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Slow & Steady wins in Turtle vs. Wind Turbines

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Blanding's Turtle winsPrecedent – Ontario Court of Appeal – Turtles vs. Wind Turbines

Toronto – April 20, 2015

The Ontario Court of Appeal has reversed a lower court ruling regarding a Renewal Energy Approval of the 9 turbine Ostrander Point industrial wind project. The decision reinstates the key initial finding of the Environmental Review Tribunal (ERT) that serious and irreversible harm to threatened Blanding’s Turtles will occur if the project operates as approved. “We’re very pleased. The court has ruled in favour of protecting the environment, which is what we’ve asked for throughout“ said Myrna Wood of the successful appellant Prince Edward County Field Naturalists. “The decision is undoubtedly important” said Eric Gillespie, its legal counsel. “This is the first renewable energy case to reach the Court of Appeal. The Court has supported our client’s fundamental concerns and affirmed a number of legal principles that clearly will be relevant to other appeals.” The question of remedy has been directed back to the ERT.

For further information contact Myrna Wood 613-476-1506 myrna@kos.com or Eric Gillespie 416-436-7473 (voice/text) egillespie@gillespielaw.ca

 

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Letter to Environmental Commissioner of Ontario

Letter written by County resident and business owner Carlyn Moulton, addressed to the Environmental Commissioner of Ontario, with copies to Dalton McGuinty, Jim Bradley (Minister of the Environment), Todd Smith and Peter Kent (federal Minister of the Environment.

December 22, 2012

Dear Commissioner,

It beggars belief that in the name of being “green”, the Ontario Ministry of the Environment has approved the destruction of the southeastern portion of Prince Edward County for a wind turbine project known as Ostrander Point. Virtually every environmental group in the country has made detailed submissions pointing out that this is the worst possible location that could be imagined. It is an Important Bird Area, a critical migratory flight path and breeding habitat for millions of birds, many endangered. It would qualify as an ANSI, or area of natural and scientific interest, because of its unique features.

Then to add insult to injury, in a cynical and grinch-like act that can only be seen as calculated and manipulative,  the announcement is made on December the 20th, allowing 15 days for the public to comment or appeal. If the current government had any interest in participatory democracy, it would have picked another date. As this is not the first time  that this has been done (as you yourself have pointed out), we have to assume that this wasn’t merely inept or absent-minded ignorance of the calendar and holiday season, but a willful thumbing of the nose to those that might wish to spend the holidays with their children as opposed to with their lawyers.

 The effects on the natural environment are not restricted to the Ostrander Point wind project and its nine turbines – wind projects are planned or proposed on many sites along the north shore of Lake Ontario at the eastern end. What is the cumulative effect of these projects? They can’t just be considered one by one.  The following table of projects and turbines lists those along the shore or in the water of eastern Lake Ontario.  Most would be located within or adjacent to Important Bird Areas. (In Prince Edward County four other projects, totalling 47 turbines, are also proposed and awaiting ECTs.)

              Wind Project                    Status  No. Of Turbines
Ostrander Point OPA Contract                9
White Pines OPA Contract         29-30
Amherst Island OPA Contract         30-35
Ernestown OPA contract             4-6
Wolfe Island Operating              86
Loyalist I and II Awaiting ECT              21
White Pines II Proposed              36
Dorland Proposed on Gilead website         20-40
Wolfe Island Shoals Subject to offshore moratorium       60-150
Trillium I and II Subject to offshore moratorium            282
Total of land-based Turbines      199-227
Total of all proposed Turbines        541-659

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s impossible to conclude that such numbers would not be an obstacle to migrating birds or a transformation of the natural environment.

Prince Edward County is also well known for organic vegetable farms, wineries and other farms. Wind turbines cause a shift in air pressure that collapse bat lungs and kills them. Bats eat insects. Insects eat fruit and vegetables. Without bats, insect populations increase significantly, and therefore, so does pesticide use. This is not rocket science. So why would we, in the name of the environment, allow for an industrial development that is surely to trigger a rise in pesticide use?

One can only imagine that there must be some sort of staggering electrical power shortage, plunging us all into the dark without this sort of destructive and permanently damaging project – which must surely save us all?

Except of course, we have a surplus of power. Ontario is a net exporter of power and has been for years. http://www.sygration.com/gendata/today.html  publishes our surplus on a daily basis. Today, as I write, we have a “capacity” of almost double our current need. And it is a surplus that far exceeds our current use of coal – so that is a red herring.

And if we needed more, Quebec seems to be awash in cheap, renewable, hydro power. Maybe they might sell us some for a fraction of the price that we will end up paying to Gilead Power while they destroy Ostrander Point.

It hardly seems that we have a crisis of such a magnitude that we are compelled to give up public lands that are magnificent, unique, and critical to sustaining the natural environment to a private company who will reap a handsome profit from its destruction, and reaping artificially high rates, guaranteed by our government (but paid for by the people) for years to come.  

This project is unnecessary, irresponsible, and against the interests of the public good and the environment.

The government’s stubborn pursuit of a wrong-headed policy, despite all evidence to the contrary, is damaging the very communities it is meant to protect and represent. 

If the government was serious about reducing carbon emissions, making sure a serious public transit system was implemented around the GTA or along the 401 would seem to me to be a much better investment. Most of Ontario’s emissions aren’t from energy generation, they are from transportation – as anyone who took a day to inform themselves would know.

Sincerely,

Carlyn Moulton

Sign our Save the Blanding’s Turtle petition

      www.savetheblandingsturtle.com               

The beautiful Blanding’s Turtle is an Endangered Species that happens to still have a wonderfully safe, natural home at Ostrander Point on the south shore of Prince Edward County. However, their home and mere survival are now at serious risk.

 They need your help to protect them from a permit to KILL, HARM and HARASS them and to DESTROY their habitat and it’s free!

 Just click on the web address and follow the very simple instructions.  It’s easy as 1,2,3! Please support this important cause.                                               
                                                  
DEADLINE is Sunday Feb 19 2012!

How to comment on Gilead Power Ostrander Point new EBR posting

GileadPower Corporations’ Ostrander Point Wind Turbine Project is open to comments from the public.   Here is some helpful information on how to comment. 

WHO CAN COMMENT 

Anyone can comment on this project and you are strongly encouraged to do so.  The Ministry of the Environment takes every comment they receive into consideration. 

We ask that you encourage family members, friends and co-workers to submit comments as well and that you support them every way possible.     

 WHAT CAN I SAY TO STOP THIS PROJECT 

Unfortunately the Ministry of the Environment does not provide any direction in this regard.  We can only encourage you to submit a comment, no matter how brief, with regards to Ostrander Point being the wrong place / the worst possible place for industrial wind turbines and giving reasons for taking that position.  The “Notable quotes” section of this website contains some postings that may assist you.  Other organizations’ websites, such as Ontario Nature, Birds Canada and Point-to-Point PEC contain valuable information. 

 As we have seen in the past, large numbers of original responses, no matter how brief, have been most effective.  Numbers count particularly when they are original and not merely carbon copies and form letters. 

 WHEN IS THE COMMENT PERIOD OVER ?

Due to efforts by our MPP Todd Smith,  the Ministry of the Environment has extended the comment period to February 2-2012.  There is talk of a further extension but given that it has not been posted to their website we have to remain skeptical.  Our advice to you is to send your comments as soon as you are able to do so.  As the saying goes, there is no better time than the present.

HOW CAN I SUBMIT A COMMENT ?

You can comment on Gilead Power Corporation’s wind turbine project by email or by letter using Canada Post.  Be sure to address your email or letter to Shannon McNeill at the Ministry of the Environment and include reference number 011-5239.  Contact information for Ms. McNeill and other contact information is provided in the posting  below.   

To submit a comment online click the URL for the Environmental Registry provided in the post that follows this one  and look for the “submit comment” box.” 

We appreciate hearing from you.  Share your comments with us or even consider joining SSC! southshoreconservancy@kos.net

Earlier this week Gilead Power Corporation’s application for a Wind Energy Project at Ostrander Point was deemed complete by the Ministry of the Environment.  The Ostrander Point Project was posted on the Environmental Bill of Rights registry (EBR) on November 30 with an advisory of a 60-day comment period commencing immediately and ending January 29, 2012*. 

* Please note that this date has been changed to Feb 2, 2012 and further lobbying may succeed in having it changed to Feb. 19, but do not assume this until it is confirmed. You should continue to send your comments in sooner rather than later.

Canada Post letters and individual emails create more impact

We encourage you to submit original comments about the Project and to ask like-minded friends to do the same.  However we do have a few words of advice.  You will notice on the EBR posting that the Ministry of the Environment is allowing you to send comments electronically.  This is provided under the pretext of providing convenience to you.  

We have learned from previous experience with the EBR posting for Gilead Power’s application for a permit to kill, harm and harass species at risk at Ostrander Point that your response will have more impact if you write letters or send emails to Shannon McNeill Senior Project Evaluator MOE and to others as well, including Premier McGuinty, the Minister of the Environment, the Minister of Natural Resources, the Minister of Energy, etc. To be even more effective, we encourage you to submit your comment electronically AND by letter or email. This will ensure your comments reach as many people as possible and keep MOE busy.  Contact information is provided at the end of this email.  

Prince Edward County’s internationally-recognized IBA is a “super-highway” for migratory birds and bats: hundreds of thousands of birds pass through this IBA during spring and fall migratory seasons.  The IBA provides a safe haven for birds that arrive in the spring exhausted after a strenuous trip across the lake and provides a feeding ground in the fall so they are able to build up their strength for their journey south.  The IBA is critical in terms of biodiversity: according to Environment Canada 300 species of birds have been recorded at Prince Edward Point, including some on the federal endangered species list.  We have some understanding now of the impact this project will have on certain species at risk such as the Whip-poor-will and Blanding’s Turtle but what of other turtle species, other wildlife. 

The construction of the wind turbines and 5.4 k of permanent access roads to the turbines will disrupt habitat and result in injury and mortality from vehicular collisions. We have learned from other such projects that wildlife will leave the area.   If this Project moves forward we believe that it is only a matter of time before this area of great biodiversity becomes a barren wasteland.  There are many reasons why this Project should not be approved.

Mike Lord at Gilead Power Corporation recently said  “the objective of this project is not to have any impacts to the birds at all.”  It could be said that the objective of Gilead Power Corporation’s studies is to show that this project will not have any impacts to the birds at all. Gilead’s studies are the products of selective reporting:  sweeping generalizations, conclusions based on insufficient data and objective-sounding analyses. When you submit your comments, insist that the Ministry of the Environment undertakes a proper study of bird and bat mortality.         

As you already know the SSC is considering legal action.  The protection of endangered species is embedded in the laws ofOntarioand the damage that has already been done without the requisite permit has not as yet been addressed.  We will update our members on any new developments in this regard.

The best Christmas gift for our endangered species     

We know that December is a busy time of year for everyone.  However, when you are writing gift lists, or sending Christmas cards or other holiday greetings, and already have pen, paper and stamps at hand, remember to send your written comments to the parties listed below.  It may be the best Christmas gift you will give or receive this year – hope for our endangered species.

The deadline for your comments is January 29, but please do it now. You may also forward this post to like-minded friends.

URL to Gilead Power Corporation Ostrander Point Wind Energy Project :  

http://www.ebr.gov.on.ca/ERS-WEB-External/displaynoticecontent.do?noticeId=MTE1MDIx&statusId=MTcyMzgx&language=en

As instructed on the EBR submit your comment to Ms McNeill

Please include reference number 011-5239  

Shannon McNeill

Shannon.McNeill@ontario.ca

Senior Project Evaluator
Ministry of the Environment
Operations Division
Environmental Approvals Branch
2 St. Clair Avenue West
Floor 12A
Toronto Ontario
M4L 1L5                                                                                                   

And CC: Dalton McGuinty, Premier
Legislative Building
Queen’s Park
Toronto, ON
M7A 1A1
dmcguinty.mpp@liberal.ola.org

The Honourable Jim Bradley
Minister of the Environment
77 Wellesley Street West
11th Floor, Ferguson Block
Toronto ON
M7A 2T5                                                                                                                     
jbradley.mpp@liberal.ola.org
minister.moe@ontario.ca   NEW !

The Honourable Michael Gravelle
Minister of Natural Resources
6th Floor, Ste. 6630
Whitney Block
99 Wellesley St. W
Toronto, ON M7A 1W3
mgravelle.mpp@liberal.ola.org
minister.mnr@ontario.ca  NEW !  

The Honourable Chris Bentley
Minister of Energy
Hearst Building, 4th Floor
900 Bay St.
Toronto, ON
M7A 2E1        cbentley.mpp@liberal.ola.org

Mansoor Mahmood
Director, Environmental Protection Act
Environmental Assessment and Approvals Branch
2 St. Clair Avenue West
Floor 12A
Toronto Ontario
M4V 1L5    mansoor.mahmood@ontario.ca

Doris Dumais,
Director, Approvals Program
Environmental Assessment and Approval Branch
Ministry of the Environment
2 St. Clair Avenue West, Floor 12A
Toronto, ON M4V 1L5    doris.dumais@ontario.ca

Clinton Randolph
Project Evaluator
Ministry of the Environment
Environment Assessment & Approvals Branch
2 St. Clair Ave W., Floor 12A
Toronto, ON
M4V 1L5        Clinton.Randolph@ontario.ca

Paula Norlock
Agreement Specialist
Ministry of Natural Resources
Policy Division: Species at Risk Branch
Robinson Place South Tower
300 Water Street, 2nd Floor
Peterborough Ontario
K9J 8M5                  paula.norlock@ontario.ca

Eric R. Prevost

Renewable Energy, Planning Ecologist

Ministry of Natural Resources

RobinsonPlaceSouthTower
300 Water Street, Floor 1
Peterborough Ontario
K9J 8M5           eric.prevost@ontario.ca

Karen Bellamy
District Manager
Minister of Natural Resources
Robinson Place South Tower
300 Water St
Peterborough, On
M9J 8M5               karen.bellamy@ontario.ca

Gord Miller
Environmental Commissioner of Ontario
1075 Bay St, Ste 605
Toronto, ON
M5S2B1                          commissioner@eco.on.ca

Ontario govt’ posts Ostrander Point wind project to Environmental Registry

Although the day did not begin well – the Ontario government posted the Ostrander Point project to the Environmental Registry – it has ended on a much happier note with the Canadian Senate backing a motion by Senator Bob Runciman for 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 Senate backed Senator Runciman’s motion unanimously. 

SSC thanks all of the people who worked hard behind the scenes to make this happen, some of whom are SSC members themselves. Special mention must be made of one of SSC’s board members, Beth Harrington.   

As APPEC Chair Henri Garand has pointed out, although the motion is not binding on the Ontario government, it legitimizes the concerns expressed by APPEC, South Shore Conservancy, Prince Edward County Field Naturalists, Prince Edward Point Bird Observatory, Ontario Nature, and Nature Canada, as well as scores of Ontario citizens.  For the first time a government body has validated our concerns, which have only continued to mount in the face of mindless proliferation of wind turbines in our province.   

 The Senate’s overwhelming show of support could not have come at a better time 

As we go into this comment period we will continue to draw strength from events such as those that occurred today and of course from each other.  

 The posting allows for a 60 day comment period that will end January 29, 2012.

Senate backs Runciman’s call for wind farm moratorium

Press release from the office of Senator Bob Runciman

OTTAWA, Nov. 30, 2011 – The Senate of Canada today unanimously backed a motion by Senator Bob Runciman 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.

Senator Runciman (Ontario– Thousand Islands and Rideau Lakes) noted that the region from the eastern tip of Wolfe Island to the western end of Prince Edward County is a crucial route for migratory birds and bats. He is concerned about plans for wind energy projects on Amherst Island west of Kingston and at Ostrander Point in Prince Edward County – both of which would be located in internationally recognized Important Bird Areas. Both projects are in the final stages of approval by the Ontario government.

“Much of my concern flows from the bird and bat kill rates experienced with the development of the wind farm on Wolfe Island, east of the two proposed projects and also in a designated Important Bird Area,” Runciman said, noting that Nature Canada says Wolfe Island has a kill rate for birds and bats seven times the industry average in Canada primarily because it is located in the wrong spot.

Runciman lauded Nature Canada for its leadership on the issue, but noted that “they’ve been a voice in the wilderness, so to speak. Environmental groups one would expect to assist in protecting bird populations have been shockingly silent, in effect allowing green energy production to trump alarming bird and bat kill rates and even the threat to endangered species.”

Environment Canada describes Ostrander Point as one of the best areas for birds in southern Ontario, Runciman said. “It’s surprising that someone believes it is a good idea to put wind turbines on this spot. Hard as it is to believe, the landlord, the owner of the property, is the province of Ontario.”

“Clean renewable energy should help, not harm, wildlife,” Runciman told fellow senators, but the long-term cumulative effect of the current Ontario policy could pose a grave danger to several species, including species at risk.

 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

MPP Todd Smith’s letter to Natural Resources Minister

Press release from the office of Todd Smith, MPP:

The new Member of Provincial Parliament for Prince Edward-Hastings has started his legislative work by writing Natural Resources Minister Michael Gravelle with regard to the proposed Industrial Wind Farm at Ostrander Point in Prince Edward County.

 During the campaign, the proposed Industrial Wind Farm was a major issue in Prince Edward County and was the focus of many campaign events including a press conference by a former Queen’s Counsel outlining the position of the South Shore Conservancy.

 “Since my office has opened, the number one topic of correspondence with constituents in the riding has been the proposed Wind Farm inPrinceEdwardCounty.” Smith stated. “The people of Prince Edward County feel like their right to have their voice heard is being taken away. They want Queen’s Park to know that they object to having these wind turbines forced on them without the approval of their local government.” 

 In the letter, Smith congratulated Minister Gravelle on his new portfolio and added that he hoped to have the chance to express the feelings of his constituents in Prince Edward County on this issue.

Contact Todd Smith by email or phone:

Todd Smith, MPP ~ Phone: 613-962-1144 ~ Email:  toddsmithco@pc.ola.org  Twitter @ToddSmithPC

 Read Mr. Smith’s letter to the Minister of Natural Resources Read the rest of this entry