Todd Smith MPP for Prince Edward Hastings challenges Minister of Environment and Climate Change to abandon further spending of tax dollars in support of wind development at Ostrander Point and the south shore of the county. See the video below.
Tag Archives: industrial wind turbines
Prince Edward County South Shore Conservancy
P. O. Box 147
October 7, 2014
Premier Kathleen Wynne Gord Miller
Legislative Building Environmental Commissioner of Ontario
Queen’s Park 1075 Bay St
Toronto, ON Ste. 605
M7A 1A1 Toronto, ON
Toronto, ON M5S 2B1
(Sent via e-mail. Hard copy to follow.)
Dear Premier Wynne and Mr. Miller:
Re: wpd White Pines wind development, endangered species and World Wildlife Fund
This letter is public and may be shared.
We are writing to request your assistance in improving governmental process for renewable energy projects. Ontario’s guidelines for siting renewable energy projects are not aligned with policies of respected organizations such as the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) or even with Environment Canada policies. Ontario’s standards and practices do not reflect global concern for wildlife in general and for species at risk in particular.
As you may be aware WWF has just released a new report on the state of the earth’s wildlife populations. According to WWF:
This latest edition of the Living Planet Report is not for the faint-hearted. One key point that jumps out is that the Living Planet Index (LPI), which measures more than 10,000 representative populations of mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians and fish, has declined by 52 per cent since 1970.
Put another way, in less than two human generations, population sizes of vertebrate species have dropped by half. These are the living forms that constitute the fabric of the ecosystems which sustain life on Earth – and the barometer of what we are doing to our own planet, our only home. We ignore their decline at our peril.
In addition WWF states in its new report regarding population decline:
TERRESTRIAL LPI – living planet index
The terrestrial LPI contains population trends for 1,562 species of mammals, birds, reptiles and amphibians from a wide range of habitats. The index shows that terrestrial populations have been declining since 1970 (Figure 12) – a trend that currently shows no sign of slowing down or being reversed. On average, in 2010 – the year for which the most recent comprehensive dataset is available – terrestrial species had declined by 39 per cent. The loss of habitat to make way for human land use – particularly for agriculture, urban development and energy production – continues to be a major threat to the terrestrial environment.
It is expected that the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change could issue a renewable energy approval for wpd’s White Pines Wind Project. This project is a prime example of how Ontario’s guidelines for renewable energy projects are not working.
Twelve of the project’s turbines are in the globally-significant Prince Edward County South Shore Important Bird Area (IBA) and eight turbines are just outside its boundary. Five turbines are in very close proximity to a National Wildlife Area which was chosen because of its density and diversity of birds. In total, some 298 species of birds have been recorded with about 220 species being recorded during the average year. Most of these species are recorded during migration although at least 74 species nest within the area.
Wpd’s tweny-nine turbines are placed in the direct path of a major flyway that has the highest fall migration numbers of saw-whet owls in North America and the fourth highest migration numbers for raptors. This flyway receives large numbers of endangered Golden Eagles and Peregrine Falcons. The passing of a large percentage of the Golden Eagles that reside in North America through a project of this size will imperil this population as well as other populations of migrating species of birds and bats.
The wind project is located in Blanding’s turtle habitat which includes the Ostrander Point Crown Land Block. As you may know in 2013 an Environmental Review Tribunal revoked the renewable energy approval for Ostrander on the grounds that the wind project would cause serious and irreversible harm to Blanding’s turtles.
The wind project study area includes the Provincially Significant South Bay Coastal Wetland, 231 hectares in size, noted for supporting Blanding’s turtle as well as 17 wetlands (unevaluated by MNR) that are considered ‘significant’. 9 of these 17 wetlands qualify under the definition of Coastal Wetlands.
The White Pines Wind Project is a prime example of how proper siting of projects should be the first consideration. The document “Wind Turbines and Birds: A Guidance Document for Environmental Assessment, Environment Canada, Canadian Wildlife Service” lists 11 criteria for locations where turbines should not be sited. The south shore of Prince Edward County meets all of these criteria:
- The presence of a bird species listed as “at risk” by the SARA, COSEWIC or
provincial/territorial threat ranking, or the presence of the residence(s) of individuals of that
species if listed under the SARA, or of its critical habitat. To be of concern, either the bird or
its residence or critical habitat must be considered to be potentially affected by the project;
- Site is in an Important Bird Area;
- Site is adjacent to a National Wildlife Area;
- Site of fall migration of large concentrations of raptors;
- Site is on a known migration corridor;
- Site contains shoreline on a peninsula;
- Site will disrupt large contiguous wetland habitat;
- Site located close to significant migration staging area for waterfowl;
- Site contains species of high conservation concern, eg. Aerial flight displays, PIF/CWS
- Site is recognized as provincially important alvar habitat type;
- Site is adjacent to a heronry.
Environment Canada: Wind Turbines and Birds V. 8.2, p.21, 2007
The WWF POSITION ON WIND POWER 2004 states:
On the planning process for the development of wind power WWF believes that:
- The development of wind farms should be managed sensitively and framed within regional and local spatial planning guidelines. This should include development of national, regional and local wind targets, assessing high value habitats and identifying no-go areas for wind development. In this way, any environmental impacts and conflicts with other land or marine uses would be identified and minimised.
- Proposals for wind farm developments within IUCN 1-2 protected areas and/or national parks should not be allowed, unless a comprehensive Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) clearly indicates that the proposed development will not cause adverse effects on the integrity or conservation objectives of statutory protected area.
- Wind turbines can have a possible impact upon wildlife if sited in the wrong place and as such should not be placed in important bird nesting grounds or within identified bird migration routes, such as RAMSAR sites.
We acknowledge that there is an appeal process for Renewable Energy Approvals. However at the present time it appears futile to appeal a renewable energy approval on the grounds of serious and irreversible harm to plant and animal life or to the natural environment. The 2013 Divisional Court decision revoking the decision of the Ostrander Point Environmental Review Tribunal has ruled that the finding of irreversible harm cannot be made without population data. At the recent appeal for the Bow Lake Wind Project the Tribunal noted that:
 The impact of this approach is that irreversible harm cannot be shown for the numerous species of plants and animals in Ontario for which the current state of the science is such that population numbers are not well enough known for an “order of magnitude” to be calculated. Given that the finding of serious and irreversible harm is a threshold finding under the EPA, in that the Tribunal may not make any remedial order unless it is met, these species appear to be left without protection under the appeal provisions of s. 145.2.1 of the EPA. The Tribunal notes that the MNR Bird and Bat Guidelines, as well as the Alberta Guidelines referenced by the Appellant in this case, recognize the current limitations of scientific knowledge and as a result take a more flexible, contextual approach to determining harm. However,the Divisional Court ruling in Ostrander is currently the law in Ontario and is binding on the Tribunal.
Environmental Review Tribunal case Nos.: 13-145/13-146 Fata v. Director, Ministry of the Environment
The Divisional Court declared not only that population data is needed in order to make a finding of irreversible harm but that the onus is on appellants to provide this data. The Divisional Court decision has been appealed but if the decision is allowed to stand the onus will be on members of the public and small unfunded conservation groups to collect and provide population data.
It would take several years of scientific study to acquire population data on species on Prince Edward County’s south shore. The studies would have to be done however, because the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry does not possess any data on local plant and animal populations.
For the reasons identified it would be futile to appeal a renewable energy approval at this time.
The Environmental Review Tribunal process was the last line of defense for species that might be seriously harmed by renewable energy projects. This line of defense is broken. The government’s own Tribunal acknowledges that “species appear to be left without protection under the appeal provisions of s. 145.2.1 of the Environmental Protection Act.”
Clear policies are urgently needed in order to ensure the protection of species and the habitat that is required for these species to carry out their life processes.
With this in mind and understanding the government of Ontario’s desire to appear protective of the environment, the Conservancy respectfully requests that:
- no new renewable energy generation approvals be issued until the Ontario Court of Appeal issues a decision on the Ostrander appeal. This request seems reasonable as the Tribunal is currently prevented from making a finding of irreversible harm at this time even if it believes that the project will cause irreversible harm;
- renewable energy project developers be required to provide population data and/or that resources be provided to the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry or to Nature Canada to conduct studies on population if the Ostrander appeal is allowed to stand; and
- a review of current provincial practices and policies on renewable energy generation projects be conducted using WWF and EC siting recommendations as good practice standards.
We appreciate your attention to these important matters and look forward to receiving a response.
Secretary, South Shore Conservancy
Hon Glen Murray, Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change
Hon Bill Mauro, Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry
André Marin, Ombudsman of Ontario
The Prince Edward County South Shore Conservancy is a volunteer organization committed to protecting the flora, fauna and habitats encompassed by the South Shore Important Bird Area (IBA). The IBA includes species at risk, both breeding and migratory. It was founded in 2001.
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)
To donate to the Ostrander Point Appeal Fund click here
The Ministry of Environment’s decision not to conduct an Individual Environmental Assessment of access roads at Ostrander Point, announced in your December 19, 2012 letter, is based on numerous errors in fact and judgment.
Your letter states that between March and April 2011 you received 21 requests from members of the public. In point of fact, the Honourable John Wilkinson, then Minister of Environment (MOE), received the requests. In the last election Mr. Wilkinson was held accountable for his mishandling of the MOE portfolio.
Only 17 of the 21 requests came from members of the public. The other four requests were from organizations which collectively represent thousands of citizens. Why does your letter diminish the significance of comments by the Alliance to Protect Prince Edward County; the South Shore Conservancy; Friends of Arron Lake, Wind Concerns Ontario Grey Bruce; and the Prince Edward Field Naturalists, Ontario Nature and Nature Canada?
All the requests point out the extensive impact of the access roads:
- fragmentation of wildlife habitat by the loop design
- destruction/loss of alvar and woodland habitat
- disturbance of avian and terrestrial wildlife during wind turbine construction and during the next 25 years of operation due to increased on-site human activities
- harm, harassment and killing of two threatened species, Whip-poor-will and Blanding’s Turtle, albeit authorized by a Ministry of Natural Resources permit
- disturbance to raptors, especially protected Bald and Golden Eagles.
Since access roads are integral to the wind energy project, they cannot be separated in terms of effects. Both roads and wind turbines are located on a major migration corridor used by millions of birds, bats and butterflies. Both roads and wind turbines will destroy rare habitat that sustains migrating and resident wildlife, particularly 20 species of conservation concern, including Rusty Blackbird, Short-Eared Owl, Peregrine Falcon, Red-headed Woodpecker, and the Monarch Butterfly.
Thousands of eagles, owls and other raptors have already perished in North America as a result of colliding with massive turbine towers and blades at poorly-sited wind projects. The raptors and migratory birds that avoid wind turbines are also at risk as they disperse to inhospitable outlying areas without adequate food, water and shelter.
Bats in the thousands are also dying, either from direct collision with turbine blades or as their lungs explode from rapid changes in air pressure when they get close to turbines.
In approving the Ostrander Point project the government of Ontario is contravening international treaties such as the Migratory Birds Act and the treaty to protect Monarch Butterflies. National and international environmental societies, too numerous to mention, have all told the Ontario government that industrial wind turbines should not go into this Important Bird Area (IBA). Ontario’s Environmental Commissioner has called for a halt to wind projects in all Ontario IBAs. The Canadian Senate has called for a moratorium on industrial wind projects along the migratory route.
Mr. Bradley, anyone who had actually read the 21 requests for an Individual Environmental Assessment would be too embarrassed to say, as you did in your letter, that you are “satisfied” the Ostrander Point project has met “the purpose of the Environmental Assessment Act, the betterment of the people of the whole or part of Ontario, by providing for the protection, conservation and wise management of the environment.”
Perhaps you are satisfied, Mr. Bradley, but the people of Ontario are not.
Chair, County Coalition for Safe and Appropriate Green Energy
WIND PROJECT APPROVAL A DISGRACE: RUNCIMAN
OTTAWA, Dec. 21, 2012 – Senator Bob Runciman has blasted the Ontario Ministry of Environment for its approval of a wind energy project at Ostrander Point in Prince Edward County.
“This decision goes against local wishes, it threatens migratory birds and bats and it makes no sense from an energy standpoint,” Runciman said. “And to grant approval just before Christmas is clearly an attempt to avoid scrutiny. It’s not only wrong-headed, it’s under-handed.”
On late Thursday afternoon, the Ministry of Environment announced it had approved Gilead Power’s proposal to erect nine giant wind turbines in an internationally recognized Important Bird Area at Ostrander Point. The approval gives Gilead permission to kill endangered species and destroy their habitat.
Runciman was the author of a 2011 motion unanimously endorsed by the Senate of Canada calling on the province of Ontario to institute a moratorium on wind-farm development along eastern Lake Ontario until the impact on birds and bats can be studied.
The Ontario senator’s concern stems from the experience with the wind farm on Wolfe Island, also in a designated Important Bird Area. That development has a kill rate for birds and bats that is seven times the industry average in Canada, primarily because it is located in the wrong spot. It is one of the deadliest wind farms in North America.
The same concerns apply to Ostrander Point, which has been described by Environment Canada as one of the best areas for birds in southern Ontario, Runciman said.
“The governing Liberals are in the late stages of a leadership campaign. The incoming premier may very well reconsider this failed policy – a policy that has alienated rural Ontario, bypasses environmental and land use policies, will cost electricity customers billions and is causing grave damage to the Ontario economy,” Runciman said.
“In light of this, it is an absolute disgrace that the Ministry has approved this project right now. I call on the government to step in and put a stop to this,” Runciman said.
For more information, please contact:
Barry Raison, Office of Senator Bob Runciman
(613) 943-4020 (office) or (613) 297-2069 (cell)
According to an article by journalist Paul Schliesmann, in the Kingston Whig-Standard on Friday, August 24, 2012, a recent report by the Kingston Field Naturalists states that an estimated 12 million migratory birds will be put at risk if two large offshore wind turbine projects are built in Lake Ontario.
Three members of the volunteer organization who conducted a year-long, unpaid study are particularly concerned about two offshore projects that would see the a total of 268 turbines planted to the north and south of Main Duck Island, a natural stopping off point for hundreds of species.
“We think 12 million is low because it’s based on birds being studied at Prince Edward Point. The ones which don’t stop at Prince Edward Point aren’t being included yet,” said Chris Hargreaves, who worked on the report with Erwin Batalla and Barrie Gilbert.
Read the rest of this informative article in thewhig.com
Last-minute changes to the layout of a $400 million wind farm in northern Montana are planned in response to concerns about raptors in the area, the San Francisco-based developer and a Montana conservation group said Thursday.
Rim Rock wind farm is under construction on the Kevin Rim in Glacier and Toole counties. It’s home to the highest concentration of Ferruginous hawks in Montana and nine other species of raptors, including golden eagles.
Greg Copeland, development director for NaturEner USA of San Francisco, said 25 of the 126 turbines planned at Rim Rock will be erected a quarter of a mile away from their original locations.
Read the rest of the story at Great Falls Tribune http://www.greatfallstribune.com/article/20120817/NEWS01/308160039?gcheck=1&nclick_check=1