Conservation Authority’s wind energy lease “a messy web” to wind activists

ABCAHeather Wright, Sarnia-Lambton Independent
Ausable Bayfield Conservation Authority is talking to lawyers about a lease it holds with NextEra Energy on a piece of land in the Municipality of Bluewater. Tom Proutt, general manager of the authority, confirms it was deeded the land from an estate over four years ago, long before wind projects became hugely controversial.

The authority is already under fire from wind groups because its foundation accepted a donation from NextEra Energy for a golf tournament in Exeter.  The conservation authority has to approve NextEra’s massive wind projects in Lambton Shores and in Bluewater and South Huron. Officials say they can only turn down the project for limited reasons including if it could cause flood damage, erosion or was in a dynamic beach area.

Proutt confirmed “the (land lease) contract we inherited had funds attached to it.” He wouldn’t say how much money is generated from the lease.  But the general manager adds “there will not be a tower on the property. “We were asked by some individuals for copies of the agreement and that we not accept funding from wind energy companies; our board is sorting through all that,” he added. Proutt says lawyers are currently looking into the contract and its implications.

Esther Wrightman of Middlesex Lambton Wind Action Group is not surprised the conservation authority would have been given land with a wind lease on it “considering the number of leases out there” – especially four years ago when there was little concern about the projects. But several sources say the authority not only inherited the lease, but renewed it recently. Proutt would not speak to the allegation, saying lawyers are looking into the lease.

Wrightman says renewing the lease was the wrong thing to do. “If the conservation authority’s mandate is to take care of these natural environments and they are to be model stewards of the land and are signing away or resigning leases on these lands, that does not set a very good example,” says Wrightman. “The better example would be ‘no, we don’t want to resign this.’ Read article

It begins- First hearing of Ostrander Point appeal today

Ostrander-OverviewRick Conroy, The Times
The Ministry of Environment’s review of the Ostrander Point wind energy development begins this Friday morning in a makeshift hearing room at the Town Hall in Picton. Both the Prince Edward County Field Naturalists (PECFN) and the Alliance to Protect Prince Edward County (APPEC) are seeking to overturn the Ministry’s decision to approve the nine-turbine development on Crown land on the County’s south shore.

PECFN and APPEC will begin to stake out their arguments against the project at a preliminary hearing of an Environmental Review Tribunal that gets underway Friday morning at 11 a.m. PECFN argues that the industrialization of this pristine shoreline will wreck the habitat for many animals and birds, and in particular the nesting grounds for two endangered species, the whippoorwill and the Blanding’s turtle. The Ministry of Environment doesn’t deny this project will likely destroy this habitat—but says that it has compelled the developer to take measures to minimize the harm and provide alternate nesting areas nearby. Read article

Opponents say wind company donations to conservation authority “a violation of public trust”

wetlandsHeather Wright, Sarnia-Lambton Independent
A donation to a conservation authority by one of the wind energy companies planning a massive project in the Grand Bend area is “a violation of public trust” according to anti-wind activist. And officials with the conservation authority which accepted it say it may be time to create a sponsorship policy.

For the past six years, the Ausable Bayfield Conservation Authority has held a golf tournament to raise money to maintain trails in a memorial park in Exeter. Last year, NextEra Energy was one of sponsors of the event. In an interview with QMI Agency, NextEra officials say they have a long history of backing community initiatives and they make the contributions “because it is the right thing to do.”

But the sponsorship drawn the ire of anti-wind activists who say the conservation authority has to approve the projects and should not be accepting money from the companies.

Marcelle Brooks of the Middlesex Lambton Wind Concern isn’t surprised NextEra is passing out cash in the community. “They are specifically aligning themselves with community and environmental organizations in order to appear sensitive,” she says. “Fortunately, residents know all about NextEra and that they are neither environmentally sensitive nor sensitive to the needs of the community.

“It is an absolute conflict of interest to accept any money from a company exploiting its land holdings…NextEra needs to get across the Ausable River (which is under the jurisdiction of the conservation authority). It is a violation of a public trust.” Read article

Captial Power Haldimand ERT Decision

IMG_1336Capital Power ERT Decision
Recommendations

[175] The Tribunal recommends that studies be conducted by the appropriate agencies to monitor over time the impact of wind turbine projects on the migratory staging and foraging habitats for tundra swans along the northern shoreline of Lake Erie.
[176] Specific to this REA, in light of the Director’s authority under s. 47.5.3 of the EPA, the Tribunal recommends to the Director and the Approval Holder that the following be added to terms and conditions of the Wind REA:
Natural Heritage Pre- and Post-Construction Monitoring
Pre-Construction Monitoring
1. The Approval Holder, in consultation with relevant agencies, should conduct one additional year of tundra swan bird surveys, including abundance surveys, for the Project area, to take place in 2013, during the time period when migrating tundra swans can be expected to be present in the Project area.
Post-Construction Monitoring
The post-construction mortality monitoring requirements of the REA should be extended to include the time period when migrating tundra swans can be expected to be present in the Project area.
[177] It is intended that this additional data would be used to enhance the available natural heritage baseline and post-construction information, for the purposes of more fully evaluating impacts following construction and operation of the Project, and, in the future, to evaluate cumulative impacts should other renewable energy projects along the north shore of Lake Erie be constructed.
ERTDECISION
[178] The Tribunal finds that the Appellants have not established that engaging in the Project in accordance with the REA will result in serious harm to human health.
[179] The Tribunal finds that the Appellants have not established that engaging in the Project in accordance with the REA will result in serious and irreversible harm to plant life, animal life, or the natural environment. Consequently, the Appellants’ appeals are dismissed and the Director’s decision is confirmed.
Appeals Dismissed
Dirk VanderBent, Panel Chair
Heather I. Gibbs, Vice-Chair

Changes to Endangered Species Act! Purpose to reduce “time & effort required to obtain approvals”

FOWL_SOUTH_SHORE_POSTER_12x24_006 for Pasting[1]Comment period extended to Feb 25th now. Changes made here.

Comment now (Due Feb 25) and tell the MNR and the Ontario Government we will NOT stand for anymore destruction of endangered species and their habitat!

MNR’s words: “Helping existing or planned activities proceed without additional approvals where new species or habitat protection comes about after their approval” Continue reading

Appeal Against Samsung wind project dismissed

Bill MontureStephanie Dearing, Tekawennake News
[excerpt] The recent removal of a Bald Eagle nest near Fisherville, to make room for a Summerhaven wind turbine and access road serves to highlight a number of the points the Six Nations men had laid out for the Tribunal. The nest removal had the full blessing of the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources.

Monture said the men are now considering their next steps, which may include going to court to appeal the Tribunal’s decision on the Samsung wind park. They will definitely be watching to see if the Tribunals recommendations are implemented.

While pleased to have won the recommendations for the Samsung wind farm, “To us it’s not good enough”, said Monture. Read article

Tell the MNR they have gone too far!

Picture 003Pictures: Eagle Nest Destruction, before, during and after
Videos: Nest & Tree cut downNextera in Damage Control
On the morning of January 5th, 2013 Nextera Energy removed a bald eagle nest (species of special concern in Ontario), and the tree it was in, in order to accommodate an access road and a wind turbine for their company in the Summerhaven project in Haldimand Cty. The MNR gave a permit for the company to do so the night before.
send a message redSend a message to the key decision makers!
[Jan 14th: 1,175 responses so far! Way to go, Ontario! Spread the word]

Continue reading

MOE shows flagrant disregard of citizens and nature

CHATHAM KENT INTERNATIONAL POWER GDF SUEZ FROM FARGO LINE (3)Countylive.ca
(Open letter to Jim Bradley, Minister of the Environment)
The Ministry of Environment’s decision not to conduct an Individual Environmental Assessment of access roads at Ostrander Point, announced in your December 19, 2012 letter, is based on numerous errors in fact and judgment.

Your letter states that between March and April 2011 you received 21 requests from members of the public.  In point of fact, the Honourable John Wilkinson, then Minister of Environment (MOE), received the requests.  In the last election Mr. Wilkinson was held accountable for his mishandling of the MOE portfolio.

Only 17 of the 21 requests came from members of the public.  The other four requests were from organizations which collectively represent thousands of citizens.  Why does your letter diminish the significance of comments by the Alliance to Protect Prince Edward County; the South Shore Conservancy; Friends of Arron Lake, Wind Concerns Ontario Grey Bruce; and the Prince Edward Field Naturalists, Ontario Nature and Nature Canada?

All the requests point out the extensive impact of the access roads:

  • fragmentation of wildlife habitat by the loop design
  • destruction/loss of alvar and woodland habitat
  • disturbance of avian and terrestrial wildlife during wind turbine construction and during the next 25
  • years of operation due to increased on-site human activities
  • harm, harassment and killing of two threatened species, Whip-poor-will and Blanding’s Turtle, albeit
  • authorized by a Ministry of Natural Resources permit
  • disturbance to raptors, especially protected Bald and Golden Eagles. Read article

Is the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources undermining our environmental legislation?

Report by Keith Stelling

Full text posted below, or download here: Is the Ontario MNR undermining our environmental legislation? Continue reading

MNR authorizes removal of Bald Eagle nest in Haldimand Wind Development!!!

Authorization for the removal of a Bald Eagle nest under the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act (FWCA)

SHAME ON YOU – MNR!!!

From the EBR:
“The [Nextera] Summerhaven Wind Energy Centre is located in Haldimand County and is expected to have a maximum generating capacity of more than 120 megawatts (56 wind turbines).”

“This project has been awarded a Feed-in-Tariff contract by the Ontario Power Authority, received the Renewable Energy Approval from the Ministry of the Environment and an approved Natural Heritage Assessment (NHA) from the Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR). No Significant Wildlife Habitat (SWH) was identified at this location during the preparation of the NHA.”

“The Commercial Operation Date (COD) is January 19, 2013. The project is now in its construction phase.”

“Since receiving all required approvals for this project, Bald Eagles (listed as special concern in Ontario) have built a nest within the project location in a tree that was scheduled to be removed for the construction of a road, and within 20 metres of the blade sweep of a proposed turbine.

The nest was brought to the attention of MNR in summer 2012 and confirmed in the fall when leaves fell from the tree. Confirmation of an active nest was given by Bird Studies Canada and Guelph District.

Bald Eagles typically start to look for nests in early winter and have been known to use more than one nest. By removing the nest before January 6th it is anticipated they will find another suitable nest location and will avoid disturbing them during their critical nesting period. Timing is critical as the eagles are not currently situated in the nest, however they have been seen perching in the near area. Removing the nest will reduce the risk of eagle mortality at the site. NextEra plans to provide artificial nests in the surrounding areas to ensure that the eagle pair can safely relocate.

MNR has granted authorization under Subsection 7(3) of the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act (FWCA) to remove the nest site by January 6th 2013.

Field Naturalists begin Ostrander Appeal Funding Drive

sign blanding turtleCountylive.ca
Prince Edward County Field Naturalists (PECFN) have launched an immediate fundraising drive to support an appeal against the permit for nine mammoth 2.5 megawatt industrial wind turbines to be built on the Ostrander Point Crown Land Block in the heart of the Important Bird Area of the County’s South Shore.

“With the help of County citizens and concerned Ontarians, PECFN will mount a vigorous appeal to the Environmental Review Tribunal (ERT) against the project,” says PECFN vice-president Myrna Wood. “Starting immediately, PECFN will be soliciting funds to support the appeal. County residents have shown through petitions, plebiscites and demonstrations they agree with the Field Naturalists that
Ostrander Point is the wrong place for wind turbines. Now the Field Naturalists need your help to fight the desecration of the South Shore natural habitat,” she said. “We estimate that it will cost over $100,000 to combat the Gilead project effectively at the ERT.”

Even before the campaign had been announced, potential donors had begun contacting PECFN to offer support. “Clearly Prince Edward County residents are prepared to dig deep to defend the natural habitat that is such an integral part of this area. We look forward to bringing our case to the Environmental Review Tribunal,” Wood said. The ERT requires that the appeal documents be submitted 15 days after approval. The timing of approval on December 20 means that the appeal documents must be submitted on January 4, 2013.  “As a result, PECFN executive members and environmental lawyer, Eric Gillespie, have been working nonstop over the Christmas and New Year’s holiday period to prepare.”

Cheques should be made payable to the Ostrander Point Appeal Fund and mailed to Myrna Wood, 59 King St. unit 2, Picton K0K 2T0

Samsung Haldimand Appeal Decision

HALDIMAND- NORFOLK

HALDIMAND

Samsung Haldimand ERT Decision Dec 2012
[excerpt]
Recommendations

[323] Although the appeals have not been successful, in response to some of the concerns raised by the Appellants and participants, and in light of the Approval Holder’s stated commitment to continue to consult with aboriginal stakeholders and the Director’s authority under s. 47.5.3 of the EPA, as noted by the Approval Holder, the Tribunal makes the following recommendations to the Approval Holder and the Director regarding the terms and conditions of the Wind REA:

Natural Heritage Pre-Construction and Post-Construction Monitoring
1. The Approval Holder, in consultation with other relevant stakeholders, should conduct further study and monitoring to augment the data that has been compiled as part of the various natural heritage assessments. The studies, monitoring and data collection should include aboriginal traditional knowledge. It is intended that this additional data would be used to enhance the available natural heritage baseline information, for the purposes of more fully evaluating impacts following construction and operation of the Wind Project, and, in the future, to evaluate cumulative impacts as other renewable energy projects along the north shore of Lake Erie are constructed. The studies, monitoring and data collection should include, at a minimum:

  • further baseline and post-construction studies on the inter-related bird habitats of the Grand River, Wardell’s Creek, Lake Erie and its shoreline, and in agricultural fields, with emphasis on how these areas are used collectively by migrating and overwintering birds; Continue reading

‘Reprehensible’

turbines-birdsRick Conroy, Wellington Times
Reaction has been swift and furious to the announcement that Ontario’s Ministry of Environment approved the development of a nine-turbine industrial wind factory on Crown Land at Ostrander Point in South Marysburgh. In approving this project the Ministry has decided to allow the developer Gilead Power to kill, harm, and harass two endangered species (Blanding’s Turtle and Whippoorwill) which inhabit the piece of property

Nature Canada issued a statement saying it is dismayed by Minister Bradley’s decision to approve a wind energy project on publicly owned Crown land within one of the most significant areas of bird and bat migration in Ontario.

“Ostrander Point is in the heart of the globally significant Prince Edward County South Shore Important Bird Area, and is well-known for its significance to migrating and breeding birds,” said Ted Cheskey, bird conservation manager for Nature Canada. “A wind energy plant at this location poses a high and permanent risk to birds and other animals, plant life, animal life and the natural environment. It is particularly shocking that an announcement of this significance would be made as Ontarians turn their attention to family and friends for the holidays. The public now has 15 days during this holiday period to submit a formal request for appeal. MPP Todd Smith calls the ministry of environment “a disgrace”. Read article

More harm/maim/ kill/ destroy habitat of endangered species permits for wind company

blandings_turtleEnvironmental Registry
Ostrander Point GP Inc. has applied for and has been issued an overall benefit permit under clause 17(2)(c) of the Endangered Species Act, 2007 with respect to Blanding’s Turtle, Eastern Whip-poor-will and Eastern Whip-poor-will habitat, for the purpose of the construction and maintenance of Ostrander Point Wind Energy Park in the Township of South Marysburgh.

Whip-poor-will

Both Whip-poor-will (Caprimlugus vociferous) and Blanding’s Turtle (Emydoidea blandingii), are listed as threatened on the Species at Risk in Ontario List in Ontario Regulation 230/08 (O. Reg. 230/08) of the ESA. Clause 9 (1)(a) of the ESA provides that no person shall kill, harm, harass, capture or take a living member of a species that is listed on the Species at Risk in Ontario List as extirpated, endangered or threatened.

Whip-poor-will currently has general habitat protection under the ESA. Clause 10(1)(a) of the ESA provides that no person shall damage or destroy the habitat of a species that is listed on the Species at Risk in Ontario list as an endangered or threatened species.

The Minister of Natural Resources may issue a permit to an applicant under clause 17(2)(c) of the ESA that authorizes the person to engage in an activity that would otherwise be prohibited by section 9 or 10 of the ESA if the Minister is of the opinion that the main purpose of the activity authorized by the permit is not to assist in the protection or recovery of the species specified in the permit, but,

  • (i) the Minister is of the opinion that an overall benefit to the species will be achieved within a reasonable time through requirements imposed by conditions of the permit, and,
  • (ii) the Minister is of the opinion that reasonable alternatives have been considered, including alternatives that would not adversely affect the species, and the best alternative has been adopted, and,
  • (iii) the Minister is of the opinion that reasonable steps to minimize adverse effects on individual members of the species are required by conditions of the permit.

An overall benefit to both species would be achieved through the following activities:

  • Proponent to acquire and manage a property outside the project area (that meets appropriate criteria as defined by the Ministry of Natural Resources) for the habitat preservation, rehabilitation and/or improvement of both Blanding’s turtle and Whip-poor-will.
  • Publication of Whip-poor-will survey methodology and the results of pre-construction monitoring
  • Financial support to fund graduate research related to Whip-poor-will for one of the following subjects of interest: variation in nesting success rates with proximity to turbines, variation in fledging dates with proximity to turbines, variation in territory size with proximity to turbines, foraging behaviour differences in response to turbines, and site fidelity. This research would be peer-reviewed and published.
  • Beyond standard species monitoring, a benefit to the species will be achieved through value added monitoring for multiple years on both the newly acquired property, as well as the windpower site, to gather new information and knowledge about Blanding’s Turtles and how they use their habitat. Value added monitoring being considered includes; successful techniques and methods to restore damaged Blanding’s Turtle habitat, movement patterns between life-cycle sub-habitats such as hibernation and nesting. Other value added monitoring efforts are being considered by Gilead and will be agreed upon with the MNR district. Reports summarizing monitoring results will be submitted to MNR annually.

More Information

Ostrander Point wind project, in middle of Important Bird Area, approved by MOE

Ostrander-OverviewEnvironmental Registry
A Renewable Energy Approval has been issued to Ostrander Point GP Inc, as general partner for and on behalf of Ostrander Point Wind Energy LP to engage in a renewable energy project in respect of a Class 4 wind facility consisting of the construction, installation, operation, use and retiring of 9 turbines, rated at 2.5 MW generating output capacity, with a total name plate capacity of 22.5 MW. The facility will be connected to Hydro One’s distribution system.

This Class 4 wind facility, known as the Ostrander Point project, is located in Prince Edward County, Ontario. The project will consist of 9 wind turbine generators. Emissions discharged to the atmosphere include noise. Continue reading

Hey Bentley – do you have a conscience?

Grade 2letter student

Latest Assault by the Ontario Government and the Wind Industry

The latest assault includes the amendments quietly announced on November 2nd, 2012 to O. Reg. 359/09

  • “Reduce the natural heritage setback from 120m to 50m for Class 3 solar facilities and for construction, installation or expansion of a transmission or distribution line, or expansion of an existing transformer station, distribution station or transportation system for renewable energy generation facilities subject to the regulation.
  • Remove requirement to consider valleylands as a natural feature (i.e. removal of requirement to identify, assess, or setback )
  • Allow for the construction, installation or expansion of a transmission or distribution line, or the expansion of an existing transformer station, distribution station or transportation system within provincially significant southern and provincially significant coastal wetlands, subject to the completion of an environmental impact study prepared in accordance MNR’s Natural Heritage Assessment Guide.” Continue reading

“I have no respect for Samsung. They have no respect for the wildlife. All they care about is the money.”

Jennifer Vo, PennEnergy
“No one on this tribunal will be living on this land. No one will know the effects until 40 years from now,” said Six Nations resident Lester Green in his closing statement at the Samsung Grand Renewable Energy Park hearing. The daylong hearing heard the appellants including Six Nations residents Bill Monture and Lester Green and Haldimand Wind Concerns restate their case on the morning of November 2 while the afternoon heard the closing testimonies from Samsung and the Ministry of Environment.

“No one knows what this will bring until there’s a disaster,” said Monture who added that the land is still disputed and the next action natives will take is put up trespassing signs on the land against renewable energy projects. “I have no respect for Samsung. They have no respect for the wildlife. All they care about is the money,” said Monture. “It’s pretty sad that we would give up our children’s rights for a dollar.”

The Environmental Review Tribunal (ERT) requested both written and oral submissions from all parties with the purpose of giving everyone a final opportunity to be heard. Monture and Green’s case revolved around the damage that the industrial wind turbines (IWT) could cause to the environment. They pled to the tribunal stating that Six Nations people live and rely heavily on that land.

Other arguments included the negative and irreversible effects the turbines could create to humans and animals; participants demanded more studies to be done including consideration of shadow flicker, which can create distractions for farmers operating farm equipment as well as reconsideration of the power line route. Read article

ABCA Hears How Turbines Affect Wildlife

CKNX News
Opponents of wind energy packed the Ausable Bayfield Conservation Authority board room Thursday.
They were there to ask that the board approve their request for a moratorium on any further development of wind energy until a study could be conducted that would show that development had no negative impact on the surrounding natural environment.

Muriel Allingham is a member of the Middlesex-Lambton Wind Action Group. She says current regulations would allow a wind turbine to be placed within 120 metres of a forested area. She says animals hear the same sounds people do and that could drive wildlife out of the area.

Allingham also feels the Green Energy Act has removed all local authority for permitting or locating wind turbines so she’s grateful that community groups and organizations like the Conservation Authority are recognizing the threats of wind energy to the environment.

Members of the Ausable Bayfield Conservation Authority did approve the group’s request for support.

“I See”

by Harvey Wrightman
Perhaps the biggest problem with these Environmental Review Tribunal appeal hearings is we get only the “appearance” of a fair hearing. Tuesday’s session was at the Kohler Community Centre, a WW2 Air Force barracks, well maintained by the onsite caretaker who obviously must do wonders with a limited budget – I hope that point is appreciated by the team of lawyers (some @ $500/hour) who descend on our rural communities. Wishful thinking – all we get from these people are averted looks, fake smiles and condescending remarks. Like a crew of evangelists sweeping into a new land, there is no regard let alone respect for local opinion and knowledge. Our thoughts are to be replaced with the new “green” beliefs.

The room is small and we sat directly behind the Samsung counsel, Sarah Powell and Matthew Milne-Smith (hired gun prepped and loaded for the day), sitting side-by-each to the Ministry of Environment’s Frederika Rotter and Sarah Kromkamp. A tangle of cords going to the court recorder and from there to the panel members connected them all to netbook computers so that they could scroll through all the documents, and read the transcript easily. But the lines ended there. None of the appellants had the electronic hook-ups. Why? – well it was all paid for by Samsung. They aren’t going to feed the locals/plebs. Yes, that means OUR MOE has documents that as a government ministry should freely make available to us. Another example of “loading the dice”, but no surprise as this government is deep into money addiction and casinos.

The opposing counsel were nervous – Freddy back to nail biting, repeatedly turning to the audience and faintly expressing a wolfish grin. Milne-Smith (umbrella man), sat stiffly with his shoes turned up and I couldn’t help but notice that his shoes had been resoled more than once, the last time a partial heel was applied at a very odd angular cut. I guess Matthew hangs onto his nickles! Continue reading

Watchdog looks to protect birds from turbines

Toronto Sun
TORONTO – Ontario’s environmental commissioner may love wind power but he believes more needs to be done to protect migrating birds and bats from the powerful turbines.

“Even though bird mortality is very low, relative to other sources, for wind turbines, why would we go into important bird areas,” Gord Miller said Tuesday on the release of his 2011-12 annual report, Losing Our Touch.

The commissioner — a strong supporter of wind-powered electricity generation — is recommending that the provincial government prohibit turbines in sensitive bird areas such as Point Pelee and the Leslie Street Spit in Toronto.

Miller also warned that Ontario is doing a poor job of monitoring wildlife impacted by the forestry industry, and appears unprepared to take serious action in the increasing likelihood of drought.

“This report is full of examples of stumbles and retreats in the implementation of programs and initiatives that were seemingly well conceived and used to work acceptably,” Miller said.

Natural Resources Minister Michael Gravelle said there are guidelines in place which require wind power companies to protect wildlife and to monitor the post-construction impact of projects.

“We do have thresholds that are part of those guidelines and if those thresholds are reached or exceeded, the company has obligations to take measures to improve those situations,” Gravelle said.

The minister also said that the government takes its obligation to monitor wildlife seriously. Read article

A Lot of Loose Info

by Harvey Wrightman
You can see the “effects” of the never-ending days of  the Environmental Review Tribunal appeals taking its toll on the Ministry of Environment and the Samsung lawyers. Yesterday in Cayuga, the MOE’s Frederika “Freddy” Rotter periodically lurches her whole body in a comic swing to gaze at the audience. At other times she fiddles with her Blackberry. She furtively chews her nails. It’s like watching a kid with stimulation overload.

Sarah Powell, Samsung counsel, will flip her glasses on and off, or her foot will almost enter orbit in a clonic spasm somewhere in the range of  200 Hz. On another occasion she was lifting one foot, then the other repeatedly in a trance-like movement.

(left) MOE Freddy & (right) Samsung Sarah

Why all the worry? There’s a lot riding on this project. No one has control of it. The traditional Onkwehonwe are highlighting some serious deficiencies in the consultation process – to the point that both the MOE and Samsung state clearly that this hearing can NOT make any decisions on the consultation process. So, was that bit of admonishment for the ERT panel’s benefit? Certainly the Onkwehonwe’s Bill Monture and Lester Green were having no part of that scolding as they blew holes in the project documents submitted by the company. A modicum of real consultation with locals, especially the Onkwehonwe who know the “natural features” of the area so well, would have produced more accurate reports. Of course, like the elite mutts that seem to run all these “so-called, green energy” enterprises, they assume that local people know nothing and are merely a “nuisance” to the greater plans of the government/wind company coalition. Continue reading

Do they see what I see?

by Linda Rogers
ERT “Monture No.2 vs. Director:
Samsung-Pattern Energy Grand River Renewable Wind in Haldimand

The morning of September 13, 2012 was spent hearing David Hyslop being a “witness onto himself”- where he outlined his case giving evidence supporting his position; that the wind turbine number 9 of the Samsung- Pattern Energy project would cause serious harm to human health and serious and irreversible harm to the environment, animal and plant life to the Wardel creek watershed.

September 13, 2012 was also the day for the site visit to Mr.Hyslop’s home and farm property.

The Grand River Renewable energy project is being challenged at the Environmental Review Tribunal being held in Cayuga.  This ERT appeal has now been dubbed “Monture No.2”.   Mr.Monture a resident of Six Nations and who follows what he calls the traditional way, lead the charge as a party against Next Era’s Summerhaven Wind project.  The tribunal hearing “Monture vs. the Director” was recently concluded and its decision is pending and will be rendered by October 1st 2012.

Multiple tribunal appeals are now concurrently in play against granted approvals for wind projects in Ontario.  Active opposition remains unwavering and the flood gates of legal actions have been opened and each day passes with new developments and cases being launched. Continue reading

Wildlife warning issued at wind energy meeting

Cottage Country Now
TROUT CREEK – Wind turbines could put an end to hunting and trapping in the area. “These turbines will mean a loss of habitat for animals in the area,” said Trout Creek resident Patricia Brown of the project that is currently in the works in the neighbouring Township of Laurier. “Mammals will leave the area because of the vibrations in the ground. Once these things go up, they won’t be sticking around.”

The affects of wind turbines on bird migration patterns, livestock, and native wildlife got a rise out of Paul Chapman, an area hunter. “I’ve been here my whole life and there are lot’s of hunters and trappers around here that use that area,” he said. More than 100 people, including MPP Vic Fedeli, MP Jay Aspin, and Powassan Mayor Peter McIsaac, filed into the Trout Creek Community Centre Tuesday night looking for information on the wind farm. The project will encompass more than 450 hectares of Crown land approximately one kilometre southeast of Trout Creek, south of Forestry Road, west of Ralph’s Road, and east of Highway 11. “The fact that this is on Crown land means we should have a say,” said Brown. “This is everyone’s land.”

Schneider Power Inc., the proponent, announced plans to hold a public meeting on Aug. 21 at the community centre as a mandatory requirement of the Ontario Renewable Energy application review process. The company has already received Feed-In Tariff (FIT) program approval. Read article

Support Bill Monture on July 19 in Hagersville for Haldimand Appeal

Please join Haldimand Wind Concerns in support of Bill Monture on Thursday, July 19, 2012 at the Hagersville Community Centre, 62 Main Street South MAP  at 10:00 am. to hear final submissions. The Tribunal will make a decision on Bill Monture’s appeal by October 1, 2012.

Renewable Energy on Crown Land Policy

Submit Comment Here by October 13, 2012
Description of Policy:
The government has placed a priority on expanding the amount of energy produced from renewable energy sources. Renewable energy development is a cornerstone of the province’s future prosperity and its commitment to protecting the environment. Continue reading

NextEra’s Mock Scavenger Hunt

by Harvey Wrightman
As most of you already know, perception and reality are two different things in the land of wind development; and, Thursday’s ERT hearing was a perfect example. What’s so ironic in this case is that the conventionally dressed NextEra/Golder/MOE lawyers and functionaries are in contrast to the colorful attire of Bill, Dave, Bud and Lester. Societal conditioning tells you to ‘trust’ the men in suits. They have the education, the credential, and the groomed speech and manner. But sitting in the gallery and closing your eyes, pretending to be a blind person; listen to the questions and responses, and the contrast is even sharper than the visual, and, indeed, it is the opposite. Nothing is at it appears. It is Alice’s Wonderland.

Project manager for Summerhaven Wind, NextEra/FPL’s Ben Greenhouse, was led through a droning, painfully slow, bureaucratic exercise that decided what was going where and how the mandated reports would confirm confirm what was already planned for at the corporate level 5 year-plan level. When asked specific questions re: environmental or biological impacts, more often than not, his answers were repeatedly, “I don’t know”, or “…Mr. Trimble is better qualified to answer that.” Greenhouse’s job was easy, fob it off onto the Golder witness, who was next in-line. Perhaps that’s why he hasn’t been promoted in 5 years with FPL. He’s stuck in second gear. Continue reading

“We need to ask you (NextEra, MOE & ERT) about harm.”

by Harvey Wrightman
Bill Monture, the traditional Mohawk, is definitely not like the elected chief, Wm. Montour. Their views of wind development are polar opposite. I came into the Tuesday hearing just before noon, in the midst of a presentation by a team member of Bill Monture’s group – Mr. Slaman who culled out some interesting details from the Golder avian report, going so far as to obtain the field notes of the study. To whit:

  1. The studies were done not knowing the exact turbine locations (which seem to change innumerable times in every project). This is akin to driving without a map to an unknown destination.
  2. As a consequence of #1 above, a lot of observation was done from a car seat, a kind of drive-by reporting style.
  3. Only migratory routes were taken into consideration, completely ignoring the staging and foraging routes to nearby grain fields so important in the energy diet for waterfowl migration. Something that’s well-known and extensively studied by Long Point Waterfowl.
  4. Natural features that contribute to “funneling” of flight pathways are not considered.
  5. There is no mention of the further fragmentation of habitat which will affect feeding and reproduction.
  6. The energy cost of “avoidance strategy” is not discussed.
  7. Tundra swans are not considered at all, Golder stating, “…would not bother to count them.”
  8. The mortality reporting method is not systematic nor comprehensive. Carcass searches will be conducted only within the span of the blades (50m), though a bird strike could be hurled or fly off further.
  9.  If the ground vegetation is over 25 cm, no search is required. The wind way – lots of excuses to do nothing.
  10.  Records are only done for the first 3 years.

Pointedly he said the field notes do not agree with the final report written. Perhaps stating the truth was not supportive of the turbine locations – more on this later.

The next 3 presenters were all traditional Mohawks, Lester Green spoke first.

He explained their position as guardians of nature who knows they must assure a plentiful nature for future generations. He said to the panel and other counsel, “We are not paid.” Continue reading

Hagersville Hearing – May 4th, Part 3: Bill Monture

by Harvey Wrightman
Bill Monture is a “traditional living” Mohawk from the 6 Nations First Nation. He along with his son Chuck and another young man, Lester. They sat at a table on the appellant’s side next to Eric Gillespie. They wore prominent, feather-adorned head-dresses which drew one’s attention – and Bill’s boots – a pair of traditional moccasin-style construction – comfortable and light.

There was a motion by the MOE, supported again by NextEra , to dismiss Bill’s appeal on the grounds that it was a copy of the appeal put forth by Haundeshuanee Development Institute – more commonly referred to as the HDI, and that appeal in Mapleton had been dismissed. Mario Faieta was the MOE counsel who carried the ball here.

In his reply, Bill bristled at the inference that he was a copy of HDI – in no way was he part of HDI and he wanted that “on the record.”

Bill’s arguments were that the UN Declaration of Human Rights, Article 18, states that indigenous peoples have the right to be included in the consultation process by way of their own institutions – sadly lacking in the typical wind industry “storyboard” community consultations. It matters not where you’re from in rural Ontario. Both the government and the industry want to sweep us aside as quickly as possible. First Nation status adds no benefit in their eyes. Continue reading

Dismantling the Environmental Protection Act