For the past week people around the world have been drawn to their TV sets, stunned by the environmental disaster that is currently unfolding in the Gulf of Mexico. Industry and government had sent assurances that an event such as this could not or would not happen. They were at the ready. There was a plan.
Canadians have heard similar assurances from governments and industry. Those same types of assurances didn’t prevent the looming disaster in Louisiana.
I do not suggest that the approved installation of 60 or 90 or maybe even 150 turbines in the grand estuary of the St. Lawrence River could produce an environmental disaster of the magnitude caused by a leaking oil well. Each industrial intrusion into our precious water resources presents the possibility of destruction and contamination. We read daily of dwindling bird, fish, marine and shore life. We are routinely warned by scientists of the effects of contamination of our fresh waters and depletion of water resources and habitat. Wolfe Islanders remember keenly how a fleeting lapse of focus during the construction of the onshore wind plant resulted in a spill of 1,300 litres of diesel oil which threatened their shoreline, their wells and their natural heritage.
Last week theWhig-Standardreported that wind industry speculator Mr. Ian Baines of Wolfe Island Shoals Wind, with the support of the government, has declared that the people of the St. Lawrence River will accept a new, massive and unprecedented industrial energy project, site unseen, with no plan in place for the regulation of its construction and operation. The Ontario Power Authority freely admitted there is no suitable environmental assessment process in place for offshore development. The government gave the go-ahead with no meaningful process for local stakeholder consultation and no regulatory framework in place for the dredging, blasting and construction of >one of the most important natural estuaries and migratory pathways on the North American continent.
In an age where we have >adopted the creed “think globally and act locally” our government leaves the work of planning and prevention to foreign industry. Local stakeholders who question industry’s wisdom when it comes to the protection of our water and shorelines are dismissed as pseudo environmentalists. Fishers, boaters and community stakeholders who have plied the waters of the mouth of the St. Lawrence River for generations are relegated to shoreline spectators of this massive experiment.
In Louisiana, industry and government assured people there was a plan. Well, where is the plan, Mr. Baines and Mr. Gerretsen? The people of Wolfe, Simcoe and Amherst islands, Kingston, Cape Vincent and Prince Edward County want to see the plan before you permanently and irrevocably transform the ancient shoals of our beloved river.
Gail Kenney, Wolfe Island