The proposed Ontario budget (Bill 55) includes an amendment to the Endangered Species Act. The purpose of the amendment is to exempt renewable energy systems from prohibitions in sections 9(1) and 10(1) of the Endangered Species Act. Sections 9(1) and 10(1) are key sections of the Endangered Species Act as this is where the Act explicitly prohibits the killing, harming and harassing of Ontario species at risk and prohibits damaging and destroying their habitat.
Industrial wind turbine companies currently need to apply to the Ministry of Natural Resources for a permit under the Ontario Species Act if endangered species, threatened species and species of special concern are likely to be killed, harmed and harassed during the construction and operation of the wind energy project and if their habitat will be damaged or destroyed.
If the budget (Bill 55) is passed these companies will no longer need to apply for a permit. To all intents and purposes they will be allowed to operate outside of laws that are in place to protect Ontario’s endangered species. Industrial wind energy developers, even multinationals that are under foreign ownership such as wpd Canada (Germany) and Samsung (Korea), will be able to build wind farms that kill, harm and harass Ontario’s endangered species with no fear of potential repercussions.
In an article on Bill 55’s amendment to the Ontario Species Act, Keith Stelling points out that many of the casualties on major migratory flyways such as Wolfe Island and Ostrander Point will be these endangered and protected species (but) “they will no longer be protected.” In one stroke the amendment removes endangered species from protection and affords protection to industrial wind turbine companies by putting them out of reach of the law. Wind turbine developers will be permitted to kill, harm and harass endangered species and to damage and destroy their habitat and they can be expected to do so with impunity if they are out of reach of the law. Stelling goes on to point out that “every genuine environmentalist, conservationist, nature lover or advocate for Ontario’s biodiversity will be outraged at this underhanded development.”
This amendment to exempt industrial wind developers from the prohibitions in the Endangered Species Act is reprehensible and everything that can be done should be done to oppose it.
Here are some things you can do:
(1) The link below gives instructions on how to send a message to all MPPs (the message is ostensibly intended for NDP members but will be received by all MPPs).
(2) Send a personal message to your MPP (who may not even be aware of the amendment). Let your MPP know that there is no justifiable reason for this special exemption and that industrial wind turbine companies should be expected to follow the same rules as every other industry that conducts business operations in Ontario.
(3) Send letters and emails to newspapers, organizations and to any public figures who you think would be willing to speak out about this.
(4) Forward this email to others so that they may take action too.
Thank you for your efforts to oppose this amendment.