Senate unanimously backs Runciman’s call for wind farm moratorium

Media Release
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.

MOTION:
By the Honourable Senator Runciman:

That, in the opinion of the Senate, the province of Ontario should institute a moratorium on the approval of wind energy projects on islands and onshore areas within three kilometres of the shoreline in the Upper St. Lawrence-Eastern Lake Ontario region, from the western tip of Prince Edward County to the eastern edge of Wolfe Island, until the significant threat to congregating, migrating or breeding birds and migrating bats is investigated thoroughly and restrictions imposed to protect internationally recognized important bird areas from such developments.

16 thoughts on “Senate unanimously backs Runciman’s call for wind farm moratorium

  1. Now we only need a motion for everything west, north and south. That should cover it.

    • It is the Erie Shores Migratory Birds’ Advocates which have been crying in the wilderness since the summer of 2005 when we contacted EVERY so called “naturalist ” group every FEDERAL politician in Canada, every Ontario politician, EVERY NORFOLK COUNCILLOR, the Ontario Environment Commissioner, the USFWC, ANYONE we could think of, to help us PREVENT the ERECTION of 66 – 1.5 MW G.E. IWTs along the north shore of Lake Erie in Elgin County AND the southwestern part of Norfolk County which IS a MAJOR Migratory Flyway, just west of Long Point where they stage in the Big Creek Marsh, for THOUSANDS of song birds, ducks, geese, Tundra Swans BOTH spring AND fall.

      NORFOLK COUNCIL ENCOURAGED AIM PowerGen/IPC/IPR – GDF Suez to NOT ONLY erect 38 IWTS within Norfolk but WENT ON to encourage the ERECTION of ANOTHER 18 – 1.65 MW Vestas all jammed in within a THREE km radius of the houses in the Clear Creek/Cultus/Frogmore IWT ZONE. There are NOW ~ 70 Norfolk Victims of IWTs [NVoIWTs] SUFFERING the effects of this COMBINED # of 56 IWTS.

      SO MUCH for giving ?power? back? to Councils!

  2. What a crock of crap to put birds ahead of human health and welfare. Rural folks are useless eaters and not in any need of any protection is what they think. We have to debate to our trustees to tell them they are harming us and they simply ignore our request then we have the society of Law people leaving us on the roadside to ponder what next while they kill our pocket books on their expense.As lawyers getting richer and the Wind corps play Monopoly of our country side. These are our public employees doing this to us bosses.I call of these public servants useless workers that need the boot. i think most people do not understand these are mere employees not bosses as most people have reverse thinking of these crooks. PS I like birds to.

  3. Although I am thankful the birds and bats are a little closer to being safe, It is beyond me to understand why it is ok to subject these industrial wind devices on humans.

    • Andrew,
      I understand your point.
      But – the permit in this particular case did not include humans.
      Maybe – next time!
      Title:
      Permit under section 17 of the Endangered Species Act, 2007 (ESA) to allow Gilead Power Corporation to kill, harm and harass Blanding’s Turtle and Whip-poor-will as well as damage and destroy the habitat of Whip-poor-will for the purpose of the development and operation of Ostrander Point Wind Energy Park in the Township of South Marysburgh, Prince Edward County
      http://www.ebr.gov.on.ca/ERS-WEB-External/displaynoticecontent.do?noticeId=MTEyODc0&statusId=MTY5Mjg1

      p.s. I’m mighty grateful for a step in the right direction!
      p.p.s. Cheers to the Honourable Senator Runciman

      • I’m not sure, but I think a bill that went through about protecting livestock from stray voltage a number of years ago, but the farmers themselves were left neglected. I don’t think it’s the animal rights people who are behind this, just the liability if humans were recognized to be affected as well.
        It kind of sickens me as well to know that the Senate can act so quickly in this scenario, but is so impassive to fellow humans suffering. Where is compassion? What does Ontario stand for?

      • As I said in a previous post, the south coast of Prince Edward County is almost completely devoid of humans. The issue here is about preserving semi-wilderness bird and bat habitat.

        To this end, I believe that Senator Runciman’s involvment is a good thing.

  4. [excerpt] 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.”

    Questionable practices

    In a three-part series, Washington Post Staff Writers Joe Stephens and David B. Ottaway detailed questionable practices at the worlds richest environmental group like the following:

    Acquiring raw land, attaching development restrictions, then reselling the properties to supporters at greatly reduced prices.
    Selling ecologically sensitive land at reduced prices to the organization’s trustees for use as home sites.
    Conducting land deals that coincide with charitable contributions to the Conservancy from the buyers, who then benefit from significant tax breaks.
    Drilling for oil under the breeding ground of endangered species.
    Buying land from corporations whose executives sat o­n the nonprofit’s governing board.
    Accepting cash payments for roughly the amount of a discount that is then written off the buyers’ federal income taxes.

    http://www.freedomadvocates.org/articles/wildlands_project/nature_conservancy_under_investigation,_suspends_operations_after_post_exposure_2003053034/

  5. Nature Canada and Ontario Nature support the rapid deployment of Industrial WInd Turbines across this Province. Runciman could have chosen much more appropriate organizations to support. This protects their avian friends, at the expense of people in other areas, who are suffering today – and will be in the future. It would be different if these organizations were simply trying to protect important bird areas by saying NO to Turbines. But, these groups clearly and loudly say YES to Turbines – just not in our special domains. This is NIMBYism in it’s purest form..

    The only good thing to come from this unanimous decision in the Senate is that Sir John A. Macdonald’s “house of sober second thought” has laid complete waste to the idea that NIMBYism is a bad thing. Roday, Canadians may celebrate the fact that our Senate has, by their own actions, finally made NIMBYism acceptable. Take that – McGuinty!!!! The highest parliamentary chamber in the land has unanimously declared your disdain for NIMBYism and your resulting behaviour veritably UN-CANADIAN.

  6. “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.”
    Many more human lives are at risk as well.

  7. Nature Canada is not a human health organization. They are doing exactly what they said they will do. And should be applauded for that. Not criticized. Especially considering that they are one few environmental groups that has actually stood up and taken a stand against wind turbines.

    Nature Canada is a member-based non-profit conservation organization. Our network includes 40,000 supporters and more than 350 naturalist organizations across Canada.

    Our mission is to protect and conserve wildlife and habitats in Canada by engaging people and advocating on behalf of nature.

    Our strategies are based on sound science and a passion for nature.

    Our focus is on effecting change on issues of national significance, including bird conservation, wilderness protection, endangered species and connecting people to nature.

    Through our conservation work, we:
    Support on-the-ground, community-based efforts to protect animals, plants and habitat for future generations
    Push for effective laws and supporting policies that protect endangered species today
    Encourage the development of an effective network of parks and protected areas from coast to coast to coast
    Conserve bird habitat and promote biodiversity in Canada and abroad

  8. Certainly the eastern shore of Lake Ontario is significant habitat but man, what about the corridor from Long Point up to the Bruce Peninsula. Two major North American migratory corridors converge here and travel up and down the Lake Huron coast.
    There are well over 1000 turbines are either built or proposed along that stretch. I doubt any area will have higher densities of turbines. Certainly projects along the North shore of Lake Ontario are a problem but its nothing compared to what the migratory species along this long north south stretch of turbines wil have to deal with twice a year.
    The studies coming from these developers is junk that invariably states no percieved problem and say silly things like these migratory species like swans conveniently stay on the lakeshore. Definitely not true.

    • Wolfe Island has the Senate, we need Margaret Atwood back in action again!

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