It’s springtime – birds singing…
Or at least we hope so. Is anybody checking? I mean is the wind company busy collecting carcasses, or listening to bird song? Is the government monitoring the cumulative impacts from the massive wind developments that have been deployed all over Ontario in the last few years?
In short, no. But here’s a test you can all try (and I hope you do): try looking for a Bird/Bat
Mortality Report of any wind project of your choosing in Ontario. It’s like an easter egg hunt, or an eagle egg hunt. Not a very fruitful one though – I’ve only found two – both from before 2012. One is the infamous Wolfe Island bird carnage (all reports are fully listed on the company’s site), and the other is for the Harrow project, but it’s posted here on OWR… so that doesn’t really count as a brownie point for the wind company.
That’s all I can find but if anyone else can point out some more – please share. You’d think the wind developers would have these reports on their websites, especially after all those reassurances at the meetings that the kills would be ‘monitored’ and ‘mitigated’ and of course the people would be kept in the loop.
In my old backyard of Middlesex County there was an active eagle nest smack in the NextEra Bornish Wind Project – 400m from the massive substation, and surrounded by hundreds of wind turbines now. It’s hard not to think about those eagles and wonder how they are doing, how their offspring fared. Same with the eagles in Haldimand that were evicted from their nest – what happened to them? And the swallows too, flocks of them at this time of year skimming the pond.
In reading the Adelaide Community Liaison Report NextEra said they would submit these mortality reports at the beginning of March this year. Sounds good, doesn’t it? Yeah, well – too good to be true. March comes and I’m checking all over their website – no documents.
I start looking for other Bird and Bat Mortality Reports for other recent projects and find myself coming up empty handed. What the hell?? By now there should be tonnes of them considering all the projects in operation!
So I contact the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry, where the reports were submitted to. They tell me to go ask NexTerror first. (Kidding, they said NextEra, but they were probably thinking it!).
I breathe in, and write them. (By now I’m losing my cool with this company for multiple reasons, this is as nice as I could be.)
I’m looking for the Bird and Bat Monitoring Report for the Adelaide and Bornish Wind Projects.
From the Community Liaison Committee meeting notes, they should be available by March 1, 2016. “Annual report provided to MNRF by March 1 following each year of monitoring“.
This was my home for 33 years and I still give a damn about the eagle nest, and the multitude of barn swallows and bat colonies. It appears if nobody asks for this report, then nobody knows.
Please direct me to where the public can access these reports, or alternatively send me them both on to me.
A quick letter back to Steve (that didn’t get any answers):
Dear Steve (last name?),
A ‘summary’, in ’90 days’, ‘maybe’?
Could you not just send me the same full bird/bat death report you sent the MNRF right now, since you already have it?
Or does it have to be manipulated first, for public consumption.
The MNR reassures me that they have these documents but haven’t reviewed them and then I’m told the only other way to retrieve them is to file a Freedom of Information request to see them. I throw my $5 into an envelope and send it in to the Information and Privacy Commissioner, and wait.
A letter arrives saying they received my request. A second letter arrives saying they need to run it by a “third party”. Ugh, why does everything have to be run by NextEra first in Ontario? This sure is the run around for a document that should be public posted already!
Ever wonder why the media is so silent on bird and bat mortality for these current wind projects that are operating? It’s because this is a real bugger of a process to go through to hopefully get the data! Back in the day when the Wolfe Island data was released – the media wrote about it – it was big news and people were calling for action and change. Turns out the only change that happened was that bird and bat death reports were no longer released for the public to see (a quick fix!) – it wasn’t mandatory and all the wind companies took note of that gift from the Ontario government.
And what about Bird Studies Canada – they have a database that the wind companies ‘voluntarily’ submit their kills to. It’s well sealed off from the public as well. For corporations and government only. It’s sponsored by Canadian Wind Energy Association, Canadian Wildlife Service (Environment Canada), and the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources. I count two government agencies in there and a wind lobbyist – that’s nice, our tax dollars pay for a publicly inaccessible database that seemingly does nothing to protect the species that are hitting the blades.
What can you do to help? How about this:
I’ve asked for the full reports for the NextEra Summerhaven, Adelaide and Bornish Wind projects. Perhaps you would be so kind as to file FOIs for other projects too. In the comment section here tell us which ones you are going to file for so we don’t duplicate each other. Ask to have it electronically and hopefully then the costs won’t be outrageous – we are doing a public service that the wind companies and government should already be doing.
Then send it all on to OWR: (firstname.lastname@example.org) and I’ll post them so the data is finally public. We’ll be helping the researchers and reporters – info at their finger tips, not hidden in some government box under lock and key, which is right where the wind companies want it.
Because as companies like NextEra know: without the facts, there isn’t a story. Let’s not let them control who can see the facts.