Just three more days to speak up for Ontario’s Endangered Species Threatened by Wind Turbines

by Keith Stelling – The amendments hidden in the government’s budget bill will allow the Minister to grant exemptions from the provincial legislation protecting endangered species which presently prohibits anyone from harming, killing, or destroying the habitat of a threatened species.

The Minister will now be able to excuse from prosecution under the Ontario Endangered Species Act, corporations engaged in infrastructure projects including renewable energy (wind turbines), communications systems, electric power systems, oil or gas pipelines, transportation corridors or facilities, waste management systems or water works.

Many people have already written to their MPP. Now we have to keep up the pressure on the NDP and the Ministers.

Here is an easy way to register your displeasure at the changes proposed to Ontario’s environmental legislation. You can use these easy on line feed back forms to voice your concerns:

Opposition NDP leader Andrea Horwath (“Have your say Ontario: Tell us what you think about the budget”) using her online feedback form: http://www.ondpcaucus.com/yoursay/ or telephone 1-855-ONT-BDGT;

Minister of the Environment, Hon. Jim Bradley: http://www.ene.gov.on.ca/environment/en/main/contacts/feedback/index.htm

Minister of Natural Resources, Hon. Michael Gravelle

http://www.mnr.gov.on.ca/en/ContactUs/index.html?CSB_ic-name=topMenu&CSB_ic-info=contact-us_Eng

Minister of Energy, Hon. Chris Bentley

https://www.energy.gov.on.ca/en/contact-us/

Michael Harris, PC Environmental Critic

michael.harris@pc.ola.org <michael.harris@pc.ola.org>

Ask these people why they are not protecting our endangered species, why they are willing to trash our environmental legislation and why they are ready to sell out Ontario’s biodiversity for the profits of foreign multinationals!

Ontario’s wind turbines are already causing havoc for migrating species. Some are already sited or planned for important migratory bird corridors, adjacent to inland wetland migratory stopovers, and near provincially significant habitats of endangered and threatened species. Significant wildlife habitat at Ostrander Point, and Wolfe Island on Lake Ontario; Point Peelee National Park and costal wetlands associated with Lakes Erie and St. Claire; as well as Manitoulin Island and Arran Lake adjacent to Lake Huron. At Wolfe Island near Kingston, studies of the first year of operation reveal a mortality rate of 13.4 birds per turbine. For the potential cumulative effect, multiply by the 86 Wolfe Island turbines = 1152 birds per year, hardly an insignificant number on a migratory flyway. Now multiply by the 7000 wind turbines planned for Ontario and then multiply by 20 for their expected life of operation. Some of the species killed are already experiencing population declines: for example, the Tree Swallow and the Bobolink. At Ostrander point, protesters are concerned about the threat to the Whip-poor-will and the Blanding’s turtle from disturbance and road building.

According to Ontario Environmental Commissioner, Gord Miller, burying this amendment to the Endangered Species Act in a budget bill (Schedule 19) the government avoids the normal transparency and public input.

The provincial government, which contends the wind turbines are necessary to lower CO2 emissions has been made aware of the fact that in Germany CO2 emissions have actually increased since the turbines were installed because of the need for fossil fuelled backup. It also knows turbines are disturbing significant wildlife habitats and jeopardizing the survival of species at risk.

Every genuine environmentalist, conservationist, nature lover or advocate for global biodiversity will be outraged at this underhanded development.

Voting on this amendment takes place on Tuesday, 24 April so there is not much time let them know that their amendments to the Ontario Endangered Species Act and other environmental legislation are unacceptable.

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17 Responses to Just three more days to speak up for Ontario’s Endangered Species Threatened by Wind Turbines

  1. Remember when you write to these people, don’t be too “nice”……………..they deserve ZERO RESPECT!

  2. Summerhaven Summerhell says:

    Is anyone else in Ontario aware of this other than those on this site? Has it been in any newspapers, specifically in the GTA? Are they going to just sneak this through like they try to do in the USA all the time attaching things to other important legislation. They tried 3 times over the last month in the US attaching the tax credit to other bills but it got voted down each time.

    We must follow the example of our neighbours to the south and bombard the MPP’s with letters that we will not allow this to happen!

  3. Ontario’s Environmental commissioner has given us warning that the province’s Bill 55 is far more than it first appears. I’ve dug into it, beyond the initial public outrage concerning Endangered Species.

    I consider BILL 55 as a serious threat to the integrity of Provincial Parks, Crown Forests and all Public Lands. I believe the governments support of Industrial Wind Turbines is leading them to use Bill 55 to try and secure industrial access to our Provincial Parks, Crown Forests and Public Lands.

    I’ve itemized below the components of Bill 55 which I’m concerned would provide the government with the power to have Industrial Wind Turbines installed in our Provincial Parks, Crown Forests and Public Lands.

    Schedule 15, page 55 .. changes to Crown Forest Sustainability Act, 1994
    It sounds to me like the government wants to be able to delegate private parties with the right to operate and manage in Crown Forests with an unspecified range of powers, the consequence of which the government wants to absolve itself of responsibility for. This sounds to me like the
    government wants to give private parties free reign to operate in Crown Forests. To me, this equates to being able to give over Crown Forests to alternate energy project operators (such as industrial wind turbine corporations).

    Schedule 58, page 294 .. changes to Provincial Parks and Conservation Reserve Act, 2006
    Despite the original act’s limitations regarding “issuing of the land use permit or licence of occupation .. consistent with this Act and the regulations” (as per subsection 14 (2.1)), this change will give the Minister control over both the circumstances and terms of such permits! I see this as absolute discretion to grant land use permits within Provincial Parks to anyone, including alternate energy project operators (such as industrial wind turbine corporations).

    Schedule 59, page 295 .. changes to Public Lands Act
    Given that Public Land is synonymous with Crown Land, and given that Provincial Parks are a planning distinction of Crown Land Use Designation, I believe the Public Lands Act holds a serious foundation of authority under the Provincial Parks and Conservation Reserve Act. Again there’s the same issue of delegation of power to other than government workers, with the same
    rejection of liability on the part of the government.

    • ScepticalGord says:

      Ontario’s Environmental Commissioner Gord Miller has continually been a huge supporter of industrial wind turbines. He even went on TV, sweaty brow and all, to proclaim back in March on the hottest day of the unseasonable warm spell, that green energy like wind turbines was going to save us from the “sky is falling” scenario.

      So, Mr Miller, what is it going to be? Are you going to finally come clean and speak the truth about IWTs or are we going to install these useless machines all over Ontario’s crown lands, conservation reserves and provincial parks?

      Come on Gord, mop up that brow and tell us that you’re on the side of real green, as in green spaces and Ontario’s beautiful public playgrounds.

    • kEITH sTELLING says:

      Yes, Barry, you are quite right. Bill 55 with its many schedules weakens a good deal of Ontario’s environmental legislation. The Endangered Species Act is only one statute that is being disabled. Schedules 15, 58 and 59 are all unacceptable. Also Schedule 44, amends section 17 of the Niagara Escarpment Planning and Development Act
      Certainly the ambiguity of Schedule 44 leaves much to puzzle out, though I expect it simply means more power to make changes by the Minister without being challenged. IT APPEARS THAT WHATEVER WHAS BEEN DECIDED THROUGH THE PUBLIC HEARING PROCESS CAN BE CHANGED BY THE MINISTER AFTER THE REVIEW HAS BEEN COMPLETED. This is a very dangerous move towards undermining the entire act and its processes of accountablility.

      Here is what it says:
      Niagara escarpment Bill 55 Schedule 44:
      Summary:
      Schedule 44
      Niagara escarpment planning and development act
      The Schedule amends section 17 of the Niagara Escarpment Planning and Development Act which requires periodic reviews of the Niagara Escarpment Plan to be carried out at the same time as reviews carried out under the Greenbelt Act, 2005.
      The amendments to subsection 17 (2) require the Minister to carry out public consultations during a review of the Niagara Escarpment Plan, after which the Minister may propose amendments to the Plan. The same procedures and rules that govern amendments made to the Plan under section 10 apply to amendments proposed as a result of a review, subject to a few exceptions set out in subsection 17 (4).

      Detail:
      Niagara escarpment planning and development act
      1. Subsections 17 (2), (3), (4), (5) and (6) of the Niagara Escarpment Planning and Development Act are repealed and the following substituted:
      Consultation and public participation
      (2) During a review, the Minister shall,
      (a) consult with any ministry with an interest in the Plan, the Commission or other interested public bodies;
      (b) consult with any advisory committee established under section 4;
      (c) consult with the council of each municipality if the jurisdiction of the municipality includes any part of the Niagara Escarpment Planning Area; and
      (d) ensure that the public is given an opportunity to participate in the review.
      Amendments to Plan
      *******(3) After completion of the review, the Minister may propose amendments to the Plan.
      Procedure
      (4) The procedures for amendments to the Plan set out in sections 10 and 11 apply with necessary modifications to an amendment proposed by the Minister under subsection (3), with the following exceptions:
      1. The Commission shall not appoint a hearing officer in accordance with subsection 10 (3) but may only do so if directed by the Minister.
      2. After receiving the Commission’s recommendations under subsection 10 (9), the Minister shall not act in accordance with subsection 10 (11) but shall submit the proposed amendments with his or her recommendations thereon to the Lieutenant Governor in Council in accordance with subsection 10 (12).
      Objectives
      (5) Amendments to the Plan resulting from a review under this section shall be consistent with and promote the objectives of the Plan described in section 8.
      Commencement
      2. This Schedule comes into force on the day the Strong Action for Ontario Act (Budget Measures), 2012 receives Royal Assent”.

      COMPARE
      PREVIOUS WORDING:
      17. (1) The Minister shall cause a review of the Niagara Escarpment Plan to be carried out at the same time the review of the Greenbelt Plan is carried out under the Greenbelt Act, 2005. 2005, c. 1, s. 25 (2); 2009, c. 12, Sched. L, s. 7.
      Terms of reference
      (2) The Minister shall establish terms of reference for the review and the review shall be conducted in accordance with the terms of reference. 2000, c. 26, Sched. L, s. 7 (8).
      Procedure
      (3) Subject to the terms of reference and to subsection (4), the provisions of this Act relating to the amendment of the plan apply with necessary modifications to the review. 2000, c. 26, Sched. L, s. 7 (8); 2009, c. 12, Sched. L, s. 14 (1).
      Decision of L. G. in C.
      (4) Following the completion of the review, the Minister shall submit a report on the review with his or her recommendations thereon to the Lieutenant Governor in Council, and the Lieutenant Governor in Council may confirm the Plan or may approve the Plan with any modifications that the Lieutenant Governor in Council considers desirable. 2000, c. 26, Sched. L, s. 7 (8); 2009, c. 12, Sched. L, s. 14 (1).
      Effect of decision
      (5) The confirmed Plan or the modified Plan is the Niagara Escarpment Plan for the Niagara Escarpment Planning Area. 2000, c. 26, Sched. L, s. 7 (8); 2009, c. 12, Sched. L, ss. 7, 14 (2).
      Transition
      (6) This section applies to the review that began on June 15, 1999 and to subsequent reviews. 2000, c. 26, Sched. L, s. 7 (8).

      COMPARE
      Previous wording:
      10. (1) During the course of the consideration of amendments to the Niagara Escarpment Plan, the Commission shall,
      (a) furnish each municipality within or partly within the Niagara Escarpment Planning Area with a copy of the proposed amendments and invite it to make comments thereon within such period of time, not being more than 60 days from the time the amendments are furnished to it, as is specified;
      (b) publish a notice in such newspapers having general circulation in any area that is within the Niagara Escarpment Planning Area as the Commission considers appropriate, notifying the public of the proposed amendments, indicating where a copy of the amendments, together with the material used in the preparation thereof mentioned in subsection (6), can be examined and inviting the submission of comments thereon within such period of time, not being more than 60 days from the time the notice is first published, as is specified; and
      (c) furnish copies of the proposed amendments to the advisory committees appointed under section 4 and invite the committees to make comments thereon within such period of time, not being more than 60 days from the time the amendments are furnished to them, as is specified. 1999, c. 12, Sched. N, s. 4 (6); 2002, c. 17, Sched. F, Table; 2009, c. 12, Sched. L, s. 7.
      Public meetings during comment period
      (1.1) During the time for making comments, the Commission may hold public meetings to promote public discussion of the proposed amendments. 2000, c. 26, Sched. L, s. 7 (3).
      Notice of public meetings
      (1.2) The Commission shall give notice of public meetings held under subsection (1.1) in such manner as the Commission considers appropriate. 2000, c. 26, Sched. L, s. 7 (3).
      Extension of time
      (2) The Commission may extend the time for making comments, before or after the expiration of the time, if it is of the opinion that the extension is necessary to ensure a reasonable opportunity for comments to be made. 1999, c. 12, Sched. N, s. 4 (6).
      Hearing officer
      (3) If written objections to the proposed amendments are received by the Commission before the expiration of the time for making comments, the Commission shall, and if no written objections are received within that time the Commission may, appoint one or more hearing officers for the purpose of conducting one or more hearings within the Niagara Escarpment Planning Area or in the general proximity thereof for the purpose of receiving representations respecting the proposed amendments by any person desiring to make representations. 1999, c. 12, Sched. N, s. 4 (6); 2000, c. 26, Sched. L, s. 7 (4).
      Notice of hearing
      (4) If one or more hearing officers are appointed under subsection (3) to conduct a hearing, they shall fix the time and place for the hearing and shall publish notice thereof in such newspapers having in their opinion general circulation in any area that is within the Niagara Escarpment Planning Area as they consider appropriate. 1999, c. 12, Sched. N, s. 4 (6).
      Time of hearing
      (5) The time fixed for any hearing under subsection (3) shall be not sooner than 21 days after the first publication of the notice of the hearing and not before the expiration of the time for making comments on the proposed amendments. 1999, c. 12, Sched. N, s. 4 (6).
      Procedure at hearing
      (6) At a hearing under subsection (3), the persons proposing the amendments or their representatives shall present the proposed amendments and the justification therefor and shall make available for public inspection research material, reports, plans and the like that were used in the preparation of the amendments and, subject to the rules of procedure adopted by the hearing officers for the conduct of the hearing, the persons presenting the amendments and any other persons who make presentations at the hearing may be questioned on any aspect of the amendments by any interested person. 1999, c. 12, Sched. N, s. 4 (6).
      Application of Public Inquiries Act, 2009
      (7) Section 33 of the Public Inquiries Act, 2009 applies to a hearing under subsection (3). 2009, c. 33, Sched. 6, s. 75.
      Report of hearing officers
      (8) Not more than 60 days after the conclusion of any hearings conducted under subsection (3), or within such extended time as the Commission may specify, the hearing officers shall report to the Commission a summary of the representations made at the hearings together with a report stating whether the proposed amendments should be accepted, rejected or modified, giving their reasons therefor, and shall at the same time furnish the Minister with a copy of the report. 1999, c. 12, Sched. N, s. 4 (6).
      Commission recommendations
      (9) After giving consideration to any comments received under subsection (1) and, if one or more hearings were conducted under subsection (3), after giving consideration to any report received under subsection (8), the Commission shall submit its recommendations on the proposed amendments to the Minister. 1999, c. 12, Sched. N, s. 4 (6).
      Inspection of report and recommendations
      (10) A copy of any report made under subsection (8) and a copy of the recommendations submitted to the Minister under subsection (9) shall be made available in the office of the Minister, in the offices of the Commission, in the office of the clerk of each municipality, the whole or any part of which is within the Niagara Escarpment Planning Area, and in such other offices and locations as the Minister determines, for inspection by any person desiring to do so. 1999, c. 12, Sched. N, s. 4 (6).
      Decision of Minister
      (11) After receiving the Commission’s recommendations under subsection (9), the Minister may refuse the proposed amendments or may approve the proposed amendments with any modifications that he or she considers desirable, unless,
      (a) in the opinion of the Minister, to do so would be inconsistent with any recommendations received under subsection (8) or (9); or
      (b) the Lieutenant Governor in Council requires the Minister to submit the proposed amendments to the Lieutenant Governor in Council because the Lieutenant Governor in Council is of the opinion that the amendments could have a significant impact on the purpose or objectives of the Niagara Escarpment Plan. 1999, c. 12, Sched. N, s. 4 (6); 2009, c. 12, Sched. L, s. 7.
      Submission of amendments to L.G. in C.
      (12) If amendments are not refused or approved by the Minister under subsection (11), the Minister shall submit the proposed amendments with his or her recommendations thereon to the Lieutenant Governor in Council. 1999, c. 12, Sched. N, s. 4 (6).
      Public notice
      (13) If, in the opinion of the Minister, the recommendations of the Minister to the Lieutenant Governor in Council are inconsistent with any recommendations received under subsection (8), the Minister shall give public notice of his or her recommendations and the Lieutenant Governor in Council shall allow a period of at least 21 days after the giving of the notice during which representations in writing can be made by anyone concerned to the Lieutenant Governor in Council. 1999, c. 12, Sched. N, s. 4 (6).
      Decision of L.G. in C.
      (14) The Lieutenant Governor in Council may refuse the proposed amendments or may approve the proposed amendments with any modifications that the Lieutenant Governor in Council considers desirable. 1999, c. 12, Sched. N, s. 4 (6).
      Effect of approval
      (15) If amendments are approved by the Minister under subsection (11) or by the Lieutenant Governor in Council under subsection (14), the amendments form part of the Niagara Escarpment Plan for the Niagara Escarpment Planning Area. 1999, c. 12, Sched. N, s. 4 (6); 2009, c. 12, Sched. L, s. 7.
      Copies of amendments
      11. When the Niagara Escarpment Plan is amended, the Minister shall promptly provide a copy of the amendment to the Commission and to the clerk of every municipality that is affected by the amendment. 2000, c. 26, Sched. L, s. 7 (5); 2009, c. 12, Sched. L, s. 7.
      Commission to make Plan available
      12. The Commission shall make the Niagara Escarpment Plan available for public inspection. 2000, c. 26, Sched. L, s. 7 (5); 2009, c. 12, Sched. L, s. 7.

  4. Short of “going public” the Environment Commissioner has basically “screamed out loud” on his website that this Bill 55 is absolutely CRIMINAL!

  5. jack says:

    I’ve emailed just about everyone under the sun regarding this criminal Bill. So far no response. Everyone’s appears to have their collective heads stuck in the sand on this one. Reminds me of the three monkeys. Hear No, Speak No and See No. McWindy, Whodat and Hogwash. Mark my words, McSquinty going to give just enough tidbits to Hogwash push this Bill through.

  6. Keith Stelling says:

    Just when you thought the Ministry of the Environment was there for the protection and conservation of our natural environment? Wrong. Perhaps the Ministry of Natural Resources could help you. Or better still, why not try the Ministry of Finance. Here is the “nothing to do with us reply from Kafka’s castle” being sent out by the MOE. How do we hold these people to their mandate?

    Vecchiarelli, Pat (ENE) Pat.Vecchiarelli@ontario.ca
    April-19-12 2:51 PM

    “Thank you for your message about the Endangered Species Act and Bill 55.

    “The Ministry of the Environment (MOE) recognizes your interest in the protection and conservation of our natural environment. This said, the issues you raise can best be addressed by the Ministry of Natural Resources, which has the lead responsibility for the Endangered Species Act. You can direct your message to the Honourable Michael Gravelle, Minister of Natural Resources, through the website at http://www.ontario.ca/mnr. Select “Contact us” from the top of the main page, and use the on-line form”.

    “With respect to Bill 55, this proposed Act was introduced by the Honourable Dwight Duncan, Minister of Finance, and you may want to convey your comments to his office. You can do this through the website at http://www.fin.gov.on.ca/en/about/min.html by selecting “Contact the Minister” and using the on-line form”.

    “Thank you for bringing your comments and concerns to the attention of the MOE”.
    Duh!

  7. Greg says:

    Regarding Bill 55:
    There is some very serious nonsense going on. I monitor the news and hansard carefully. I may be mistaken, but I have seen absolutly zero on this.
    I telephoned the PC enviroment critic today, and was told that they have recieved nothing from the public on the subject.
    I telephoned the original writer ( Mr. Stelling ) of the above request and he was dumbfounded , as all MPP.s should have been notified through the letter.
    I telephoned the NDP, line not working.
    I telephoned the Premier…..left a message.
    I telephoned Jim Wilson, his staff will bring it to his attention.
    I telephoned many more.
    As I made my way through the calls ( 26) there was one theme from the PC’s…..We will not support the budget…
    I told them that I already know that, my question is, why are you not publicizing Bill 55?
    I asked many to hold a news conference and do such, before Tuesday.
    The NDP contacted ,said that they feel a fair tax is in order…..again! I asked about Bill 55
    I do not know if the letters are getting through or the PC and NDP just don’t know what it means.
    Everyone that I talked to was clueless and had to look it up.
    All I am saying is, write more letters….especially the PC enviro critic.
    Reply

    • Gears says:

      Well…the PCs have been totally silent other than…”we won’t support the budget”. Now Hogwash is saying she’ll bend on the HST for heating bills issue. Typical NDP…tax the successful people (you we’re told all your life to work hard to be successful and you will get rewarded….cough!…taxed…right?)…and then get the double bang by taxing heating bills of the people who can least afford it…oh…can’t forget… electricity prices going up May 1st…that would be the triple bang tax…way to go Andrea!! Get em’ comin’, goin’ and sleeping. This should be easy fodder for the Tories….Zzzzzzzz. Lisa Thompson…are we missing something?

      • petra says:

        Hey Gears, great minds think alike.
        Posted mine 1 minute after yours….

  8. petra says:

    A few days ago I wrote a short letter expressing my concerns about Bill 55. Not only that I am concerned, but that Gord Miller is also concerned. I used the website link on OWR. I know it got through because one Liberal minister replied and said that the budget was prudent or something like that and that he would be supporting it.

    Andrea Hogwash is already back pedalling anyway. Used to be that she REALLY wanted HST removed from home heating fuel – now she says that NOT the whole budget hinges on that.

    Increase in our electricity bills as of May 1. Listening to John Tory on Newstalk 1010 today. He claims that in all likelihood NDP have already struck a deal with McShifty if this info was made public.

    Wonderful, just freaking wonderful…..

  9. David Libby says:

    Greg, and everyone, thanks for working so hard with this. Some of us have been trying as well. So you are not alone. I think the problem is the numbers just aren’t high enough yet. The magic number may be 2000 – 5000. 10 times more than we have now. Keep these types going. Next time we’ll increase a little more and eventually we will get there.

    Ontario PC environment critic:
    Michael Harris MPP (PC)
    http://www.ontla.on.ca/web/members/members_detail.do?locale=en&ID=7181

    Room 344, Main Legislative Building
    Toronto, Ontario M7A 1A8
    Tel 416-325-3130
    Fax 416-325-3214
    michael.harris@pc.ola.org

    Ontario NDP environment critic:
    Jonah Schein MPP (NDP)
    http://www.ontla.on.ca/web/members/members_detail.do?locale=en&ID=7172

    Queen’s Park
    Room 372, Main Legislative Building, Queen’s Park
    Toronto, Ontario M7A 1A5
    Phone: (416) 325-0014
    Email:
    jschein-qp@ndp.on.ca

  10. David Libby says:

    Quite some time ago, maybe January, all 3 parties decided that there would not be any election this spring. Likely next spring. The parties wish to keep everthing quiet at this time and just muddle on.

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