Birds, bats, blades – Province, Environment Canada Ignored Warnings

The Globe and Mail

Before the Wolfe Island Wind project was approved in 2008, environmental groups, experts, and local residents warned decision-makers that the wind turbines would harm birds and bats (Wind Farm Turbines Proving Deadly For Birds, Bats – June 10).

Instead of considering our evidence, each level of government pointed at the other and said someone else would protect the environment. Instead, the province rejected calls for a proper environmental assessment and Environment Canada back-pedalled on its original concerns about impacts on birds and bats. The result is an industrial wind project operating in one of the world’s most precious coastal bird areas without meaningful terms and conditions to protect wildlife.  And they call this “green energy.”

Mark Mattson, president, Lake Ontario Waterkeeper

11 thoughts on “Birds, bats, blades – Province, Environment Canada Ignored Warnings

  1. Nature Canada was warned about this industrial plague years ago when 119 IWTs were proposed offshore of Point Pelee National Park. It could have spoken up then — with Ontario Nature and other NGOs — and didn’t.

    A little late now…

  2. No intent to sound callous about the Wolfe Island bird/bat deaths, but its not like the outcome wasn’t predictable. Would a proper environmental assessment made a difference? No, they are rubber stamped with the provision that the windies can mitigate any concerns.

  3. Erie Shores Migratory Birds’ Advocates also did the “warning” back in spring of 2005 when 66 IWT’s were erected by AIM PowerGen/International Power Canada from Elgin Cty to the 6th Con. ENR in Norfolk’s southwest corner.

  4. We all know this is tragedy in the making. We all stated as such over 2 years ago plus…………..to ask the same question over and over “how can this happen?” is now redundant.

    Same thing is happening with the Oil Spill in the Gulf. “How can they not help the people?”……………”how can they keep letting this go on?”

    The very very simple answer is that “they”, a headless, faceless and immoral bunch of greedy investors have control over the Authorities who were elected and paid from taxpayers pockets to protect the very land that is being attacked!

    We have no responsible Government left to turn to for help. We have no Authority who will accept that responsibility.

    Basically we are screaming at the Wind and that is owned by the Industrialists who don’t give a damn.

    That is why we have to change this whole rotten system from within. Start at the bottom with Municipal Elections on Oct 25 and begin the whole process all over again that took over a century to get here.

    At least when we all pass on we can be remembered as the “ones who started to bring back a little humanity into a corrupted system!”

  5. It is true that WIRE and other groups correpsonded with Ontario Nature and the Nature Conservancy during the ERR, asking for their input. I am not aware that either organization contributed to the ERR process — they certainly never responded to WIRE’s inquiries and requests for data to back calls for a full environmental assessment.

    Though we appreciate the concern now, it is too much too late. What is happening, and will continue to happen for the next 39 years on Wolfe Island, might have been avoided if environmental organizations that hitched their wagons to wind (and the cushy subsidies and grants given by industry to organizations like Pembina, the Suzuki Foundation and others to attend international wind conferences side-by-side) had spoken out against what was a looming disaster.

    Mr. David Suzuki wrote a letter to WIRE in the early stages that was posted in a tiny storefront office during the ERR process, stating his support for wind development, but if locals were concerned about bat kills to “fight like hell”.

    Well thanks a whole hell of a lot David.

  6. Let us join our hearts and prayers in gratitude for the lives of the flying sentients who have, through no fault of their own, perished at the hands of human greed and corruption.

    And let’s continue our work in honour of them.

  7. Suzuki is a fraud and a traitor….He is worse than Al Gore…another phony elitist fascist…He should have stuck to his alleged area of expertise…studying Fruit Flies….

  8. Thank-you for acknowledging, Simcoe surfer.

    We owe them so much gratitude, these wonderful ones who live in perfect relationship with the sky and the wind.

  9. People of Ontario, I ask for what purpose do wildlife protection laws serve?

    The Wolfe Island Wind Farm became operational on June 29 2009. Between July 01 2009 and December 31 2009, twelve Raptors were slaughtered. Between January 01ST 2010 and June 30 2010, ten raptures were killed. Between July 01 2010 and December 31 2010, there were (??) Raptors killed.

    Raptor Mortality rates for the last six months of 2009 as shown were twelve. Raptor mortality rates for the first six months of 2010 as shown were ten. If you do the math in the first year of operation twenty-two Raptors were killed. Please keep in mind that during the first monitoring period amounted to seventy-two days out of a six-month period. One can only guess what took place for the remaining one hundred and ten days.

    On the average per six-month period, eleven raptors are being taken by this facility; this would suggest that approximately thirty-three Raptors have been killed since July 01 2009. To be statistically correct, the cumulative adverse effects on Raptors though just an approximation is 33. By the time this facility is to be decommissioned, given way to the same type of monitoring practices, the cumulative effects in death alone, will rise to four hundred and forty Raptor fatalities, never mined to mention all of the other species that will be slaughtered over that twenty year period?

    However, statistics given do not relate to the actual numbers because when the monitoring does take place, it is not taking place on a daily basis. TransAlta statistics are inconclusive, further, statistics do not mention the numbers of offspring that are left to die as a result of one or more parents being killed by these wind turbines. If monitoring is not being done on a daily basis, then how would anyone be able to provide proper stats.

    The Ontario government by virtue of its own Endangered Species Act section 17 allows proponents to contravene the Federal Species at Risk Act, Section six (6) should they kill any wildlife; The purposes of this Act are to prevent wildlife species from being extirpated or becoming extinct, to provide for the recovery of wildlife species that are extirpated, endangered or threatened as a result of human activity and to manage species of special concern to prevent them from becoming endangered or threatened.

    Not that it is going to happen, because it has not happen to any wind facility operating in Canada as of yet. Under SARA TransAlta permit expires at the end of June 2012. TransAlta has supplied the information of the approximate number of wildlife that their facility has killed (given to the exact number of days) for the period specified given to the species mentioned within the article fall under the provisions of SARA, as follows:

    Section 73, Maximum term Subsection (9), No agreement may be entered into for a term longer than five years and no permit may be issued for a term longer than three years.”

    Presently under the principles and provisions of SARA, there are proponents of wind facilities that have previously been issued permits (if they have not been they should have been) that should not be operating their facility in Ontario under this Act, because they have exceeded or are about to exceed their three year and five year terms under SARA.

    I ask for what purpose do wildlife protection laws serve? In answer to the question they do not serve any purpose if your BIG BUSINESS. Why is both the government of Ontario and Canada allowing this to take place? Last year a couple of hunters killed a couple of Swans in the Luther Marsh and were charged under the Migratory Birds Convention Act, why aren’t these developers being charged under this act as well?

    What’s really sad about Wolfe Island, the government was told that this project should not go ahead because of the wildlife problems that would take place, yet they approved it any, why?

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