurisdiction. They will argue that the Ministry of Natural
Resources had given the developer the ability to “kill, harm or harass” the
endangered species. And that the Tribunal lacked the authority to second guess
the provincial ministry.

Gilead Power has a lot riding on the appeal, scheduled to be heard in January
in Toronto. It is clearly not willing to risk the outcome of this project on
jurisdictional interpretation. Instead it is seeking to take away the issue
raised by the Tribunal— specifically the well-being of the creatures at the
centre of the Tribunal’s decision—the Blanding’s turtle. Once again, it has the
Ministry of Natural Resources on its side.

On January 20 the developer will seek to present new evidence to the appeal
hearing. Specifically it will ask the court to consider a plan to erect a
series of gates securing access to the road network it wants to build on Crown
land at Ostrander Point.

“Restricting public access to the access roads would also provide enhanced
protection for wildlife, including species at risk, from traffic mortality,”
wrote Mike Lord to the Ontario Ministry of Resources (MNR) in August.

In September a MNR official agreed it would issue a lease of the Crown land to
the developer to enable it to build the fence, pending the approval of the
project. The MNR also sought a “Project Access and Control Plan” for the access
roads. That plan calls for six double swing gates to be erected at key points,
one at the entrance and at five other locations where pre-existing trails
intersect with the proposed access road. The gates would be locked from May 1
to October 15. Gilead staff will monitor and enforce access restrictions.

Gilead staff will report monthly on issues of public motor vehicles bypassing
the gates.

Quoting from the Gilead access control plan: “Project staff will be trained on
how to answer questions from the public regarding the need for gated access on
the Project access roads.”

In its motion the developer will argue that it has taken these steps in order
to resolve the Tribunal’s “stated concern”. They will argue the Tribunal should
have given it the opportunity to address the issue, rather than revoke the
permit. And, that the provincial court should consider this new evidence to
satisfy “natural justice.”

Myrna Wood says the developer and the MOE have come far too late in the process
to present new evidence. Worse, she says, the developer and the MNR struck this
deal with MNR behind closed doors—without any public consultation about this
use of Crown Land.

She argues, too, that a few gates will not eliminate the threat the project
poses to the Blanding’s turtle’s habitat.

“Gilead’s emphasis on road mortality is an attempt to avoid the Tribunal’s main
concern, said Wood. “that is, the destruction of the whole habitat.”

Upping the ante, the developer has also asked the court to make the Prince
Edward County Field Naturalists pay the costs of making its motion should the
Field Naturalist oppose it.

Undeterred, Wood says Gilead’s and MOE’s intimidation tactics have not stopped
her organization so far, nor are they likely to now.

U.S. Audubon Society Alarmed Over Raptor Turbine Kills

The National Audubon Society in the United States has begun a fund-raising campaign to help save the raptors being killed by wind power generation projects in the U.S. Here is a message from Audubon VP Government Relations, Michael Daulton.

The Wind Challenge

Properly-sited wind power is a critical part of America’s clean energy future, and an important part of our strategy for solving the threat of global warming. But wind turbines can be a real threat to eagles and other birds. The same windswept ridges raptors favor for soaring are also ideal places for electricity-generating wind farms. The tip of a giant turbine blade moves faster than 100 mph—much too fast for even an eagle eye to perceive. Thousands of hawks, eagles, and other migrating birds collide with wind turbines every year. The results are almost always fatal.

Audubon was among the first organizations to raise the alarm, and to work to find the right balance between the need for renewable energy and the need to protect amazing birds like the Swainson’s Hawk and the Golden Eagle. Bird-lovers like you have been actively engaged both on the ground and at the federal policy level to protect birds and keep eagles soaring.

  • Audubon experts played a key role on a 22-person federal advisory committee that spent three years developing the first-ever nationwide guidelines aimed at minimizing the threat of wind power to eagles and all other birds.
  • As you read this, an Audubon team in Washington D.C. is in active negotiations with the wind energy industry, the White House and key federal agencies to forge a permitting process directed solely at the conservation of eagles.

Meanwhile, Audubon members are leading the fight to oppose poorly-sited wind farms and to guide wind power away from vulnerable bird habitats. Local chapters, like Golden Gate Audubon in California, have won landmark victories for birds at places like Altamont Pass in central California and other sites where turbines put eagles and other raptors at risk. These are the real heroes of Audubon, who inspire me every day by making a real difference for birds like the Golden Eagle.
We object to the idea that wind power generation is the answer to the need for power in anything but an industrial application, but we applaud the recognition of the serious and probably irreversible harm to the natural environment.
For more information, go to the website at: http://www.audubon.org


From a post by  Wind Concerns Ontario Blog

Victory for Preservation of Ostrander Point

Posted on

Blanding's Turtle winsSouth Marysburgh ON/July 9, 2013  The South Shore Conservancy congratulates the Prince Edward County Field Naturalists on the outstanding results of their appeal of an approval of the Ostrander Point wind project to the Ontario Environmental Review Tribunal. 

The Tribunal agreed with the Field Naturalists that this project would cause harm to the Blanding’s turtle, a turtle which is globally-endangered and threatened in Ontario. The Tribunal acknowledged that 5.4 kilometres of new roads constructed to accommodate the massive machinery needed to build and operate the nine 2.5 megawatt wind turbines would meet the test of serious and irreversible harm to Blanding’s turtles. The panel also considered that these roads would be permanently open to the public and thereby create on-going risks to the Blanding’s turtle in this fragile ecosystem.

The Conservancy is impressed by the Tribunals’ concern to prevent possible future harm to the Ostrander Point site.  As the Tribunal notes, the Ostrander Point Crown Land Block is identified by the Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR) as a candidate Area of Natural and Scientific Interest (ANSI) [15]. “If this area were a confirmed, rather than a candidate ANSI, it would be afforded further protections under the EPA. [610] The site “has simply not yet been designated as (a protected landform) by the MNR.” [612] “The evidence before the Tribunal raises the question of whether a wind project development will prevent a candidate ANSI from being considered as an ANSI in the future. The Tribunal has considered this possible future harm to the Site, due to removal of this opportunity for long-term protection.” [613]

The process to confirm the Prince Edward Point to Ostrander Point ANSI has been stalled since 2007, when the wind project at Ostrander Point was announced.   The process has been stalled long enough.  An opportunity now exists for long-term protection for Prince Edward County’s south shore – for the globally-significant Important Bird Area, the globally-rare alvar and the rare and at-risk species like Blanding’s turtle that are imperilled by wpd Canada Corporation’s 29-turbine wind project.

The Conservancy calls upon the Ontario Minister of Natural Resources to follow through on the recommendation to the MNR made over a decade ago to consider the Prince Edward Point to Ostrander Point a provincially significant ANSI.

The Conservancy urges the MNR to pursue the ANSI confirmation process and declare Prince Edward Point to Ostrander Point an ANSI.

Ostrander Point Appeal Fund

On December 20, 2012, the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources approved nine wind turbines for Ostrander Point in Prince Edward County. The area has been described as “one of the worst possible places to construct a wind farm” (Ontario Nature). Successfully appealing the approval will save critical natural habitat from destruction and protect the endangered species, species at risk and rare ecosystems at Ostrander Point.

To learn more about Ostrander Point, click here

A project of Prince Edward County Field Naturalists

Endorsed by Nature Canada, Ontario Nature, Kingston Field Naturalists, Quinte Field Naturalists, the Audubon Society (New YorkState and United States) and the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (United Kingdom)

blandings_turtle 

To donate to the Ostrander Point Appeal Fund click here

Biodiversity Not Important in Wind Debate

By Terry Sprague

The unbelievable foibles of both the Ministries of Natural Resources and the Environment have been all too evident this past month in the province. As if the Ostrander Point decision by the very ministries that are charged with protecting our natural environment wasn’t bad enough, they somehow managed to top that decision by authorizing the removal of a bald eagle’s nest down in the Fisherville area where an American company is planning a wind turbine project there. The eagles made the tragic mistake of building their nest in the path of a planned access road to one of the turbines. Clearly, the nest had to go, along with the tree, under the pretext of protecting the eagles from harm. Isn’t this so-called pro-action synonymous with saying that there is, in fact, a problem with birds and turbines, by the same agency that claims through its Ostrander Point decision that there are no issues with migratory birds?

Frankly I think most of us are sick to death of hearing the pro wind people drone on monotonously about cats, cars and hydro wires killing more birds than wind turbines. This is not a contest. There will not be a stuffed toy awarded to the structure that wipes out the least birds and bats, or the most. It’s not about the criteria that made the South Shore an Important Bird Area; whether it was waterfowl that was the clincher or whether it was songbirds. Whether it was wigeons or whether it was warblers that created the IBA, doesn’t make the South Shore any less important. We have radar images, hard data, banding records and surveys that support our assertion that these nine wind turbines that proponents are jumping up and down claiming will save the earth, can, and likely will, result in high mortality in a staging area that hosts millions of migrants every year as they migrate to and from northern nesting grounds. We don’t need yet another killing field on top of those that we have already created, and we don’t need to hear more drivel about how, despite any mortality, the population is sustainable. It is not sustainable, and it hasn’t been for many decades as species numbers continue to plummet, some beyond recovery. Wood thrushes for example have declined over 80% in population. Does that sound sustainable?

And we don’t need to hear nonsense like I did a few weeks ago about how the birds in Europe are so used to wind turbines that they actually perch on the rotating blades and ride them around as though on a Ferris wheel! These are claims from the desperate – desperate to not let money slip through their fingers, claims from landowners, and even government, who had never before given one iota of concern about our environment, until the folding green was introduced. Suddenly green and clean energy, which wind power is not, has become fashionable. It’s all about money, pure and simple, and it is a very dirty game when legislation, rules and regulations can be bent, adjusted and altered without apology to accommodate those with power and money, despite overwhelming evidence that Ostrander Point, and a whole lot of other locations in eastern Ontario, are not appropriate areas to establish wind power.

However, bird and bat mortality is just scraping the surface in the fallout that this misdirected movement toward “doing the right thing” will create. The habitat in the entire project area at Ostrander Point will be unceremoniously destroyed, forever – habitat that took many decades to settle into a very delicate and specialized biodiversity. One cannot compensate as companies would have us believe, by constructing new habitat somewhere else. Wildlife is being portrayed as cartoon characters that will shed a tear, then be seen with suitcases in hand moving to their new synthetic homes. Biodiversity that takes centuries to evolve cannot be reinvented overnight, neither can the bald eagles that nested in a 100 year old cottonwood tree at Fisherville be expected to accept a Tupperware nest platform on a pole somewhere, when their instinct tells them they should be in a natural tree somewhere else. Legislation is purportedly in place to protect species at risk – that’s why it is there. Legislation that can be bought, and then twisted to serve the needs of development is not legislation. It smacks of a corrupt system of the worst possible kind perpetuated by money and greed, especially given the deliberate and offensively transparent timing of the announcement, only a few days before Christmas.

This column congratulates the Prince Edward County Field Naturalists (PECFN) and the Alliance to Protect Prince Edward County (APPEC) in their efforts to appeal this decision of raping our SouthShore under the guise of clean energy. There are currently two separate appeals that have been registered: The PECFN appeal is environmentally based, while that of APPEC is based on human health effects. This column also recognizes the challenge that environmental agencies likely have in trying to balance the development of renewable energy while mitigating any adverse effects to wildlife populations. The Ostrander Point decision, however, clearly leans in the direction of development, and the hell with anything or anybody that stands in the way.

Cheques toward PECFN’s efforts should be made payable to the Ostrander Point Appeal Fund and mailed to Myrna Wood, 59 King St. unit 2, Picton K0K 2T0 or donate online at http://saveostranderpt.causevox.com/ . Cheques toward the efforts of APPEC can be sent to APPEC Legal Fund, P.O. Box 173, Milford, OntarioK0K 2P0

PECFN Launch Appeal of Wind Turbine Approval

 
Fight the Approval of Ostrander Point wind project! 

  • Ostrander Point wind project: Approved
  • Permit to kill, harm and harass endangered species: Approved
  • Permit to destroy habitat: Approved

 
2 legal challenges underway. 
 

If you can help to support this very important cause, make your cheque payable to the Ostrander Point Appeal Fund and mail to Myrna Wood, 59 King St. unit 2, Picton K0K 2T0