An Opinion on Senator Runciman’s Motion for a Moratorium
Placing industrial-scale wind turbines in Important Bird Areas (IBAs) and major migratory flyways is proving to be a very bad idea. On November 30, Senator Runciman in his motion to the Senate, called for a moratorium on wind turbine development on the north eastern shores of Lake Ontario to prevent the destruction of birds and Important Bird Areas (IBAs). The Senate unanimously supported him. Senator Runciman and the Senate are to be applauded for shining a light on one of the serious shortcomings of the Green Energy Act.
Many people are not aware that the north eastern area of Lake Ontario is a Galapagos of the north. Amherst Island, Wolfe Island and Prince Edward County are all globally recognized IBAs, which means that they are three of the most important sites on earth for birds. The IBA designation is based on scientific evidence and the application of strict international criteria.
As well as being an IBA, Amherst Island is world renowned for its raptors and owls. It is not uncommon to see twenty-six Short-Eared Owls perched in the trees surrounding a single house or twelve Snowy Owls congregating in a farmer’s field.
No less than eighteen bird species found on Amherst Island are species-at-risk, which means the provincial and federal governments have a duty to protect them.
Despite this, all is not well with the birds of Amherst Island. The Provincial Government has approved a very large FIT energy contract for wind turbines on Amherst Island. If the wind energy company is successful, in two years there will be thirty- five wind turbines, each fifty storeys tall, and running the length of this small 20 km Island.
Birds on Wolfe Island are already being sacrificed. This massive industrial-scale wind plant has one of the highest bird kills in North America.
If the Ontario Government has its way, the birds of Amherst Island and Ostrander Point in Prince Edward County are next. Galapagos of the north will be known as one of most destructive areas for birds in North America.
Time is running out. The Provincial Government must stop these wind projects in their tracks and ensure that this rich natural heritage is protected. Senator Runciman’s motion for a moratorium on wind energy projects in north eastern Lake Ontario is a critical and timely step in the right direction. The Green Energy Act is putting our rich natural heritage at risk.
But the damage does not stop there. The GEA allows wind developers to put these giant turbines too close to people’s homes. An increasing number of families are suffering from serious adverse health effects and are unable to live in their homes or to sell them. At present there is no protection and no compensation for them.
A moratorium on wind energy development is urgently needed in order to deal with the unintended consequences of the seriously flawed Green Energy Act.
Stella, Amherst Island