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Monthly Archives: November 2011

Environmental Commissioner says Ontario government ignores endangered species

 (Toronto- November 29, 2011) The Government of Ontario is not taking sufficient steps to protect and recover the province’s imperilled species. This warning was issued by the Environmental Commissioner of Ontario, Gord Miller, in his 2010/2011 Annual Report released today at Queen’s Park.

“Ontario’s Endangered Species Act is a good law that has the potential to make a real difference,” said Gord Miller. “However, the government is not making the tough choices about what it will and will not do to protect species at risk. Rather than taking decisive action, much of what the government is doing has become an empty bureaucratic exercise with little benefit for endangered species.”

The government released its plans to address the recovery of 13 species at risk in November 2010. The Environmental Commissioner’s report found that the government’s commitments in the majority of these plans do the bare legal minimum to address these species. The government is taking a backseat in its own program by offloading key actions, creating a situation in which the on-the-ground recovery of species at risk might only occur if external, voluntary groups step up. Further, the government is not providing stakeholders with the necessary information on how to carry on with business, if appropriate, when species at risk are present.

“Protecting endangered species must first be framed by science, and then political and social choices can be made,” stated the Environmental Commissioner. “Instead, the government has so muddied the process that it is difficult to decipher science from politics. The result for Ontario is that the loss of biodiversity continues unchecked.”

The Environmental Commissioner’s report found the Ministry of Natural Resources is sending mixed messages in its conservation efforts for species at risk:

 The Ministry of Natural Resources allows the hunting and trapping of some species at risk, such as snapping turtles and eastern wolves which are both species of special concern.

 The Ministry of Natural Resources has failed to provide the public with a clear picture of where Ontario’s threatened woodland caribou are and what will be done to actually conserve their habitat

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Link to CKWS News video interview with MPP Todd Smith

Enjoy this informative video as Prince Edward-Hastings MPP Todd Smith discusses the Private Members Bill  he introduced – the Local Municipality Democracy Act – http://www.ckwstv.com/index.cfm?page=news&id=6041 and what it means for the south shore.

Senator Runciman proposes IWT moratorium for eastern Lake Ontario

WIND PROJECTS POSE UNACCEPTABLE THREAT TO BIRDS: RUNCIMAN

Ontario Senator calls for moratorium along eastern Lake Ontario

 OTTAWA, Nov. 28, 2011 – There is an urgent need for a moratorium on wind energy projects along the shores of eastern Lake Ontario until ways can be found to better protect birds and bats, Senator Bob Runciman told a news conference on Parliament Hill this morning.

Runciman was joined at the event by Ted Cheskey, manager of bird conservation programs for Nature Canada, Rosemary Kent, president, and Cheryl Anderson, vice-president of the Prince Edward Point Bird Observatory. Runciman is introducing a motion in the federal Senate this week calling for a moratorium in the area from the east end of Wolfe Island to the western edge of Prince Edward County– a major migratory route for birds and bats.

“Under current Ontario government policy, green energy trumps everything, including threats to bird and bat populations, their habitat and their migration corridors, the Planning Act and the Environmental Protection Act,” Runciman said. “It is a reckless, damn-the-consequences approach that we don’t want to see happen at Ostrander Point and Amherst Island. It’s time for the government to step back and assess the implications of what they are doing.”

Wind energy projects are planned for both of those locations, although final approval has not yet been granted by the provincial government.

Nature Canada has long argued that industrial wind energy developments should not be located in internationally recognized Important Bird Areas such as Ostrander Point and Amherst Island. Cheskey cited the experience with the Wolfe Island project, which he said is “one of the most destructive for birds and bats in North America.”

 “We believe in good things in good places,” said Cheskey. “To achieve wind energy’s greatest promise – a clean, renewable energy source that helps, not harms wildlife – wind turbines should not be located in Important Bird Areas.”

Kent and Anderson talked about the long-term threat to vulnerable species posed by the project planned for Crown land at Ostrander Point, which has been cited by experts as one of the best places for birds in southern Ontario.

For more information, please contact:

Barry Raison, Office of Senator Bob Runciman

(613) 943-4020 (office) or (613) 297-2069 (cell)

raisob@sen.parl.gc.ca

News release courtesy of the Office of Senator Bob Runciman

MPP Todd Smith’s challenge to industrial wind turbine zoning

Next week Todd Smith will present a private member’s bill on the restoration of municipal control over the zoning of industrial wind development.  Since this bill reflects one of the planks in the Progressive Conservatives’ recent election campaign, it has been developed with the assistance of the PC caucus and has full backing.  The return of municipal control would ensure that councils can consider a whole range of local impacts and approve only developments with real benefits for everyone.

The New Democratic Party has also opposed large-scale, private wind projects, preferring direct development by either communities or Ontario Power Generation. It will be interesting to see how the NDP responds to Todd’s bill.

If you would like to thank Todd for this useful initiative, please email his office: todd.smithco@pc.ola.org.

(Excerpted from  APPEC newsletter by Chair Henri Garand)

Post-election updates from South Shore Conservancy

After a quiet post-election period wind turbine issues are in the news again! Here’s what the South Shore Conservancy has been doing lately:

  •  Sent a letter to Chris Bentley, the new Minister of Energy, formally requesting a meeting with Mr. Bentley and his senior staff to discuss the urgent and known risks from the construction and operation of industrial  wind turbines to endangered species, species at risk, bird and bat migration and wildlife habitat. 
  • Met with Todd Smith MPP at Mr. Smith’s invitation to discuss the serious risks to birds, bats and wildlife on the south shore.  SSC forwarded Mr. Smith the Notice of Commencement for the WPD project and the Bern Report 2003 on risks to migrating birds from industrial wind turbines. 
  • Sent a letter to the David Suzuki Foundation: SSC has requested the Suzuki Foundation, as one of the founding members of the Green Energy Act Alliance, to advocate for protection for the PEC IBA and for all IBAs inOntario. The Green Energy Act Alliance supports Ontario Nature’s proposal to exclude turbine development in and around IBAs as well as known flyways and corridors for birds and near-shore wetlands. 
  • Sent a letter to White Pines Development’s German parent company, WPD AG and their major stakeholder Stadtwerke Munchen:  SSC had learned from WPD’s website that they follow restrictions supported by the European Union and do not build wind projects in IBAs or other environmentally-sensitive areas in Europe. We requested the intervention of the parent company to protect our IBA.

 We continue to protect our south shore by: Read the rest of this entry

Survey on McGuinty green energy & FIT program

The OAC (McGuinty Government) wants your input on the FIT program and other aspects of clean/green energy.  While some of the questions seem to require technical answers and a thorough reading of government propaganda, you can tell them what you honestly think about turbines and how you believe they will affect the South Shore. There are no right or wrong answers – what counts are your opinions.

 http://www.energy.gov.on.ca/en/fit-and-microfit-program/2-year-fit-review

 This type of survey usually attracts comments from non-rural people and those who have little understanding of the threats industrial wind turbines pose to fragile wildlife habitation and migrating species. It is important that we express our opinions as well.

If you have not already done so, you can also write to our three new Ministers about this survey and express your concerns about the Gilead Power and White Pines Development industrial wind projects in the South Shore. 

Hon.  Jim Bradley, Minister of the Environment  minister.moe@ontario.ca

 Hon. Christopher Bentley, Minister of Energy  cbentley.mpp@liberal.ola.org

 Hon. Michael Gravelle, Minister of Natural Resources  mgravelle.mpp.co@liberal.ola.org

Windfall documentary now on TV 

Last May APPEC and CCSAGE screened the Laura Israel documentary Windfall at the Regent Theatre.  The film is an excellent American version of the BBC series Blown Apart, except it has a happier ending.   If you missed it at the Regent or want to encourage friends to take a look, note that Windfall will have its Canadian television premiere on CBC’s specialty channel Documentary.   Check your Bell, Rogers or Shaw Direct listings for this subscription channel. 

 Windfall airs Sunday, November 6 at 8 p.m.  If you are in the GTA Windfall airs on Nov 7.  Click on the link below for other viewing times:

http://www.cbc.ca/programguide/program/windfall/