Amherst Island ERT Wraps Up

“The project is putting children’s safety at risk and that is something that I don’t think we, as Ontarians, want to tolerate”

Kingston Heritage Published June 8, 2016   

By Mandy Marciniak

amherst Island haywagon

On June 7, members of the Association to Protect Amherst Island (APAI), along with many Island residents, gathered at St. Paul’s Presbyterian Church to hear the final submissions in their appeal against Windlectric Inc.

The submissions were the final part of the more than six month long Environmental Review Tribunal (ERT) that took place regarding the project, and members of APAI were feeling optimistic.

“It has been a long process and we are very proud of what we have accomplished and we are very confident,” said Michele Le Lay, a member of APAI before the final hearing. “We feel we had a fair hearing.”

The final instalment of the tribunal started with a statement from island resident and concerned parent Amy Caughey, who originally spoke to the tribunal in December. Caughey’s main concern is the proposed placement of a concrete batching plant and high-voltage substation directly next to the school on the island.

“It seems like all the industrial activity will be occurring next to the school and I think it is too close,” she said. “Also, the cumulative impacts of this project, especially on the school, have not been assessed. It seems that each component is looked at individually, but it is not looked at as a whole and I think that is a major problem.”

Caughey explained that after six months of hearings she still has numerous unanswered questions about the safety of the project, especially in relation to the school, and she worries that her children and others will be at risk.

“The project is putting children’s safety at risk and that is something that I don’t think we, as Ontarians, want to tolerate,” she said. “We don’t have enough information and if we just go ahead and do this, it is actually our children who become the test to see if the directive is right or wrong and I think that is entirely inappropriate in Canada in 2016.”

READ MORE:   http://www.kingstonregion.com/news-story/6712312-environmental-review-tribunal-wraps-up-on-amherst-island-results-expected-by-end-of-june/;send=false

Rare Blanding’s Turtle Scores Win against Wind

“Yippee! Hooray!” said Cheryl Anderson, a member and past president of the Prince Edward County Field Naturalists. “It’s been a long haul.”

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The Blanding’s turtle, a sunny little reptile already prone to smiling, must be beaming this week like somebody who’d won a lottery the same day they were awarded the Nobel Prize.

For the third time in the past three years, a legal decision was handed down in favour of the endangered species, and against a proposed wind turbine development in Prince Edward County, east of Toronto, that threatened to cause the turtle “serious and irreversible harm.”

READ MORE:  https://www.thestar.com/news/canada/2016/06/07/blandings-turtle-protected-as-turbine-approval-revoked.html

 

Turtles Topple Turbines

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Country Live:  Posted June 6, 2016

The County’s Blandings turtles, and nature in general, are victorious in the Prince Edward County Field Naturalists’ more than six-year battle to protect the south shore of Prince Edward County.

The Environmental Review Tribunal in the Ostrander Point industrial wind turbine hearing has decided “remedies proposed by Gilead Power Corporation and the Director (MOEE) are not appropriate” and has revoked the Renewable Energy Approval for the nine turbine project.

“The tribunal decision says that no matter how important renewable energy is to our future it does not automatically override the public interest in protecting against other environmental harm such as the habitat of species at risk,” says Myrna Wood, president of the Prince Edward County Field Naturalists. “This was the basis of PECFN’s appeal. This decision not only protects the Blanding’s turtle but also the staging area for millions of migrating birds and bats and the Monarch butterflies.”

In their decision, ERT vice-chairs Heather Gibbs and Robert Wright state “The Tribunal finds that to proceed with the project, when it will cause serious and irreversible harm to animal life, a species at risk and its habitat, is not consistent with the general and renewable energy approval purposes of the Environmental Protection Act, protection and conservation of the natural environment and protection and conservation of the environment, nor does it serve the public interest.

“In this particular case, preventing such harm outweighs the policy of promoting renewable energy through this nine wind turbine project in this location.”

They also state the project would be located entirely within a Candidate Life Sciences Area of Natural and Scientific Interest (ANSI), which extends from Prince Edward Point to, approximately, Petticoat Point, and is roughly 2,000 hectares. “According to the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry, it is a “candidate” ANSI due to “the combination of size, extent of shoreline, known species diversity and special features that make this site unique in the site district.”

“The tribunal decision reminds the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change of its ‘Statement of Environmental Values’ that “As our understanding of the way the natural world works and how our actions affect it is often incomplete, [government] staff should exercise caution and special concern for natural values in the face of such uncertainty,” said Woods.

The Naturalists began their opposition in 2007 believing the south shore of the County “is the wrong place for wind turbines” – an important area to migrating birds, to bats and butterflies. It contains areas of natural and scientific interest, provincially significant wetlands, globally imperilled Alvar habitat and is the home and breeding grounds of avian, reptilian and amphibian species at risk.

“It’s been a long awaited decision and represents the efforts and determination of PECFN’s quest to protect the environment,” said Prince Edward County Mayor Robert Quaiff. “Congratulations to them. It further solidifies what everyone has been saying that the south shore of PEC is not a suitable location for industrial wind turbines.”

Todd Smith, Prince Edward Hastings MPP has also long campaigned that the south shore of Prince Edward County is the wrong place for wind turbines.

“It has taken a lot of time, money and effort to finally get to this point. My hope is that the Liberal government will actually listen to its own Environmental Review Tribunal that has ruled the south shore is a terrible location and that damage to the local environment outweighs any possible good that a wind turbine project could achieve,” said Smith. “Hopefully, this is the end of the Gilead proposal at Ostrander Point…Ultimately, this was not and is not, about the viability of wind power. This is about protecting the ecosystem of the South Shore of Prince Edward County. On that score, science and biodiversity won the day… The County is best served by being naturally green.”

Decisions with the White Pines project, also on the south shore, and the project at Amherst Island are still to be made.

READ AT: http://countylive.ca/blog/?p=60865

TRIBUNAL DECISION: http://www.ert.gov.on.ca/english/decisions/index.htm

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Whale of an unintended consquences

By Greg Walcher
Friday, June 3, 2016whale

Wind energy continues to be controversial, which seems surprising. Most people rightly think of the wind as not only renewable, but free. However, the technology needed to turn that free and renewable resource into usable electricity is not free, and we continually learn more about its unintended impacts.

For 30 years energy companies, utilities, government researchers, and academics have been studying the harm wind turbines can do to birds, and working hard to develop different machines that will not kill so many. The first megawatt wind turbines (on California’s Altamont Pass) were fast-spinning propellers that many environmentalists nicknamed “Raptor-matics,” and “Condor Cuisinarts.” More modern turbines are much larger and turn much slower, generating power without looking like airplane props. Yet despite design improvements, wind generators still kill thousands of birds every year, including eagles and endangered migratory birds.

Renewable energy advocates for some time thought solar energy might be a preferable alternative to wind, since it does not require moving parts. Then it turned out that the giant solar towers built in the Mojave Desert, surrounded by an array of mirrors, actually kill birds, too. Several months ago in this space I wrote about how the light from those installations attract millions of bugs that attract birds, which can literally be fried in midair — in much the same way that young boys fry ants with a magnifying glass. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is actively investigating the problem, so such solar installations may not become the preferred alternative to wind after all.

The deaths of thousands of birds was one reason energy companies began developing off-shore wind farms, often miles away from land. But it turns out that offshore wind farms may also cause collateral damage, in a big way. Conservation groups are now discovering that these giant wind machines may have a devastating effect on marine mammals, especially whales.

These are not your grandfather’s windmills, but huge 8-megawatt turbines that rise 650 feet above the water, with rotating blades more than 500 feet in diameter. Such gigantic rotors create pulsating sounds well known to anyone who lives near them on land. They can attract bats as far as nine miles offshore, and the noise travels through the water, as well as the air.

Near the world’s largest concentration of offshore wind farms (in the North Sea and English Channel), researchers have documented dozens of beached whales — and are reaching alarming conclusions about the relationship between whale deaths and wind farms. They cite ample evidence that noise from the machines interferes with whale communication and navigation, sometimes with deadly results. In one month, 29 otherwise healthy sperm whales (an endangered species) were stranded and died on English, German and Dutch beaches.

READ MORE:  http://www.gjsentinel.com/opinion/articles/whale-of-an-unintended-consequence#.V1LXS7yxx04.facebook

 

Huron Considering University Partnership On Wind Turbine Study

A study being proposed by the Huron County Health Unit on the health impacts of wind turbines may take a new direction.

Health Board Chair Tyler Hessel explains the board had a few concerns about the study, including what they were going to do with the information they collected, and how much it was going to cost them.

Hessel says the University of Waterloo is working with Wind Concerns of Ontario on a study similar to the one the Health Unit was proposing, but it would go into more detail and so they’re exploring the possibility of partnering with the university.   That would give them access to a more scientific study done by a group with better human and financial resources.

They have invited a spokesperson from the university to speak at a future Health Board meeting to discuss a partnership.

Hessel adds his understanding is the university is looking at testing in specific areas and in specific homes and doing very detailed analysis.

READ: https://blackburnnews.com/midwestern-ontario/2016/06/03/huron-considering-university-partnership-wind-turbine-study/

UnSung Hero

An advocate rails against forced green energy

“Kristi Rosenquist has proven again and again that individual activists can make a difference in the never-ending battle against the regulatory power of the state. Her energy, attention to detail and courage have made this rural Minnesotan a power to be reckoned with.”

Kristi Rosenquist isn’t one to rest on her laurels.

This spring, for instance, she’s battling the wind industry yet again, trying to persuade members of the Minnesota Legislature that the state needs better noise standards for siting wind turbines because those spinning noise-makers are now allowed as close as 500 feet from residents’ homes.

The state uses noise standards not designed for turbines, Rosenquist argues. She said the state needs to eliminate the standard and create a new one.

“That means, in my opinion, they shouldn’t build any more turbines until they have new siting standards,” she told Watchdog.org.

The latest fight is just one of a long list of Herculean efforts by Rosenquist in the fight against big government and the green energy industry, which began with a personal battle to protect her own hobby farm.

                Kristi Rosenquist
 By state definition, that’s a farm of 50 acres or less, fitting the description of the one owned by Rosenquist and her husband, Bob. They planned to add an agricultural building on the land, and Wabasha County was going to require that the septic system for their home be reinspected, at great cost to the Rosenquists. The provision was in place because the state considered their property to be shore land because of an intermittent stream that flowed when it rained hard.

“I said, ‘That’s not happening,’” Rosenquist remembered.

She fought the law and got the county to change how it administered it. The victory was an eye-opening experience for someone who had never before been active in a political crusade. As important as anything, she learned that when someone leads, others will follow.

“The great news is there are plenty of people who will come when I need help,” she said.

Inspired by that first success, Rosenquist turned her attention to the proposed New Era Wind Farm in Goodhue County, one of many such projects slated for development to meet state and federal renewable energy mandates and take advantage of federal subsidies.

Residents questioned its location near homes and the impact on area wildlife, particularly eagles. Local opposition stymied the project and Texas billionaire T. Boone Pickens pulled out. Despite $15 million spent on permits and other miscellaneous costs, the project died.

Rosenquist continued to fight against wind farms, working with lawmakers to craft legislation to change Minnesota turbine siting standards in 2011 and continuing to push the issue at the local and state levels.

READ MORE:  http://watchdog.org/266370/unsung-hero-kristi-rosenquist-tilts-wind-farms/