Has anyone mentioned recently how many birds or bats are found dead around the bases of operating wind turbines in Ontario? Like say… the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry, or how about Bird Studies Canada? Or maybe even one of the many wind companies in this province that have to collect the bodies? Surely with these hundreds of turbines in operation there would be a news article, or a report released with all the data…?
Of course not, because to talk about the bloody details of bird and bat deaths from wind turbines would just lead to a sorry black eye on such a glowingly green and pristine industry.
A week ago I was supposed to find out whether NextEra filed an appeal to my Freedom of Information request for three of their wind project’s Bird and Bat Mortality Reports. Nobody called, and nothing arrived in the mail, so I called in this morning. Turns out that even though NextEra had 30 days to file an appeal, they asked for a little more time. And in order to get what they wanted they pointed out a ‘clerical error’ that the FOI office made and this bought them that 30 additional days to file an appeal.
The important message out of this is that NextEra is appealing the FOI office’s decision to release these reports. They don’t want the public to see just how many Purple Martins they killed in Haldimand Cty, or what kind of raptors (Bald Eagles?) they killed in each of their projects. They must think the public can’t responsibly handle that kind of information. Or perhaps they are claiming it’s a ‘trade secret’ like Iberdrola did in Ohio. We won’t know what their official excuse is for another month.
But not for a second do I think this is only NextEra refusing to give information. Remember, not a single wind company has released these mortality reports for at least FOUR years in Ontario. Think about it – for four years the bird and bat deaths have gone unreported to the Ontario public, hidden in government archives and confidential Bird Studies Canada databases that nobody can access. Where does that leave the narrative on these deaths? Who can tell their story if they don’t know they exist? What’s the point of telling the public what the kill “threshold” is, if the real count is never released to them so they can hold the companies accountable?
But back to the silence, the four years of quiet that the wind industry has enjoyed. That’s just the way companies like NextEra want it. Similar to the SLAPP suit I continue to face by this company, all they were trying to accomplish with it was silence. Not accountability, not transparency, not trying to fix the bloody problem they created.
NextEra offered me a “summary” of their bird and bat “take” in three months time. I flat out rejected it as I knew it would be lacking 99% of the details. And that’s exactly what they delivered, some skimpy two-pagers to hopefully pacify the public…
- Adelaide 2015 Bird Bat Monitoring Summary
- Bluewater 2015 Bird Bat Monitoring Summary
- Bornish 2015 Bird Bat Monitoring Summary
- Conestoga Bird Bat Monitoring 2013 Fact Sheet
- Conestoga Bird Bat Monitoring 2014 Fact Sheet
- Goshen 2015 Monitoring Summary
- Summerhaven 2014 Bird Bat Monitoring Summary
There were 238 bat deaths reported at the Summerhaven project – that’s over twice the limit allowed by the MNRF. What’s the penalty? Nothing. These statements are hard to take, one after another. Too many deaths. Too may unanswered questions. Too much silence for too long. Why wasn’t Bird Studies Canada blowing the whistle? Why didn’t the MNRF call a halt to these projects that went way over their permitted “limits” to kill? Why does the media not know a thing about this for FOUR years?
Below you will see thirteen raptors were killed in just three NextEra projects last year. Several more deaths were reported in NextEra’s other projects as well, bringing it up to a sixteen deaths. Think of each hawks, eagle, osprey… picked from the ground around your farm, and bagged. No longer do you see that hawk on the wire down Kerwood Rd., or bald eagle overhead in West Williams.
This is cumulative – every year it will happen again and again. And these reported deaths are only a sampling of the birds and bats that fall beneath NextEra’s turbines. Only a few selected turbines are searched, twice a week, for half a year, and once a week for the rest. That sure leaves a lot of unaccounted for carcasses to be hauled away by coyotes.
As for the appeal, this isn’t new in North America. Wind companies seem to be creating a pattern of hiding the bird and bat deaths. And if the info is going to be released, they resort to their final way of dealing with issues like this: they sue. Hell, at this point, what’s another lawsuit…
~ Esther Wrightman