At 6:30 pm Dr Fred Beaudry stepped away from the microphone for the first time since about 10:30 am. The Demorestville Town Hall was steamy and wasps and deer flies floated through the room – as lawyers and tribunal members removed their jackets to try to stay comfortable in the late summer heat. The day began with a standing room only crowd filling the hall – all supporters of PECFN many with their turtle shirts proudly displayed.
After some initial housekeeping issues, Dr Beaudry took the stand and made his presentation dealing with the new evidence presented by Gilead under the headings Fragmentation (of habitat), Risk of Poaching, Nest Predation and Protection Buffers. He then continued to assess the cumulative risk and finally his conclusions about the serious and irreversible harm posed to the indigenous Blanding’s Turtles at Ostrander Point by the Gilead Power proposal.
At about 11:30 Doug Hamilton, representing Gilead, began his cross examination of Dr. Beaudry. Mr. Hamilton parsed every section of Dr. Beaudry’s presentation – asking again and again how he assessed the risks associated with each aspect of predation, poaching and habitat fragmentation related to the mitigation measures proposed by Gilead. Dr Beaudry emphasized that adult mortality is an extremely worrisome problem and of particular concern was the issue of over-wintering ponds and whether the turtles always use deep pools or sometimes may use wetland areas considered “seasonal” in which case it would be impossible to determine whether an area should be avoided by heavy equipment – and even whether an adult hibernating turtle had been killed by the equipment. In addition, Dr. Beaudry continued to insist that many issues are unable to be quantified because the research is limited or non-existent. Finally Mr. Hamilton finished his aggressive and punishing questions about 5 pm. Mr Wright of the tribunal panel insisted that all the time available at the town hall be used to press on through the questioning of Dr Beaudry. Sylvia Davis lawyer for the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change then took over the attack. Her strategy was to go through all the scientific papers that Dr Beaudry had cited in his presentation to detail how he had arrived at the conclusions he reached from examining each research study.
Throughout all of this hot and steamy day, Dr. Beaudry politely and clearly answered all the lawyers’ questions. The ERT resumes tomorrow at 9 am.