This week a major boost was given to the South Shore Conservancy campaign to protect the south shore IBA in Prince Edward County.
Gord Miller, the Environmental Commissioner of Ontario, hit the headlines when he unequivocally stated that wind turbines do not belong in Important Bird Areas (IBAs). Mr. Miller went on to suggest that wind turbines do not belong in any ecologically sensitive locations.
According to Mr. Miller “…the current guidelines do not go far enough to ensure that wind power development is compatible with Ontarians’ objective of protecting wildlife. Given the importance of selecting sites that minimize the harm to birds and bats, it just makes sense to avoid building wind energy projects in these species’ most ecologically sensitive locations.”
Ontario Nature has added to these comments by saying that on Wolfe Island (also an IBA) with an 86 turbine project, a 2010 study found that on average 16 birds and 43 bats were killed per turbine, one of the highest recorded rates in North America. The kill on that site is one of the worst in North America. The Ontario governments’ reaction to the high bird and bat kill was to increase the number of acceptable kills per turbine and decrease the area around each turbine that must be searched for bird and bat kills. Furthermore they have made no response to the mandatory reports required of raptor kills.
In addition to eradicating the possibility of wind turbines in IBAs, Mr. Miller considers that the Ontario government needs to take into account the cumulative effect that wind turbines have on both birds and bats. Ontario Nature agrees stating that “we. . .need to be aware of the cumulative impacts of all wind turbines on bird life, bats, other rare plants and animals, as well as sensitive ecosystems.” With the millions of migrating birds and bats as well as other winged species like the Monarch Butterflies that pass through the south shore, the cumulative impact here will be many times worse than at Wolfe Island.
The Canadian Senate, Nature Canada, the Audubon Society as well as the Royal Society for Birds and many other environmental groups both here and abroad have alerted the MOE to the fact that wind energy projects do not belong in our IBA. Now the provincial governments’ own Environmental Commissioner, is reinforcing this.
As we have seen with Gilead Power and with wpd Canada, the Ontario government has given no consideration to the issue of the IBA factor. There is no better time for everyone to tell our Liberal government that they must protect major migratory pathways, sensitive ecosystems and all threatened species and habitats. This is the only acceptable solution for the residents of this province.
We encourage you to protest the construction of wind turbine projects in Prince Edward County’s globally-significant South Shore IBA by responding yourselves and encouraging as many others, particularly other residents of Ontario, to respond as well. Whether they focus on our IBA or on the one closest to them does not matter. The important thing is that they inform their MPP and others on the list below that they agree with Gord Miller and expect them to do the same.
Please tell the following politicians that you agree with Gord Miller and expect them to do the same:
Premier Dalton McGuinty
Dwight Duncan, MPP
David Orazietti, MPP
Parliamentary Secretary to the Premier
Michael Gravelle, MPP
Minister of Natural Resources
Mike Colle, MPP
Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Natural Resources
Jim Bradley, MPP
Minister of the Environment
Helena Jaczek, MPP
Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of the Environment
Chris Bentley, MPP
Minister of Energy
Reza Moridi, MPP
Parliamentary Assistant to the Ministry of Energy
Leader, PC Party
Laurie Scott, MPP
PC Critic Natural Resources
Victor Fedeli, MPP
PC Energy Critic
Michael Harris, MPP
PC Critic, Environment
Lisa Thompson, MPP
PC Deputy Critic, Energy (Green Energy Act)
Todd Smith, MPP
Peter Tabuns, MPP
NDP Energy and Environment Critic
NDP Critic, Natural Resources