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

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

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

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

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

Wind developer ‘donates’ cash to Liberals each time project processing stalls

moneybagsWPD donates thousands of dollars to the Liberal party to keep their project moving through the system. And the thing is – it works! Each time they donate, the project moves ahead to the next stage. Put the dirty quarter in the candy machine, twist the crank, and out pops a gumball.

Which begs the question we’ve been asking ourselves for years: How many other wind developers have paid their way through the ‘system’?

(Doesn’t Glenn Murray act odd in this clip? Is he nervous about something?)

WPD Canada spokesperson Kevin Surette acknowledged company representatives have attended “some fundraising events in the past few years.”

Simcoe.com, Ian Adams
Simcoe-Grey’s Member of Provincial Parliament says a wind energy company’s donations to the provincial Liberal Party appeared to influence the approval of the company’s project in Clearview Township.

During Wednesday’s question period, Jim Wilson laid out the timeline between WPD Canada’s court application last July to force the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change to make a decision on the company’s Fairview Wind project renewable energy application, and a $6,000 donation made to the Liberal Party during the Simcoe North by-election period in September.

“Every time it looked like the project was in jeopardy, a donation was made to the Liberal Party of Ontario,” Wilson claimed in the Ontario Legislature. “These facts … only reinforce the need for a public inquiry.

“Does the minister seriously expect the people in my riding to believe that these donations had nothing to do with his approval (of the project).” Read article

Accidental whistleblower

Whistleblower-e1441814182602Rick Conroy, Wellington Times
Ministry expert warned that Ostrander Point wind project posed a high risk to Blanding’s turtles before it issued permit to developer to “harm, harass and kill” the endangered species

It was three days into eye-wateringly dull expert testimony, technical language and lawyer-speak. Three days in a hot, humid room with three ineffectual fans lazily turning above a wilting crowd, with barristers in their shirtsleeves as jackets hung over chairs. Then, without warning, the room was seized by high drama. Suddenly, the very credibility of Ontario’s Renewable Energy Approvals process was thrust into the spotlight.

Last Wednesday morning, as far as the eye could see, Demorestville was lined with parked cars. The town hall of the tiny hamlet was hosting the second Environmental Review Tribunal for the proposed wind turbine project at Ostrander Point.

Although the original Tribunal ruled against the turbines, Gilead Power Corporation and the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change (MOECC) had appealed the ruling, arguing that the Tribunal did not have the chance to see their updated plan, one that would mitigate damage to the endangered Blanding’s turtle, which makes its home at the point.

More than 100 people crammed into the hall to hear the Tribunal, scheduled over three days and set to end on Friday. Each day brought new expert testimony. On day one, Dr. Fred Beaudry, an expert on Blanding’s turtles, testified that he did not believe Gilead’s mitigation plan of building artificial turtle habitat would be effective. On day two, researcher Kari Gunson, an expert on road migration, cast a doubt on the company’s plan to prevent damage to turtles by gating the project site.

On day three, the MOECC introduced their witness, but the heat, the flies, tedious expert testimony and other commitments caused folks to slowly drift away, leaving a half-empty gallery, some jotting notes, others knitting or shuffling papers to pass the time. Read article

Ministry expert admits he advised not to allow initial ‘kill, harm and harass’ permit for Ostrander Point Wind Project

sign blanding turtleCounty Live
Admission by an MNR senior manager that his initial advice was not to allow a permit to “kill, harm and harass” the Whip-poor-will and Blanding’s turtle at Ostrander Point halted the third day of Environmental Review Tribunal proceedings Friday in Demorestville.

Witness Joe Crowley, a species at risk expert herpetologist with the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry, was on the stand Friday to provide a statement and answer questions about the effectiveness of various mitigation measures proposed by industrial wind turbine developer Gilead Power to protect the endangered species Blanding’s turtle.

Cheryl Anderson, of the Prince Edward County Field Naturalists, said this unexpected turn came at the end of the day when Crowley was asked about his role in the granting of the Endangered Species Act permit for the project on the south shore of Prince Edward County.

“Mr. Crowley stated his advice at the time was not to allow the permit because the project roads would prove a risk to the site’s indigenous Blanding’s Turtles,” said Anderson. Read article

And read more: Save Ostrander Point

Ontario wants wind turbines closer than 550m from homes: “new models are taller and quieter” ?!

2014_05140205Just when you didn’t think it could get worse, the Ontario government shows they are more vicious than imaginable. They want to put LARGER turbines CLOSER to homes, farms and schools! They are looking to do away with the meagre 550m setback to accomplish this.


Comment Period: 45 days: submissions may be made between August 04, 2015 and September 18, 2015

Environmental Registry

Updates and clarifications to the “Noise Guidelines for Wind Farms”

Description of Regulation:
O. Reg. 359/09 Renewable Energy Approvals under Part V.0.1 of the Act (REA regulation) is intended to support the Ontario Government’s Green Energy initiative to expand renewable energy generation, encourage energy conservation and promote the creation of clean energy jobs, while upholding our commitment to protecting the environment. The renewable energy approval (REA) process is based on clearly communicated complete submission requirements, whereby proponents of renewable energy projects know in advance what studies and reports are expected of them in preparing a complete application for a REA.

The Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change (MOECC) is proposing amendments to the REA regulation to reflect the most recent Canadian Standards Association (CSA) 2013 Noise Standard, “Wind Turbine Generator Systems: Acoustic Noise Measurement Techniques”. The CSA Standard is used by proponents for the purposes of determining the sound power level of wind turbines under the REA regulation. The amendments also address advancements in wind turbine technology, issues related to operational flexibility and continued protection of noise receptors. An amendment is also being proposed that relates to the natural feature protection and assessment sections of the REA regulation to reflect current practices in the province. Additional minor amendments are also being proposed to clarify other aspects of the REA regulation.

The ministry is also proposing updates to the Noise Guidelines for Wind Farms. For more details on the proposed changes to the Noise Guidelines for Wind Farms, a link has been provided to the associated Environmental Registry posting.

Descriptions of the key proposed regulatory amendments can be found below.

Adoption of 2013 CSA standard (CAN/CSA-IEC 61400-11, Wind turbines — Part 11: Acoustic noise measurement techniques) 

MOECC’s REA Regulation currently references the CSA 2007 Noise Standard, “Wind Turbine Generator Systems: Acoustic Noise Measurement Techniques”.

An amendment is being proposed to adopt the most recent 2013 CSA standard (CAN/CSA-IEC 61400-11, Wind turbines — Part 11: Acoustic noise measurement techniques) to replace the existing CSA 2007 Noise Standard.

The CSA standard is referenced in the definition of “sound power level” in the REA Regulation and is used by proponents to determine wind facility classification. It is also referenced in the specifications report, which all proponents of Class 3, 4 and 5 wind facilities are required to submit as part of a complete REA application.
Proposed Modifications to the Definition of “sound power level”

To reflect the ministry’s conservative approach to dealing with noise emissions from wind turbines and to support the adoption of the 2013 CSA standard, three amendments are being proposed to the definition of “sound power level” in the REA Regulation to provide clarity:

Clarify that the definition of “sound power level” refers to the rating expressed as an “apparent” value.

This amendment would re-affirm MOECC’s current requirement of the use of the “apparent” sound power level when conducting a noise assessment, and is reflective of the value used by other jurisdictions.
Modify definition to require the inclusion of the positive uncertainty value.

The ministry does not currently require the inclusion of manufacturers’ uncertainty values in its definition of “sound power level”. The “uncertainty value” is a +/- value assigned under the CSA standard to account for potential range of uncertainty in the sound power level rating of a wind turbine.

The ministry is taking the conservative approach in requiring proponents to include the positive uncertainty value, given by a manufacturer of the wind turbines under the CSA Standard, as a conservative value to be accounted for in noise assessments for their project.
Clarify that proponents are not required to use a rounded value when conducting a noise assessment in accordance with the ministry’s Noise Guidelines for Wind Farms.

Proposed Changes to the Classification of Wind Facilities and the Application of the 550 Setback 

Due to technological advancements of wind turbines, such that new models are taller and quieter, amendments are being proposed to the wind facility classification table and to the 550 metre setback. The purpose of the proposed changes is to ensure that all wind turbines used on a commercial scale continue to meet all of the comprehensive standards in the REA regulation that were designed to be protective of human health and the environment.

The proposed regulatory amendment is to include a wind turbine hub height of 70 metres as additional criteria to the existing wind facility classification requirements of greatest sound power level (expressed in dBA). Complementary amendments would also be made throughout the regulation including the provisions governing the noise setbacks.  Continue reading

It would be funny…

sign-blanding-turtleWellington Times, Rick Conroy
With school children arrayed at his feet, Ontario’s environment minister, Glenn Murray, announced last week his government was giving $1 million to an organization dedicated to educating children aged five to 11, about how to help protect animals and their habitats. His advice to the children assembled at the ROM for the press event was predictable, if somewhat ham-handed: Go home and tell your parents and grandparents to use less carbon.

Murray isn’t the first to employ children to market his wares. Cereal makers, burger sellers and dictators have all used children to influence decision-makers. The Ontario government isn’t above using an effective marketing technique to sell its message, even when the moral and ethical turf is a bit squishy. Earth Rangers formed in 2001. The funding from the province will help the organization expand its school assembly program and develop a new Grade 6 class visit program.

For Murray, this is an investment in the minds of young and impressionable children— a recruiting drive for foot soldiers in his campaign to restore his government’s credibility on environmental matters. “The most thoughtful discussions that move people to change are discussions between children and their parents, and children and each other,” noted Murray to the children before him.

Eventually, however, Murray will be challenged to square his government’s words with its actions. Rather than educate children about nature, he risks teaching them about the nature of government. Read article

MPP Jim Wilson grills Liberals on wind turbines

(Give Glen Murray a piece of you mind here: gmurray.mpp.co@liberal.ola.org )

Suncor Cedar Point wind project approved in Lambton County

Suncor BullyEnvironmental Registry
A Renewable Energy Approval (REA) has been issued to Suncor Energy Products Inc. 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 46 turbines with a total nameplate capacity of approximately 100 megawatts (MW). The wind facility will be connected to Hydro One’s distribution system.

This Class 4 wind facility, known as the Suncor Energy Cedar Point Wind Power Project, will be located in the Town of Plympton-Wyoming, Municipality of Lambton Shores, and Warwick Township, all within Lambton County, Ontario.

Note that since the REA application was deemed complete on December 5, 2013, Suncor Energy Products Inc. made changes to the project. The changes included the following:

  • Addition of an underground collector line along Douglas Line and Uttoxeter Road entirely within the road right-of-way, from Turbine 71 to Townsend Line,
  • Addition of an underground collector line along Aberarder Line between Old Heritage Road and Hillsboro Road, entirely within the road right-of-way,
  • Minor change in the location of the overhead transmission line (located at the northwest corner of Proof Line and Rawlings Road) by 2 metres – off the road right-of-way and onto the adjacent private property,
  • Addition of a new temporary staging area,
  • Reduction of the number of transformers at the substation from 2 to 1,
  • Minor change in the location of three turbine access roads and underground collector lines, and
  • Minor changes to the proposed routing of the transmission line. Read more

More than 150 hectares of Lambton County grasslands will be impacted by Suncor wind farm, group says

bobolink-bSarnia Observer, Barbara Simpson
A pair of ‘threatened’ bird species who help ensure crop survival could be in harm’s way with a proposed Suncor wind farm set for Lambton County, says a local anti-wind group. Members of We’re Against Industrial Turbines (WAIT) – Plympton-Wyoming have taken their concerns to the Ministry of the Environment after reviewing a species at risk report for the site of the 46-turbine wind farm planned for Plympton-Wyoming, Lambton Shores and Warwick Township.

More than 150 hectares of grasslands that are home to bobolinks and eastern meadowlarks will be affected by the Cedar Point project, said Kristen Rodrigues, who reviewed the report on behalf of WAIT-PW. “The bobolink and the eastern meadowlark are on the largest decline of any species at risk,” Rodrigues said. “They’re showing the sharpest down trend.” Bobolinks are actually among the top 10 species killed by wind turbines in Ontario, according to a Ministry of Natural Resources report. Part of the problem is these birds have been known to collide with tall lighted structures at night. Bobolinks also perform aerial mating displays, making them once again susceptible to collisions with turbines.

The Ministry of Natural Resources has prepared a recovery strategy to help restore the province’s population of these ‘threatened’ birds who are likely to become endangered unless action is taken. Suncor spokesperson Nicole Fisher said the company doesn’t believe that area bobolinks are being put at risk with the project, and instead pointed to protection measures being put in place. Read article

Grand Bend Wind Project approved. Another 40 massive turbines along Huron coast.

Grand BendEnvironmental Registry
A Renewable Energy Approval (REA) has been issued to Grand Bend Wind GP Inc. (Northland Power) 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 40 turbines with a total nameplate capacity of approximately 100 megawatts (MW). The wind facility will be connected to Hydro One’s distribution system.

This Class 4 wind facility, known as the Grand Bend Wind Farm, will be located within the municipalities of Bluewater and South Huron, in Huron County. Portions of the transmission line also traverse the Municipality of Huron East, in Huron County, and the Municipality of West Perth, in Perth County.

Note that since the REA application was deemed complete on August 28, 2013, the applicant submitted details regarding modifications made to the project. The modifications include:

  • Change in turbine model from Siemens SWT-2.3-113 to Siemens SWT-3.0-113 (turbine/blade physical specifications remain the same)
  • Reduction in the number of turbines to be constructed, from 46 to 40 Read more

Grand Bend Protest of Environment Minister Jim Bradley

There was a… *ahem*… “scheduling conflict” for Jim Bradley, so he didn’t show up!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Wind opponents continue fight in Lambton Shores
Paul Morden, Sarnia Observer
Ontario Environment Minister Jim Bradley didn’t make it to a Lake Huron conference he was scheduled to speak at Friday in Grand Bend, but wind turbine protesters were there. Marcelle Brooks, a member of the Middlesex-Lambton Wind Action Group, said it was “unfortunate” Bradley cancelled his appearance at the event the Lake Huron Centre for Coastal Conservation held at the Oakwood Conference Centre.

A dozen or more people held signs and banners at the conference centre’s main entrance road. “I’m sure he’ll get the message, either way,” Brooks said. “We want to make darn sure they know we’re not going away. This issue is not a dead issue.” Read article

Experienced Appellants

6883422-corruption-in-the-government-in-a-corrupt-systemby Harvey Wrightman
When the Green Energy Act (GEA) was created in 2009 it was crafted to remove the planning powers of local councils. Recognizing that wind projects are complex, massively intrusive/destructive to local communities and create a lot of local resentment, an appeal process was set up where residents could file a formal appeal to the Environmental Review Tribunal (ERT) – a kind of safety valve where ordinary citizens could present their arguments. On receiving the appeal, the ERT could either accept the reasons for appeal as legitimate, or dismiss it straight away. All the appeals that have been filed against wind projects have been done by local groups or individuals who are acting “in the public interest” and do not stand to benefit personally from a favourable appeal decision. This is an important point that is generally accepted by the courts in this country. Notwithstanding this principle, both the Ministry of Environment (MOE) and various wind companies have sought costs awards in several ERT appeal hearings. Middlesex Lambton Wind Action Group Inc. has been the target of these motions in 3 of the 6 appeals we have been in – Zephyr, Varna, and most recently St. Columban. The decision in that case was provided on 2014/05/27 and has provided more guidance for future ERT appeals.

ORDER – The Approval Holder’s application for costs as against the MLWAG Appellants is dismissed.

From the decision:

On January 25, 2014, the Approval Holder informed the Tribunal that it intended to file with the Tribunal an application for costs with respect to the proceeding as against the MLWAG Appellants only. On January 27, 2014, the Tribunal wrote to the parties stating that the costs application would be heard in writing and requested that the parties agree to a schedule for submissions. On February 14, 2014, the Approval Holder served the parties and filed with the Tribunal its submissions with respect to the costs application. On February 26, 2014, the MLWAG Appellants filed submissions with respect to the costs applications. On February 26, 2014 and March 3, 2014, the Director and the Dixon/Ryan Appellants respectively wrote to the Tribunal stating that they would not be filing submissions. On March 4, 2014, the Approval Holder filed reply submissions.

That’s how the ERT describes the selective action taken by the approval—holder of the St. Columban wind project, owned by Veresen Inc. – a Calgary energy company that describes itself as, “Veresen is a leading diversified energy infrastructure company that owns and operates energy infrastructure assets across North America. We are engaged in three principal business lines…pipelines, midstream, renewable energy (wind).” Note, a gas/wind combo that is a common occurrence. Note also the selective nature of the application, the other appellants were not named. And lastly note that the “Approval Holder” Veresen is represented by McCarthy Tetrault, the same law firm that NextEra hired to pursue its SLAPP-suit against Esther Wrightman, who is my daughter. Continue reading

MLWAG considering appealing MOE decision to approve 92-turbine project in Lambton & Middlesex

DSC_0812London Free Press, Tyler Kula
Energy company Nextera has been given the green light to start building a 92-turbine industrial wind farm in Lambton and Middlesex counties. Ontario’s Ministry of the Environment issued a Renewable Energy Approval (REA) earlier this week for the company’s proposal to build a 150-megawatt wind farm spanning Lambton Shores, Warwick Township and North Middlesex.

Some final details still need to be worked out, but construction of the Jericho Wind Energy Centre is expected to begin as soon as possible, said Ben Greenhouse, director of development with Nextera Energy Canada. The project has been in the works since 2008, he said, and was submitted for ministry approval 14 months ago. “We’re excited,” he said, noting a laydown yard — headquarters for construction — will soon be built on Thomson Line, north of Jericho Road and south of Northville Road.

But not everyone is enthused about the approval. Lambton Shores resident Marcelle Brooks, with the Middlesex-Lambton Wind Action Group, has been a vocal opponent of the project. It was a sad day when she saw the approval, she said. “It was just devastating that our voices simply aren’t being heard.” Read article

PECFN Files for Leave to Appeal Divisional Court Ruling

sign blanding turtleSave Ostrander Point
For immediate Release
Picton: PECFN has filed their submission to the Court of Appeal asking for leave to appeal the Divisional Court reversal of the decision of the Environmental Review Tribunal. Last July the Tribunal revoked the approval of a Gilead Power wind turbine project at Ostrander Point Crown Land Block in the centre of the Prince Edward County South Shore Important Bird Area. There have been more than 20 appeals of Renewable Energy Approvals since the Green Energy Act came into effect in 2009. All but the PECFN appeal resulted in dismissals. In allowing PECFN’s appeal, the Tribunal rendered a landmark and precedent-setting decision.

Soon after the Divisional Court decision Gilead Power announced its intention to start construction in April. PECFN brought an urgent motion for a Stay of construction and leave to appeal the Divisional Court decision to the Court of Appeal. In his decision submitted on March 25, Judge Blair of the Appeal Court held that he had “no hesitation in granting the Stay” because the issues raised on the proposed appeal are of “broad public implication in the field of environmental law”. Further he found that the irreparable harm criterion had been satisfied on the basis that “once a habitat is destroyed, it is destroyed – for at least short-term purposes, in any event – and the species sought to be protected here is a vulnerable and endangered species.” Read article

East Oxford group files FOI for wind farm details

Joan KeithBy Jennifer Vandermeer, Norwich Gazette/IngersollTimes
NORWICH TOWNSHIP – The East Oxford Community Alliance wants to know how the Ministry of the Environment has been handling the Prowind Gunn’s Hill Wind Farm file. The alliance (EOCA) has filed Freedom of Information requests and asked the Ontario Ombudsman to look into it because of the number of changes that have been made to the project without due process for the public to participate.

Joan Morris, spokesperson for EOCA, said one issue is the “substantive changes” to the project since it was first filed with the MOE and considered complete and accurate. “A change to the project area was announced to the public only four days before the application was deemed complete by the Ministry on February 7, 2014,” Morris also said in a press release. “Apart from a cover page from the Ministry of Environment, none of the documents for public review and comment were modified to account for the changes.” Read article

NextEra and MOE sitting in a tree….K…I…SS..I..N..G

moralWiarton Echo, Don Crosby
[excerpt] Earlier on the hearing was delayed while West Grey’s representative, Bev Cutting, left the meeting to get a couple of voice recorders after some witnesses for the appellant complained they didn’t have access to a recording of the proceedings

West Grey resident Maria De Melo said since NextEra and the Ministry of the Environment were sharing the cost of a qualified reporter who was recording the proceedings using sophisticated equipment, Van Den Bosch and other opponents deserved the same opportunity. Wright agreed to allow Van Den Bosch to record the proceedings, but only for personal record keeping. He forbade the use of the information for broadcast purposes to or appear on social media.

De Melo and Orah Randall complained lawyers for the Ministry of the Environment and the NextEra were sitting together and could be seen consulting one another. De Melo said it gave the appearance the ministry and the proponent were on the same side whereas she expected the MOE to represent the interests of the people of Ontario. She wanted Wright to order them to sit apart.

He denied the request. Read article

Group says turbine violations should halt project

South Kent Wind Samsung Pattern Chatham Kent McKinlay Rd 1St. Catharines Standard, Don Fraser
A group opposed to West Lincoln turbines is demanding the cancellation of the project due to setback violations. It says three of five industrial wind turbines at the location in the west part of the township were constructed in violation of provincial regulations.

In a Monday release, West Lincoln Glanbrook Wind Action Group says the violations in property boundary setback requirements were confirmed by a Ministry of the Environment official. However, another official told the group “a new precedent will be set to legitimize the … deficiencies” by letting the wind company get retroactive permission from affected neighbors to accept reduced turbine setback distances from their property boundaries.

“Once again, the wind industry is not in compliance with regulations,” said action group co-chair Deb Murphy. Read article

Gunns Hill Wind project up for public comment

commentEnvironmental Registry
Submit comment by March 24
This posting is for a proposed Renewable Energy Approval (REA) by Gunn’s Hill Windfarm Inc. for Gunn’s Hill Wind Farm, proposed to be located in the Township of Norwich, Oxford County, Ontario. This is a Class 4 Wind Facility with a total expected generation capacity of 25 megawatts (MW).

The proposed facility is considered to be a Class 4 Wind Facility under Ontario Regulation 359/09 (O. Reg. 359/09) Renewable Energy Approvals under Part V.0.1 of the Environmental Protection Act. Applications for Renewable Energy Approvals are required to be submitted in accordance with O. Reg. 359/09 for consideration for approval. Read more/Submit Comment

Last defence

amherst IslandThe Times, Rick Conroy
The channel that separates Amherst Island from Prince Edward County is scarcely two kilometres wide. The island itself is tiny—just 20 kilometres long and seven kilometres across at its widest point. It is likely that in some ancient past Prince Edward County and Amherst Island were connected.

Now these communities share a common threat—a threat to the birds that stopover on their way north and south. To the animals that live here and make this unique habitat their own. To a pastoral way of life. And to the very health and well-being of the folks who who call these island communities home.

Earlier this month, the Ontario Ministry of Environment (MOE) deemed complete an application by a company controlled by Algonquin Power to construct as many as 37 industrial wind turbines on this small and fragile island. Thirty seven turbines. Each soaring more than 400 feet into the air— blades sweeping the sky over a span of 10,000 square metres (equal to two acres of sky for each turbine). Read article

NextEra East Durham wind project approved by MOE

ist2_137405-rubber-stamp-approvedEnvironmental Registry
A Renewable Energy Approval (REA) has been issued to East Durham Wind, Inc. (NextEra Energy Canada) 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 14 turbines with a total nameplate capacity of 23 megawatts (MW). The wind facility will be connected to Hydro One’s distribution system.

This Class 4 wind facility, known as the East Durham Wind Energy Centre, will be located in Municipality of West Grey, Grey County. Read more

Turtles vs turbines case goes to court

blandings_turtleToronto Star
Blanding’s turtles get their day in court this week – three days, in fact – as a case that pits turtles against wind turbines enters a new phase. The turtles won the first round last year, when an environmental review tribunal blocked a proposal to erect nine turbines on the shore of Lake Ontario at Ostrander Point in Prince Edward County.

The reason: The tribunal ruled that new roads built for access to the turbines would cause “serious and irreversible harm” to the local population of Blanding’s turtles, a threatened species. After hearing arguments from the Prince Edward County Field Naturalists club, the tribunal revoked the renewable energy permit that wind developer Gilead Power had previously been granted.

The case highlighted the tensions that have developed between some environmentalists and the wind energy industry. Tuesday the wind power company, Gilead Power, and Ontario’s ministry of the environment were in divisional court to appeal the ruling. Read article

Ministry of Environment Appeals Own Wind Turbine Decision

Mark-Ontario-Ministry-of-Health-and-Long-Term-Care-f279180Net Newsledger
TORONTO – Environment – The Ontario Government is seeking to overturn itself in a court hearing that starts today in Toronto. Ontario. Wind Concerns Ontario states, “The rare and endangered Blanding’s turtle had a good day last July—the Environmental Review Tribunal revoked the Ontario government’s decision to allow a wind turbine project at Ostrander Point in Prince Edward County on the grounds that the project would cause ‘serious and irreversible harm’ to the endangered turtles native to the area”.

“Now, the Ontario government’s Ministry of the Environment is appealing the decision by its own quasi-judicial Tribunal, seeking to overturn the decision and allow the wind power project to proceed, despite the objections of community and naturalist groups,” states Jane Wilson, President of Wind Concerns Ontario  (WCO). “Beginning January 21, lawyers representing the Prince Edward County Field Naturalists (PECFN) and the South Shore Conservancy will be defending the ERT decision in the Ontario Superior Court of Justice in Toronto”.

The wind power developer, Toronto-based Gilead Power, supported by the wind power industry lobby group, the Canadian Wind Energy Association, will be arguing to overturn the decision to protect the turtles. Read article

Might v. right

criminal-justice-system-1372884734-8899The Times, Rick Conroy
It’s an obscenely unfair fight. I expect most people would intervene if they happened upon such a lopsided clash on the street. Or call the police. They would do something. It runs directly against our core sense of fair play. Of justice.

Consider the spectacle on display in a Toronto court room next week. On one side will be a handful of folks more knowledgeable about the nesting patterns of the whippoorwill than the finer points of administrative law in this province.

On the other side of the aisle will be the Province of Ontario, through its Ministry of Environment (MOE), the developer, Gilead Power Corporation, along with the entire Canadian wind energy industry through Can- WEA.

There are billions of dollars at stake in this hearing for one side. On the other, it is the sanctity of the natural habitat of a unique bit of Ontario.

For the developer, this is likely its last shot at salvaging a positive return from this project. This fight has already cost it millions of dollars. Every day Gilead executives linger in a courtroom, a hearing room or its lawyer’s office and not bulldozing roads into Ostrander Point, costs it many thousands of dollars more. This courtroom is likely the end of the road for this project. Read article

MOE district supervisor testifies at Armow Wind hearing

heather pollardSaugeen Times
Heather Pollard, district supervisor of the Owen Sound office of the Ontario Ministry of the Environment (MOE), gave testimony at the Environmental Review Tribunal Thursday afternoon in Kincardine. Appearing by way of a summons, Pollard said she has been the supervisor of the Owen Sound office since 2004, and was a junior environmental officer and senior environmental officer prior to that.

She said there are currently seven wind projects in the Owen Sound district, and all were constructed prior to the Green Energy Act and the Renewable Energy Approvals (REA) process. Pollard said her office has received complaints about six of the seven wind projects, mostly related to wind turbine noise and health effects.

“People have indicated they are having sleep disturbance, headaches, nausea, vertigo, tinnitus – symptoms they attribute to the wind farm,” she said. “We can follow up on the noise complaints but we have no expertise with health effects.” Asha James, counsel for the appellants, Ken and Sharon Kroeplin, asked Pollard if any complaints came from post-turbine residents suffering from health effects at the Enbridge Ontario Wind Farm.

“Yes,” said Pollard.

“Do you know the number?” asked James.

“350 complaints,” said Pollard. Read article

Grey Highlands and Clarington wind projects up for public comment

commentEnvironmental Registry:  SUBMIT COMMENT
This posting is for a proposed Renewable Energy Approval by Grey Highlands Clean Energy Limited Partnership for the Grey Highlands Clean Energy Project, proposed to be located in the Municipality of Grey Highlands, County of Grey, Ontario. This is a Class 4 wind facility with a total expected generation capacity of 18.45 megawatts (MW).
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Environmental Registry:  SUBMIT COMMENT
This posting is for a proposed Renewable Energy Approval (REA) by Ganaraska Nominee Ltd. for ZEP Wind Farm Ganaraska, proposed to be located in the Municipality of Clarington, Regional Municipality of Durham, Ontario. This is a Class 4 Wind Facility with a total expected generation capacity of 20 megawatts (MW).