Dear NextEra, Destroy the eagle nest, just do it by Sunday. ~ Love, Ministry of Natural Resources

I’m still going through the NextEra eagle nest destruction FOI documents and will post them all as soon as I can. But so far I’d say this e-mail from the MNR to NextEra, on New Years Day (when we know everyone is at work, right?), delivering the permit to destroy the nest, says it all.

Oh, and how long do you think it took them to get this permit? Well, NextEra submitted a request on December 28th (Saturday afternoon…), and four days later they had it in their hot little hands. Now that’s service!!

Application to rezone Amherst Island park “a necessary step” to keep the wind turbine project going

Elliot Ferguson, Kingston Whig-Standard
A popular lakeside park in Loyalist Township will need to be converted to industrial land for a wind energy project to go ahead, according to a rezoning application to the provincial government. Invista’s property along Bath Road is to be used by Algonquin Power subsidiary Windlectric Inc. as a marshalling yard for its Amherst Island wind energy project.

The Invista property on the south side of Bath Road, however, is zoned for parkland, but the company applied to the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change to have the Certificate of Property Use (CPU) changed to temporarily allow industrial use of the park. The public has until March 2 to provide comment.

The land is to be used for the laying of underground cable to transmit electricity to a switch station and the use of an existing access road to transport materials to and from a temporary mainland dock. According to a notice published Tuesday on the Ontario government’s Environmental Registry website, the rezoning is “a necessary step” to keep the wind energy project going.

“Put another way, the project cannot proceed without the proposed amendment to the CPU,” the notice stated.

“If they don’t have this, they can’t build the project? Now they are basing the whole project on the mainland dock?” asked Michele Le Lay, president of the Association to Protect Amherst Island (APAI), the group opposing the project. “It seems that they started too early, they don’t have a good plan, they don’t have good measures, they still are lacking permits,” Le Lay said. “Right now this land is used by people in Loyalist Township, to walk their dogs, it’s a park and there is a boat launch. We’ve been saying all along that they don’t have the permits.” Le Lay said she is concerned that excavation on the land may disturb contaminents in the soil left over from previous industrial use. Read article

 

Four Bald Eagles Killed by Wind Turbines in Ontario

Bald eagles (yes that’s plural) have been killed in Ontario by wind turbines, and more will continue to meet this fate for the 20 year lifespan of these projects.  We knew of only one up until a few days ago. Not that we didn’t suspect there were others, but when the proof is in the hands of the government and the wind developers, you can be sure the public will be the last to find out.

Wind companies have quietly admitted in their reports to killing four bald eagles in Ontario. That’s just the bodies found (tripped over), not factoring in carcasses that have been scavenged and the months upon months that turbine bases just don’t get checked anymore.

X 2009, Norfolk Wind Project – Bald Eagle

X 2012, Talbot Wind Project – Bald Eagle

X 2013, Talbot Wind Project – Bald Eagle

X 2014, Port Dover Wind Project – Bald Eagle

Did the government fine the wind companies for any of these deaths? Of course not. Wind companies get “permission” to kill bald eagles. And bobolinks. And little brown bats. Anything you can imagine they can kill with impunity.

Last week we received these bird and bat mortality reports through an FOI. Something that we noticed going through them is that rules change – where to collect, when to collect, how long to collect. None of this is consistent. Wind companies go bankrupt, sell out, change names. So it’s no wonder that the Ministry of Natural Resources loses track of the ‘big picture’. Jim told me that he was absolutely certain there were NO cumulative impact studies on the bird and bat kills by wind turbines. He also hadn’t heard of many of the wind developments I had on the list… and he was the MNRF’s Renewable Energy coordinator. Continue reading

Wind Turbine Bird & Bat Mortality Reports, with Summary – Ontario, Canada

Below is a summary Maureen kindly assembled from all of the reports retrieved through the FOI. Have a good hard look at the numbers per project. Individually, these projects have got off scot free – they have never been challenged, never been questioned, never been charged, or even slapped on the wrist for these astounding kills. Dan tallied the actual raptor deaths on the right hand side, as many raptor deaths were ignored as “incidental” – not killed at the right time/place…more on that later. There is much more to glean from these reports – please share what you gather. This is a draft that will be added to and amended as we go.

Click here to download and view in full screen

Bird-and-Bat-Mortality-v012417-Sheet2

 

Full list of Bird and Bat Mortality Reports

Say NO to Double Standard on Species at Risk Penalties!

In the last few days these three stories came out. Please read them, and then respond to those who are failing to protect these Species at Risk below. 

1. Penalty for Canaport songbird deaths

…The deaths of thousands of songbirds at the Canaport LNG terminal more than three years ago resulted in a $750,000 penalty against the company… In September 2013, thousands of birds were drawn to a 10-to-15-metre gas flare during a period of fog and low cloud. Twenty-six species of migratory birds died, including four Canada warblers, a threatened species…

2. Former Liberal Pres. Crawley built worst ‘bat killing wind farm’ in Canada: 85 bats killed/turbine/yr

…This was an AIM PowerGen/International Power Corporation project – whose president is none other than the past Federal and Ontario Federal Liberal Party President Mike Crawley. It was approved  in 2009, and pretty much nothing more was said about it since. Which is so wrong. Let me explain. The “five” reports stuck out because usually (if the project is not killing over the ‘limits’ set by the government) there are only three reports. That means some ‘mitigation reporting’ was happening, for some reason. Well that reason became pretty obvious within seconds of looking at the 2011 report. How does 85.42 bats killed per wind turbine strike you? Or how about 53.1% of them being the Endangered Little Brown Bat?…

3. Minister says thanks but no thanks, to wind energy review pleas

…McKenna wrote that current research shows wind turbines kill relatively few birds when compared to cats, windows on buildings, vehicles and transmission lines.”Monitoring studies of existing wind farms in Ontario have shown that while some birds are incidentally killed, mortality rates as well as cumulative mortality of species that have been found incidentally killed to date are not likely to have a biologically significant impact on provincial population levels of those species,” McKenna wrote. “However, it is possible that turbine sites in areas with important populations of some species at risk could have impacts on those populations.”…


***Send a message to the key decision makers by filling out the form below with your own comments or copy and paste the following message into the comment section below:

The other day I read that LNG was fined $750,000 for killing 4 Species at Risk (SAR) in New Brunswick. Fair enough.

But I also read the 2011 Bird and Bat Mortality Report for the Mohawk Point Wind project in Haldimand County. It appears that this wind company killed around 270 SAR, in just one season. To be more specific – it was the Endangered Little Brown Bat that was all but wiped out by this project’s 6 wind turbines.

And I’m left wondering why this wind company wasn’t fined. In fact, I’m wondering why they were allowed to continue to operate year after year ever since. Even with mitigation measures, they were only able to bring the kill rate of the bats down to 24.27 bats/turbine/year by 2013 – over double the allowed limit in Ontario. Several years later now, it appears no government agency is even counting the deaths there anymore – they are just happening, and those who know, turn a blind eye.

This project continues to operate, and kill SAR, with impunity. Please explain to me the reason for the double standard. Or if it isn’t a double standard, and somehow the government just missed this violation, I might as will give you this link (below) to all the other wind turbine Bird/Bat mortality reports in Ontario, because there are hundreds of SAR that have been killed in these reports, and none of the operators have ever been penalized at all. So of course they continue their operations as usual.

Canadian Wind Turbine Bird and Bat Mortality Reports https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B24A4SH_cewXV0VhTENxTGp3LVk

I’m frankly sick and tired of watching wind developers get off scot free for this kind of slaughter that’s happening before our very eyes. If it’s wrong for LNG to kill endangered species, it’s wrong for all the wind companies in Canada to kill them as well. Apply the law consistently!

Awaiting your reply,

Subject: No Double Standard on Species at Risk Penalties! 


Form will be sent to:

  • Fed. Min. of Environment: Catherine McKenna
  • Fed. Min. of Natural Resources: Jim Carr
  • Fed. Conservative Environment critic: Ed Fast
  • Fed. Conservative Natural Resources critic: Candice Bergen
  • Ontario Min. Natural Resources: Kathryn McGarry
  • Ontario Min. of Environment: Glenn Murray
  • Ontario PC Natural Resources critic: Todd Smith
  • Ontario PC Environment critic: Lisa Thompson
  • Ontario PC Leader: Patrick Brown
  • Ontario PC Energy critic: John Yakabuski, Energy Critic,
  • Ontario NDP Natural Resources critic: Gilles Bisson

Here they are: Wind Turbine Bird/Bat Mortality Reports in Ontario to date

We did it! It’s hard to believe that most of these documents were kept from public view until now.  I think there are reports for 57 different wind project listed here in Canada.

170+ documents arrived two days ago. I’ve posted the bird and bat mortality reports up on the public google drive anyone can see and download them.

The Freedom of Information office was helpful and diligent and even reversed an earlier decision that had redacted Species at Risk Information.

In the coming days I’ll also post documents and correspondence that I have yet to assemble on how and why the active bald eagle nest in Haldimand County was destroyed by NextEra. I can only take so much government crap at once, and that was one big manure load…

Thank you all so much for helping make this happen.

Think about it – the last report like this that was voluntarily released by a wind company was 3 years ago! Then the wind developers and government must have decided that wasn’t good PR, or good for the tribunal hearings against them, so they kept the rest of them hidden.

YOU helped make these public so that journalists, researches and the residents that lives amongst these monster machines can see what it going on and, most importantly, hold them accountable! These are no longer “trade secrets” for the industry.

Read them over, get on then phone and read the whole damn thing to your MPP, or the Minister of Natural Resources, or good ‘ol Glenn Murray (if he hasn’t blocked you yet), or how about Dianne Saxe (LOL! I know, but she is the supposed Environment Commissioner). Use them in appeals, in letters to the editor, in educating your neighbours and the nature societies (hm, could Suzuki ever be interested?), and don’t forget to slap them on the table in front of your municipal representatives and ask them if THIS is what the township is accepting blood money in exchange for.

~Esther

Summary of Reports so far (click here to download and view in full screen)

(This list scrolls down – go all the way until you reach Wolfe Island)

 

Former Liberal Pres. Crawley built worst ‘bat killing wind farm’ in Canada: 85 bats killed /turbine/yr

Yesterday the CD arrived with loads of Bird and Bat Mortality Reports that I had filed an FOI from the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry for last year, and you good people had funded. I’m slowly organizing and will get them all posted shortly.

But for starters I came across five reports for Mohawk Point Wind Project, a 6 turbine project in Haldimand County. I didn’t know much about this one – it was never in the news… sort of flew under the radar. It came on around the time of the Clear Creek turbines in Norfolk County.

This was an AIM PowerGen/International Power Corporation project – whose president is none other than the past Federal and Ontario Federal Liberal Party President Mike Crawley. It was approved  in 2009, and pretty much nothing more was said about it since.

Which is so wrong. Let me explain. The “five” reports stuck out because usually (if the project is not killing over the ‘limits’ set by the government) there are only three reports. That means some ‘mitigation reporting’ was happening, for some reason.

Well that reason became pretty obvious within seconds of looking at the 2011 report.

How does 85.42 bats killed per wind turbine strike you?

Or how about 53.1% of them being the Endangered Little Brown Bat?

Perhaps I’m too soft, but my thinking is 25 bats per turbine is atrocious (I mean, 10 is the MNRF’s limit). And as for Little Browns, they usually only make up a percent or two – not HALF of the kill! It’s an endangered species for crying out loud!

Okay, based on these insane numbers, why didn’t they SHUT DOWN the project? Oh they mitigated instead, and they believe they brought it down to a more reasonably atrocious number of 24.27 bats killed per wind turbine/year by 2013. That puts you all at ease, doesn’t it? I mean shouldn’t we be happy for the success of this ‘mitigation’ even though it is still double the legal limit?

Not so fast. Think about this – female Little Browns have just one offspring a year. After 5 years of 6 turbines decimating 85 bats each (give or take), how many do you really think are left in those local colonies? Pretty damn sure that number is dropping rapidly by the oh-so-natural process of “wind turbine selection”.

And as for you, dear Crawely, at least you have the current claim of creating the biggest bat killing “farm” in the country. Now that should make the green Liberals proud.

Esther Wrightman

[With only an initial look at some reports I hope this is as bad as it gets for bat kills in this country. As the bird and bat mortality reports are slowly uncovered, the numbers just seem to get worse and worse. I never imagined it could get this low, but then again nobody was releasing this info to the public, so how were we to know? Maybe some company will outdo Crawley on this one yet…heck, maybe even some of Crawley’s other projects could claim this title too…]

Kathleen Wynne: How do you sleep at night?

Wind turbine appeal leaves wpd spinning

Gisele Winton Sarvis, The Enterprise Bulletin
The plan for wind turbines in Clearview has been suspended. In the David and Goliath battle between the small municipality of Clearview and the Government of Ontario and wpd Canada, subsidiary of an international wind energy company, the little guy won – for now.

The Environmental Review Tribunal (ERT) decision that the appeals were allowed was delivered by Dirk Vanderbent and Hugh Wilkins just after 6 p.m. Friday when the hearing was adjourned. The ERT ruled that the plans for turbines in proximity of Collingwood Regional Airport and the surrounding areas was proven to be a detriment both to human safety to planes using the airport and well and an environmental challenge to certain species, specifically the little brown bat.batspeciesmortalityontario

“It’s a great win for the Clearview,” said Mayor Chris Vanderkruys. “It’s a great win for the County of Simcoe. It’s a great win for the Clearview Aviation Business Park around the Collingwood Airport,” Vanderkruys said. “I think this has strengthened our vision of the industrial project and it will be a boom for the economy of Simcoe County,” he added.

The County of Simcoe, the Town of Collingwood and the Township of Clearview appealed the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change’s (MOECC) approval of the wpd Canada Fairview Wind Project based on the threat to human safety with the turbines being placed in close proximity to the Collingwood Regional Airport.

Kevin and Gail Elwood and Preserve Clearview Inc. fought on the basis of threat to human safety with the turbines being place in close to their privately owned Stayner Aerodrome. Elwood, a commercial pilot and Clearview councillor has spend a large sum of money fighting this project. “I’m so proud to represent the community both as an appellant and as a councillor. I’ve received strong support from the community,” he said. Read article

wind-stayner-006

Grits’ failed wind energy to face tough test in 2018

Wynne2Jim Merriam, London Free Press
You have to wonder how bad the Ontario Liberal party’s internal polls are to force the government to fold on its signature green energy policies.

Published polls show both Premier Kathleen Wynne and party have found a basement under rock bottom and it’s likely private polls show the same or worse.

The fact wind factories were destroying communities and tearing families apart in rural Ontario meant nothing at Queen’s Park.

Likewise, the Grits ignored endless pleas and protests from municipal leaders and wind opponents. They dismissed as meaningless complaints about wind turbines driving families from their homes.

Even the mounting evidence giant turbines are contaminating nearby wells didn’t move Wynne and company.

Plus, the Liberals were experts at ignoring the media, who repeatedly pointed out green energy problems that were leading Ontario into power poverty, particularly in rural areas.

As the old joke about always being ignored until you pass gas in an elevator goes, it only took one Scarborough byelection loss to change the landscape. Read article

MOECC pulls support for two turbine locations in Clearview Township wind project

C-K airportWasaga Sun, Ian Adams
The Ministry of Environment and Climate Change is pulling its support for two turbine locations at the Fairview Wind project because of safety concerns at the Clearview Aerodrome.

In the MOECC’s closing argument to the environmental review tribunal reviewing the order approving the renewable energy application, it was determined the location of two turbines conflicted with the privately-owned Clearview Aerodrome.

Dr. Raymond Cox, a risk assessment expert in public safety, energy, and transport, as well as fluid dynamics and turbulence, testified during the hearing in June the two locations were without a five-rotor-diameter distance from the Clearview Aerodrome approach centreline.

“As it was the opinion of all expert witnesses, who opined on turbine wake … that there was an unacceptable safety risk where turbines are located within five rotor diameters from the centreline approach, the director can no longer support the locations of turbines 3 and 7 as currently approved,” wrote MOECC counsel Sylvia Davis and Andrea Huckins in their closing submission to the tribunal in August.

Clearview Aerodrome owner Kevin Elwood, who is one of the appellants to the MOECC’s  decision to approve WPD Canada’s renewable energy application, said it calls to question all eight turbines. Read article

Help Fund FOI Request: Release Wind Turbine Bird & Bat Mortality Data!

UPDATE: Wow! Rural Ontario pitched in the whole $625 and more in less than a day!! Thank you so much! ~  Esther


The bill came in. I haven’t decided if this is good or bad news yet, but at least it is ‘progress.’ The Freedom of Information office sent an ‘estimate’ for the retrieval of all the wind turbine bird and bat mortality reports in Ontario to date. I had forwarded the MNRF a list of over 110 wind projects in Ontario ’cause the government doesn’t have a list of all these energy plants (do they have a list of all the nuclear plants, I wonder?). There is certainly no guarantee they have mortality reports for some of them, but whatever they have, we want to see.

The bill is roughed in at $625. Yeah, really it should be $0 and the government should just be posting these reports on their website, but we can’t wait for pigs to fly when raptors, and endangered bat and birds are being knocked to the ground daily by these machines.foi-estimate

I’ve asked for this in specific:

“All final, annual post-construction mortality monitoring reports for birds and bats (or last available draft, if there is no final) for the wind power projects in Ontario.”

 

“Records related to the MNRF permit granted to destroy a bald eagle’s nest within the NextEra Summerhaven Wind Project.”

They say it will come roughly to 28,000 pages released, if they can find them.

gofundmeCould you please help by sending what you can to cover these costs, and share the page with those who would like to see these reports made public? When the documents eventually arrive (it will take a few months) I will parse them and post them on the Google Drive here so everyone can easily access, review and use them. Have a look through the reports we have listed there already – they are eye opening, and rage inducing.

Visit the GoFundMe page to read more about the issue of hidden bird and bat mortality data in this province. We can’t let this go on any longer – if we don’t get the numbers out there, nobody will.

Oh yeah, and I’ve asked the MPP’s to pitch in too, since they are all about “open government”… see below.

————

Dear Ontario MPP’s,

We have to talk.

It is no longer a matter of guessing what wind turbines ‘might do’ to Ontario’s birds and bats – you know what’s happening. Or, you should know. Wind developers have been filing bird and bat mortality reports with the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry for many years now. So, what do those numbers look like? Oh. Right… nobody really knows because they get filed away – far far away – from public scrutiny.

trade secretsI left Ontario two years ago when wind turbines destroyed our land, and the habitat for all animals, including us. But I did not forget about the destruction that was taking place in my absence. I suppose I was hoping (as I usually do, hope is healthy, but rarely rewarded in Ontario politics) that the MNRF, or the media, or the researchers, or the nature organizations – somebody! – would keep a close eye on the bird and bat kill rates from these machines. I expected this, because I know that when LNG killed 7500 birds in New Brunswick in 2013, the world knew, as they should, and the company was fined $750,000 under the Migratory Birds Convention Act. Other industries have been held accountable for bird kills too – especially if Species at Risk are involved.

Not so for the wind industry in Ontario. Nope, wind developers obliterate an area’s raptor population in several months. If it relates to wind turbines – those deaths don’t even “happen,” it’s all in your imagination.

adelaide-raptor-2015-kill

Frankly I’ve had enough of this. I’ve filed a Freedom of Information request for all the bird and bat mortality reports in Ontario wind projects. Hey, quick question: Do you know how many wind projects are in Ontario? I’ll give you a second to Google it, or look it up in your government files, but I don’t think you’ll find the answer because there doesn’t seem to be a comprehensive list of them anywhere. I tallied over 110 wind projects in Ontario. What are the chances someone is actually overseeing all the dead birds and bats found around the bases at all these wind projects. The MNRF didn’t even know of many of the wind projects I listed for them.  Continue reading

Liberal wind disaster shafted rural Ontario

stop screwing rural ontarioToronto Sun
It’s too bad Premier Kathleen Wynne’s Liberal government didn’t have its epiphany on the pointlessness of subsidizing any more expensive, unreliable and unneeded wind turbines before it tore apart rural Ontario.

The Liberals’ treatment of rural Ontarians has been a disgrace. They overrode local planning rights by passing the Green Energy Act of 2009 under Wynne’s predecessor, Dalton McGuinty, then rammed industrial wind factories down their throats.

Sometimes, it was hard for people in these communities to believe they were living in a democracy. Rural communities were torn apart — neighbours cashing in by leasing land to wind developers for turbine construction, against neighbours forced to live in the shadow of the mega-structures.

The province received hundreds of complaints about health problems which people believed were being caused by the turbines and suppressed them. During the 2011 election, the CBC reported government documents released under Freedom of Information legislation showed environment ministry staff had issued internal warnings the province needed stricter rural noise limits on turbines, that it had no reliable way to monitor or enforce them and that computer models for determining setbacks were flawed. Read article

‘Ontarians have never been this angry’: Poll respondents feel unprotected from power price increases

We will NOT be sientNational Post, Ashley Csanady
Half of Ontario voters feel unprotected from price increases in the electricity system, a new poll shows.

“Ontarians have never been this angry,” declares a presentation of the Innovative Research Group poll, to be revealed Wednesday afternoon at the Ontario Energy Association conference in Toronto. A draft of the presentation was shared with the National Post and the results of the 600-person poll show a growing distrust in the Ontario government’s handling of the energy file, in particular electricity prices.

The poll about provincial politics and energy rates was commissioned by the Ontario Energy Association — an industry group representing everything from gas to electricity companies — for its annual conference.

screen-shot-2016-09-28-at-9-34-30-amWhen asked if they feel “consumers are well-protected with respect to prices and the reliability and quality of electricity service in Ontario,” 50 per cent of respondents “strongly disagreed” — the highest rate of disatisfaction since the firm started asking the question in 2002. Another 20 per cent “somewhat disagreed” while just 19 per cent said they “somewhat” agreed and six per cent “strongly agreed.” Three per cent had no opinion and another two per cent didn’t know. Read article

Ontario’s new electricity policy: History repeats as farce

wynneThe Globe and Mail

Karl Marx said that history repeats: first as tragedy, then as farce. In Ontario, the history of failed energy policy repeats – first as farce, and then as more farce.

Premier Kathleen Wynne faces an election in a little over a year and a half, and one of the main issues dogging the Liberal government is the price of electricity. Thanks to policy choices that the government itself seems incapable of unwinding, electricity bills have been on an upward tear for a decade. Many voters are furious. And so the Wynne government devoted the heart of its Throne Speech this week to a plan to lower the price of electricity. Not the cost of electricity, however. Just the sticker price.

Taxpayers of Ontario, you will now be paying for more of your electricity through your taxes, or through future taxes funded by deficit financing, and less through your electricity bill. Yes, that’s the new plan. It looks a lot like the old plan.

Nearly six years ago, Ms. Wynne’s predecessor, Dalton McGuinty, was facing an election. He was, like the current premier, spooked by rapidly rising electricity prices. These spiking prices, note well, had been engineered by the Liberal government’s mishandled Green Energy policy. To win back voters, Mr. McGuinty decided to give consumers a break. The tool: the so-called Ontario Clean Energy Benefit, which ran from the start of 2011 to the end of 2015.

The Clean Energy Benefit did not have anything to do with clean energy, and its benefits were illusory. All consumer hydro bills were awarded a government rebate worth 10 per cent – so the more electricity a customer used, the more they saved. This “benefit” for Ontario consumers was paid for by Ontario taxpayers. Yes, they’re the same people. Read article

Ontario cancels future green energy plans

GO AWAY1Shawn Jeffords, Toronto Sun
So, where are you going to spend your $2.45?

Ontario’s Liberal government announced Tuesday that they’ll be giving hydro ratepayers the whopper of a rebate on their bills every month by halting the purchase of $3.8 billion in large renewable-energy projects.

Energy Minister Glenn Thibeault said a new Independent Electricity System Operator report shows the province will have a steady supply for the next decade, so the change of course makes sense. Tossing the toonie and change back to consumers adds up when you combine it with the government’s recent move to slash HST from hydro bills.

“This is a $3.8-billion savings,” he said. “When you look at that for every consumer in the province, that’s $2.45. When you start adding together all of the savings that we’re bringing forward for consumers, it’s starting to become more and more significant. So, if it’s 50 cents or $50, I’ll continue to try to find ways to help put downward pressure on rates.”

The purchases would have seen Ontario buy 980 megawatts in renewable energy projects and 75 megawatts of energy from waste projects.

Question period was dominated by the topic of hydro, as nearly every Progressive Conservative speaker raised the issue. Tory Leader Patrick Brown, who has been calling on the government to stop paying for new green energy projects since he took the party helm last year, called the move “too little too late.”

“It’s bad policy,” he said. “We’ve given away $3 billion in hydro in the last three years. As I said today in the legislature, this premier has become the minister of economic development for Pennsylvania and New York.” Read article

Ontario Liberals deny tampering with witnesses at hearing into wind turbines near airport

government secrecyThe Canadian Press, Keith Leslie
TORONTO – Ontario’s Liberal government denies Opposition charges that it interfered with the witness list for a hearing into a plan to install at least six, 152-metre-high wind turbines near the Collingwood airport.

Progressive Conservative house leader Jim Wilson says the province decided at the last minute to call a witness from NAVCanada instead of an expert from Transport Canada at an Environmental Review Tribunal hearing.

NAVCanada is a private corporation that owns and operates the country’s civil air navigation service, while Transport Canada is the federal government department responsible for transportation policies and programs.

Wilson says the witnesses were changed because Transport Canada has concerns about putting industrial wind turbines between the Collingwood Regional Airport and the Stayner aerodrome.

He says the Ontario government refuses to acknowledge that putting giant turbines so close to the small airports pose a hazard to aircraft operations.

But Environment Minister Glen Murray says it would be against the law for him to play any role in determining witnesses or influencing the environmental tribunal. Read article

Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne attributes byelection loss to rising Hydro rates

wynneCity Centre Mirror, By David Nickle
The Ontario Liberals’ loss in Scarborough-Rouge River last week was largely a symptom of rising electricity rates, said Premier Kathleen Wynne at a media availability Wednesday, Sept. 7. Toronto Councillor Raymond Cho won the Sept. 1 byelection for the Progressive Conservatives—taking the riding most recently held by former Liberal MPP Bas Balkisoon from the Liberals for the first time since the 1990s.

Wynne expressed her disappointment with the loss on election night—and at Queen’s Park following a meeting with Toronto Mayor John Tory, reiterated her views that frustration with rising electricity rates helped power Cho’s surge in the polls.

“We heard concerns at the door in Scarborough-Rouge River and frankly those concerns we have to take to heart and we have to use them to inform our actions going forward,” said Wynne. “And one of the things we heard most consistently was Hydro rates.”

Wynne said that she had heard the same thing from northern Ontario residents during a summer trip through James Bay.

“I heard the same thing about electricity rates in the north,” she said. “It’s not something isolated. I recognize that the investments that we made in the electricity sector by building out the infrastructure, bringing the system up to standards, have caused this.” Read article

The Right to Know: Releasing Wind Turbine Bird & Bat Death Data

red-tailed-hawk1Yesterday I expected to hear of an “Appeal” (we all detest that word now, don’t we) of the Freedom of Information (FOI) request I filed for the Bird and Bat Mortality Reports for three of NextEra Energy’s wind projects several months ago. NextEra had asked the FOI office for extra time to file this appeal, and it had been granted, the deadline being yesterday. But instead, and to my great surprise, a letter came from the FOI office and I could distinctly feel a CD case in it – Oh ya! If it was a “mid-summer-everyones-on-vacation” mistake to send these to me, I don’t want to know about it.

Google Drive Bird Bat Mortality ReportsHere they are: Bird Bat Mortality Reports for NextEra’s Bornish, Adelaide and Summerhaven (more on what they contain in upcoming posts).

I’ve uploaded these documents (and 45 more!) to a public Google Drive folder that anyone can access, view and download. This was the whole point – to make these documents public because our government and the wind companies won’t! Bring some transparency to the bird and bat deaths in Canada! Hold these bloody wind companies accountable for the wildlife slaughter they getting away with! [Keep in mind that this is only partial transparency because the collections and reports are NOT conducted by a third party and are designed to miss a very large portion of the actual deaths. It’s a start, but it’s not the full story by a long shot]

Bird Bat Mortality Monitoring

Google Drive Bird Bat Mortality Reports icons

Recently we filed FOI’s for the rest of the wind turbine Bird/Bat Mortality Reports in Ontario, and Nova Scotia. Some companies in Nova Scotia actually post their reports on their company websites, but those tend to be the smaller co-ops, never the Big Wind companies. New Brunswick, by the way, just sent them to us without us needing to do an FOI. I like that process much better.

Get your reading glasses out and start ripping through these reports. If you are a lawyer, or a reporter, or a biologist, or a birder – we all need your insight and expertise. And if anyone comes across more reports, send them along and I’ll post them.

The other day a helpful contact wrote this to me:

“These are public trust resources being killed. And the public has a right to know.”

I’ll add that it is also our duty to protect them from our own destructive kind in whatever way we can.

~Esther Wrightman

Ministry only obliged to collect carcasses for three years, says group opposing wind developments

birdbatmortalitychartLondon Free Press, John Miner
A last-ditch attempt to stop an Oxford County wind farm, based on damage it will do to an endangered species, has run into a wall. The East Oxford Alliance citizen’s group filed an urgent request last week with Environment Minister Glen Murray to stop the Gunn’s Hill Wind Farm because the project will kill little brown bats, a species whose numbers are plunging across North America and is now on Ontario’s and Canada’s endangered lists.

red-tailed-hawk1In a written reply on the minister’s behalf, the director of the ministry’s environmental approvals branch said it is the ministry’s priority to ensure renewable energy projects are developed in a way that will protect human health and the environment. In the case of wind power, clear rules have been established to protect birds, bats and their habitats, Kathleen Hedley wrote.

The Gunn’s Hill Wind Farm, a 10-turbine project in Norwich Township, is required to conduct mortality surveys for at least three years after it starts up. “If thresholds of bird and/or bat mortality are reached, contingency plans can be put in place to reduce impacts and additional monitoring is conducted to ensure the contingency plans are effective,” Hedley wrote.

Disappointed alliance member John Eacott said the bottom line is the wind power company is just required to collect bat and bird carcasses for three years before taking action: “This is the clear rules that Ontario has established — nothing has to be done.” Read article

Ontario wind turbine developers killing endangered birds and bats, with impunity

dead-bird-1024x560Bird Studies Canada quietly released a summary of bird and bat kills a few days ago. It doesn’t include last year’s toll on the avian population, but it gives you a good idea of where it’s headed – for a cliff. As you have probably noticed, this item hasn’t made the mainstream news in any way, shape, or form.

Even though the “Top 15 Hit List” consists of threatened swallows, tiny kinglets, scarce hawks and purple martins… not the common and introduced birds wind companies put on their open-house posters (i.e. house sparrows).
top15ONbirdkillBSC

Even though Ontario avian mortality rates have skyrocketed for both bats and birds in recent years. 40,833 bat deaths. 14,144 bird deaths. 462 raptor deaths.

birdbatmortalitychart

 

Even though bat kill averages grossly exceed the MNRF allowable limit. On average they are killing almost double the bats in Ontario than supposedly permitted (although, who’s watching?).

  • Average # of bats killed by just one Ontario wind turbine: 18.52.batmortality
  • Amount supposedly allowed by MNRF per wind turbine: 10.  Bat mortality threshold

Think about that.

Even though the Barn Swallow (a threatened species) is one of the top 15 birds found killed by wind turbines.barn swallow

Even though the Red-tailed Hawk is the sixth most likely bird to be killed in Ontario by a wind turbine.

red-tailed-hawk1

Even though three of the bat species killed by wind turbines are listed as endangered. Does it count as a violation to kill an endangered species if you are a … wind developer? Apparently not. Continue reading

Hydro horror stories: tales from rural Ontario

turbine-and-truthGlobal News, Brian Hill
Residents of rural Ontario are outraged by ever-increasing hydro bills and the constant threat of disconnection. Facing an unresponsive utility provider, Hydro One customers from across the province are speaking out.

In the past three days alone, Global News has received more than 400 emails and messages from concerned Ontarians frustrated by the lack of government transparency and the apparent disregard with which industry regulators treat their concerns.

In their own words, read how the hopes and dreams of some rural Ontarians have become complete hydro nightmares.

Lindsay Ambeault, Sault Saint-Marie, Ont.

My husband and I have four children. One with autism. We have had to learn to eat only using $200 a month. Two of our children are in diapers – imagine the cost. We get the disconnection notice EVERY month and are behind approximately $1,000. I feel as though we work just to pay PUC. It is ridiculous!

Matt Grassie, Peterborough, Ont.

I live just outside the city of Peterborough Ont., and I am impacted greatly by the cost of hydro.

My bills are OVER $600 a month, but I have seen bills in recent years over $1,000 a month. I have suffered disconnections in the past, the worst one being on Remembrance Day while I was at the Remembrance Day Service paying my respects (I am a Canadian Forces Veteran). Even with the banks closed, I managed to get them their money. They took two days to reconnect me. We are on electric heat, and our water pipes nearly froze because of sub-zero temperatures. Read more

NextEra’s wind turbines kill at least 16 raptors per year in SW Ontario

trade secretsHas 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.

Bats killed HaldimandA 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. Continue reading

Turtles topple turbines as ERT revokes project approval

sign blanding turtleCounty Live
The County’s Blandings turtles, and nature in general, are victorious in the Prince Edward County Field Naturalists’ more than six-year battle to protect the south shore of Prince Edward County.

The Environmental Review Tribunal in the Ostrander Point industrial wind turbine hearing has decided “remedies proposed by Gilead Power Corporation and the Director (MOEE) are not appropriate” and has revoked the Renewable Energy Approval for the nine turbine project.

“The tribunal decision says that no matter how important renewable energy is to our future it does not automatically override the public interest in protecting against other environmental harm such as the habitat of species at risk,” says Myrna Wood, president of the Prince Edward County Field Naturalists. “This was the basis of PECFN’s appeal. This decision not only protects the Blanding’s turtle but also the staging area for millions of migrating birds and bats and the Monarch butterflies.”

In their decision, ERT vice-chairs Heather Gibbs and Robert Wright state “The Tribunal finds that to proceed with the project, when it will cause serious and irreversible harm to animal life, a species at risk and its habitat, is not consistent with the general and renewable energy approval purposes of the Environmental Protection Act, protection and conservation of the natural environment and protection and conservation of the environment, nor does it serve the public interest.

“In this particular case, preventing such harm outweighs the policy of promoting renewable energy through this nine wind turbine project in this location.” Read article

The Liberal Party has Received over $1.3 million from 30 Renewable Energy Companies

Wind company, Ontario government had cozy relationship until deal fell apart

Art by Paul Bloomer, The Money Counters

Art by Paul Bloomer, The Money Counters

David Reevely, Ottawa Citizen
The Ontario government’s decision to ditch its plan for wind farms in the Great Lakes seems to have been made all the more awkward by the lobbyist-lubricated relationship the province had developed with the company that wanted to build one of the biggest.

The company was Windstream Energy, which is seeking as much as $568 million in damages on the grounds that the government mistreated it because it’s backed by American money, which would be a violation of the North American Free Trade Agreement.

But back when it seemed to be well on its way to building a wind farm in the water off Kingston, Windstream had a lobbyist named Chris Benedetti helping it along. Benedetti is a specialist in energy policy for Sussex Strategy Group (he’s had dozens upon dozens of industry clients, according to the Ontario lobbying registry), and a former federal Liberal staffer.

If his name sounds familiar, it’s because he promoted the $6,000-a-plate fundraiser that offered intimate conversations with Premier Kathleen Wynne and Energy Minister Bob Chiarelli as its big draw earlier this year. That’s the one that shamed the Liberals into finally pursuing reforms to political fundraising because, though completely legal, it looked so gross when people found out.

We know what politicians get out of such events: A whole lot of money. But now, thanks to the company’s own claims in its case against the government, which rely heavily on evidence from Benedetti himself, we know what Windstream’s lobbyists got before everything fell apart. Read article

Police investigating Ontario Liberals over alleged wind power document deletion

470_OPP_3_430241CTV News
TORONTO — Ontario’s Liberal government is facing another criminal investigation after a wind power company complained to police about the alleged destruction of documents in a lawsuit it filed against the province.

Trillium Power Wind Corp. has alleged in a lawsuit that government officials destroyed documents after the company sued in a case that stemmed from the government’s cancellation of a Lake Ontario wind project.

OPP Det.-Supt. Dave Truax said police began an investigation in the last couple of weeks after Trillium made a complaint. Truax would not say that the allegations are about destruction of documents, but that the probe is looking into elected officials and/or civil servants, and that there is a “co-mingling” of issues with Trillium’s civil suit.

Trillium lawyer Morris Cooper alleges the documents were destroyed around the same time as emails are alleged to have been deleted in relation to the Liberals’ cancellation of two gas plants. In that case, former premier Dalton McGuinty’s chief of staff and deputy chief of staff have been charged with breach of trust and mischief.

Premier Kathleen Wynne said the government was not aware of any Trillium-related investigation until Wednesday, but that it will co-operate fully. A spokesman for Energy Minister Bob Chiarelli said the government takes its record-keeping obligations very seriously.        [can’t make this stuff up!] Read article

“The government twice suspended [offshore] wind-farm work, both during election years.”

offshore_windDavid Reevely, Ottawa Citizen
In the five years since Ontario scrapped all its plans for wind farms on the Great Lakes because we needed more scientific research on them, the government went four years without commissioning any.

Once upon a time, way back in 2009, the province’s Green Energy Act seemed to make it a priority to get windmills built in Ontario waters, as part of a big brave plan to make Ontario a world leader in renewable electricity. We’d kickstart a domestic green-power industry by using ourselves as guinea pigs.

In 2011, the provincial government gave up. It cancelled all the offshore wind projects then in development and put a moratorium on new ones. The lack of documentation around that major government decision is now under investigation by the Ontario Provincial Police, and is the subject of a $500-million lawsuit by Trillium Power Wind Corp., which saw its plan for a wind farm in Lake Ontario off Kingston vaporized by a press release one February morning. Read article

Wind Turbine Highlights Unifor’s Hypocrisy On Noise Hazards

o-WIND-TURBINE-570Karen Hunter, Huffington Post
The National Day of Mourning sends “a strong message to all governments of their obligation and responsibility to strongly enforce health and safety laws and regulations,” says Unifor, Canada’s largest private-sector union, formerly the CAW.

There’s a “serious lack of commitment,” Unifor says of the provincial government, “to enforce the health and safety protections that we have fought for,” so “unfortunately, the suffering continues.” One of the hazardous dangers flagged by the union on its website notice is noise.

Meanwhile, a new online petition targets Unifor for its failure to comply with provincial health and safety protections, specifically noise regulations.

Unifor owns and operates the controversial CAW Wind Turbine, located on its property in Port Elgin, Ontario on the shore of Lake Huron. The turbine began operation in 2013 to generate money for the union. At the time, the Ministry of the Environment (MOE) approved the turbine on the condition that the Union would conduct noise audits within the first two years of operation and provide MOE with the results.

Now, as the turbine begins its fourth year of operation, the tests and results are, at a minimum, two years late.

MOE knew — as did everyone else — how important noise monitoring would be. Unifor’s turbine is located just 210 metres from the nearest home, less than half of the 550-metre distance required by provincial noise regulations. MOE approved Unifor’s turbine after the union had the community’s zoning changed from a rural tourist/recreational classification to city semi-urban to allow for increased noise.

To further address noise levels, the union stated that its powerful 800kw turbine would operate at just 500kw (despite reduced revenue generation) and that it would self-monitor its operation. Since its startup, Unifor and MOE have received hundreds of noise complaints, day and night, from the nearly 200 families who live within the turbine’s 550-metre radius. Still, the noise testing has not been done.

Back in 2013, during the turbine’s first six months of operation, 140 noise complaints prompted town council to pass a motion asking the CAW to honour President Ken Lewenza’s commitment to shut down the turbine if it harmed residents. The union dismissed the request. Read article

Government “Coffee Requests” that can’t be refused

by Dan Wrightman
In 1999 a friend of mine was planning to drive his truck to Costa Rica and asked if I could travel with him. Being young and knowing I might never get another opportunity to travel this way, I immediately said yes and we left for Central America in early December.

I had previously travelled by truck in northern Mexico, so I had an inkling of what to expect, but both of us were taken aback by the corruption we encountered on the Mexican roadways. It became obvious that as soon as we encountered any government authority through a traffic stop or a police checkpoint that we would be getting pulled aside and some of the first words out of the officer’s mouth would invariably be “Cafe/Soda?”

Slide1The game was this: the authorities would declare that they would have to search our vehicle for contraband, but that they would let us pass if we gave them ten pesos (enough at that time to buy a coffee or a pop).

The first time this happened, we refused, and the subsequent search of our truck stuffed full of tools and appliances took up an hour of valuable travelling time. Afterwards we just paid.  On average we were pulled over three to four times a day in Mexico.  We were frustrated and upset, not only by the cost, but by the abuse of power by government authorities. We felt sorry for what the people living there had to deal with on a daily basis.

Seventeen years have passed and I am astonished to recognize that we now have a government in Ontario that treats it’s own citizens in the same way. Multiple times a year the Ontario Energy Board announces a rate increase to our hydro bills, and each time it is minimized by declaring it as only a cup of coffee a month.

The billion dollar gas plant scandal is rationalized by our government as only costing a coffee a year for 20 years but that strains credulity, considering that the Green Energy Act was supposed to only cost us a cup of coffee and a muffin a month for 20 years.

The Ontario Retirement Pension Plan is being sold as only costing us a coffee a day. Continue reading