NextEra freely handed permit to destroy Bald Eagle nest: FOI records

Have a good look at these recent and disturbing pictures posted on Canadian Raptor Conservancy’s Facebook.

  • Eagle Nest location: Port Ryerse
  • Wind Developer: Boralex

Flashback much?

Who does one go to when you see wind turbines installed this close to an active nest? You know it’s just a matter of time before the residents of that nest get added to this list of carcasses found in Ontario under wind turbines:

X 2009, Norfolk Wind Project – Bald Eagle

2012, Talbot Wind Project –Bald Eagle

2013, Talbot Wind Project – Bald Eagl

2014, Port Dover Wind Project – Bald Eagle

You want to help. The government makes all the rules and regulations for what any person/developer can do around important habitat like this, so they are the first you think of. Except… that they have a really bad track record on this.

Okay, lets say you go to the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF), as some good citizens did in November 2012. I’ll take you back there.

Warning, this is a long one, there is no other way to write it, so grab a drink.


***Last year I filed an Freedom of Information request with the MNRF for all correspondence relating to the Haldimand eagle nest destruction by NextEra Energy. I wanted to see what the hell was happening in their heads, and head offices. You can see all the files received from the FOI on this Google Drive: Bald Eagle Nest Destruction NextEra MNRF.

Somewhere around November 19th, 2012 the MNRF had it’s first glimpse at an issue they hadn’t dealt with before. Letters from residents in rural Haldimand County had landed on their desk – they were asking that the MNRF intervene with Florida based wind turbine developer NextEra’s construction around an active Bald Eagle nest.

The MNR wasn’t quite sure what to do. The Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act said:

7.  (1)  A person shall not destroy, take or possess the nest or eggs of a bird that belongs to a species that is wild by nature.  1997, c. 41, s. 7 (1).

But there were also exemptions made for “special” people/corporations in need of favours:

(3)  Subsection (1) does not apply to a person who destroys, takes or possesses the nest or eggs of a bird described in that subsection,
(a)in accordance with the authorization of the Minister

Ah yes, and that was the dilemma the MNRF faced. This appeared to concern at least Erin in her query to her co-worker. But that’s the last “concern” you will see from this Ministry.

The public kept the pressure on, sending pictures and maps. Surely to God the MNRF would intervene and save the nest…?

That day, December 4th, the MNRF Manager asked Jim Beal and Joad Durst, “…how quickly we can we pull this (a response to the public) together”. They knew an eagle nest was protected under the Renewable Energy Act (REA) – if the nest was noticed during the Natural Heritage Assessment (NHA). But the company missed this nest in their NHA – was that as good as saying the nest “wasn’t there”? Should NextEra have to move their road and turbine plans now, they would have to go through the Ministry of Environment’s (MOE) amendment process all over again – and that would cost wind company time and money. NextEra wanted to build now, and they were going to get their way.  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…]

Water well appellant abandons wind turbine ERT appeal; mediation agreement

well waterChatham Voice
Kevin Jakubec, the appellant in the cancelled Environmental Review Tribunal hearing into the North Kent One wind project, said he believed he had no choice but to abandon his appeal once the ERT refused to grant him an extension. The hearing was cancelled last Wednesday followed by the appeal dismissal the following day.

Jakubec said he requested a 14-day extension to introduce expert evidence. “There was no stepping back so I took a side step so we could move forward and take what we gained in mediation,” he said.

Under the terms of the mediation, property owners will be given baseline testing before the construction of any turbines and will receive groundwater and ground vibration monitoring in each of the first three years of operation. Also part of the agreement is that the ground water community liaison committee will see the company’s contingency plan. All costs for the above conditions is to be borne by Samsung and Pattern Development.

Jakubec was a key organizer of the grass-roots group Water Wells First but stepped aside when he became the sole appellant in the case. The group had contended that vibration from turbine construction and operation endangers water well quality.

The ERT dismissed Jakubec request, saying it would put the length of the hearing past its six-month deadline. As well, the tribunal accepted the “uncontested expert evidence” of the North Kent Wind witness, Storer Boone of Golder Assoc. Ltd. that turbines wouldn’t affect water quality. 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

New Study: 70,000 bats killed in Canada by wind turbines per year

“Ontario’s 1,270 turbines each killed an average of 24.5 bats per year”

CNSPhoto-Munro-BatsThe Wildlife Society, Nala Rogers
Each wind turbine in Canada kills an average of 15.5 bats per year, adding up to a death toll that could someday threaten populations, according to new research. In Canada’s first comprehensive analysis of wind farm casualties, researchers found that turbines were killing about 47,000 bats per year in 2013. That number will only rise as Canada’s investment in wind energy increases.

“We have about 50 percent more turbines now, so, as of 2016, somewhere around 70,000 bats are being killed in Canada per year,” said Ryan Zimmerling, a wildlife biologist with the Canadian Wildlife Service and first author of a recent study in the Journal of Wildlife Management. “It is possible that those levels of mortality, if they’re not already causing impacts to some species now, could be causing impacts into the future.”An Eastern red bat lies dead beneath a wind turbine in southern Ontario.

Wind energy companies in Canada are required to monitor bat mortality at newly built wind farms, regularly searching the area under turbines for carcasses. The companies report these data as part of post-construction monitoring, but until now, no one had combined them into a single nation-wide analysis. To see the big picture, Zimmerling and his colleagues analyzed carcass counts from 64 wind farms in nine provinces, using statistical corrections to estimate how many carcasses the surveyors missed.

The results varied widely by region. Hardly any bats died in New Brunswick and Manitoba, both because those provinces don’t have many wind farms and because each turbine there killed fewer than one bat per year. In contrast, Ontario’s 1,270 turbines each killed an average of 24.5 bats per year, accounting for two thirds of the whole country’s death count. It’s not clear why turbines are more dangerous in certain places, though the answer could have something to do with bat migration routes, says Zimmerling. Read articlebatspeciesmortalityontario

Study shows animal populations affected by wind turbines might not be just local

dead golden eaglePhys.org, Brian Wallheimer
Wind turbines are known to kill large birds, such as golden eagles, that live nearby. Now there is evidence that birds from up to hundreds of miles away make up a significant portion of the raptors that are killed at these wind energy fields.

Using DNA from tissue and stable isotopes from the feathers of golden eagle carcasses, researchers from Purdue University and the U.S. Geological Survey found that  killed at the Altamont Pass Wind Resource Area in northern California can come from hundreds of miles away. Golden eagles are a species of conservation concern, so understanding population-level differences and how individuals interact with turbines is key to meeting a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service target of no net loss to their populations.

The APWRA is one of the oldest wind farms in the country and one of the largest in the world originally with around 5,000 turbines. Worldwide, such facilities have been responsible for the deaths of 140,000 to 328,000 birds and 500,000 to 1.6 million bats, raising questions about their effects on population sustainability.

“Eagles tend to use that habitat around the turbines. It’s windy there, so they can save energy and soar, and their preferred prey, California ground squirrels, is abundant there,” said J. Andrew DeWoody, a Purdue professor of genetics in the Department of Forestry and Natural Resources. “As they soar, these eagles are often looking straight down, and they fail to see the rapidly moving turbine blades. They get hit by the blades, and carcasses are found on the ground under the turbines.”

Collaborator David Nelson, a stable isotope ecologist with the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science, tested the birds’ feathers for stable hydrogen isotopes, which can be used to determine where the birds likely grew their feathers. The research team determined that about 75 percent of the 62 birds were from the local population. The remaining 25 percent likely migrated into the area before they were killed. Read article

Green energy cancellation new focus in wind fight

M'Chigeeng Protest June15,2012(9)Nicole Kleinsteuber, Quinte News
[excerpt]  Environmental lawyer Eric Gillespie who is representing all three parties told Quinte News that he plans to put Tuesday’s announcement front and centre through the rest of the hearing.

“We don’t need any more of these projects,” said Gillespie. “They (the ERT) have already said green energy doesn’t trump the environmental protection act. Now it doesn’t even compete at all. It should have zero weight. The environmental protection act should trump everything.”

Gillespie said he plans to tell the ERT that ‘the hearings are unnecessary because the project is unnecessary.’

“Wind companies have been oblivious to the realities as has the government,” he said. “It’s been known for years we have ample amounts of energy and have been dumping it in the United States at a reduced rate. This confirmed the sad reality that this course of action has had no merit for what Ontarians have been put through by these policies and the actions of these wind companies.” Read article

Enough is enough with wind company false allegations.

No doubt this happens pretty regularly. You are writing a response on a public forum and out pops a pro-wind advocate who says you are nothing but a ‘denier’, or a ‘coal-burner’, or whatever. It’s a poke to engage you, so you don’t because that’s not why you are there – stick to your message to the intended recipient.

But what about when they start saying flat out lies, that are serious, without any facts to back them up? I get it, thoroughly, when one makes a statement you need to substantiate. In the case of NextEra’s lawsuit against me, calling them NexTerror and NextError, I easily had over sixty links to recent news article of “errors” and “terrors” they had committed in our neighbourhoods, and I’m sure many more could be added today.

tide6Two days ago I had a discussion with Tide… yes “Tide”, as in laundry detergent. There was an annoying ad that kept popping up on Facebook with twirling white turbines around their new scent-free laundry detergent, and they told us “the formula is made with 100% renewable wind power electricity.”  I replied, as it is pretty much one’s duty to explain the negative environmental effects of wind turbines to such companies when this happens.

Then an employee of Brookfield Renewables, Jeremey Davidson, popped in with the usual, “Ester [sic] wants her detergent made with nuclear or stinky coal power.” Whatever. Ignore. To Tide I sent links to American Bird Conservancy articles, the Bird Studies Canada recent report, and the picture of NextEra cutting down the eagle nest.  tide2-copy

Then I get this. →
Apparently “we” lit a nacelle on fire. I’m very open about what I have done in the line of protesting, so those that know me know that  vandalism has never been part of it. What I do, I always make sure I can stand by morally and ethically with no regrets. To be accused of lighting a wind turbine component on fire (when I’m not great with fires and have a fear of heights) serves only one purpose for Mr. Davidson – to discredit me, and other protesters. We were now collectively labelled criminals because of his statement.

tide3-copyI thought he might retract this blatant lie if we pointed it out to him, but he just became more adamant. Continue reading

Wynne’s axing of future green energy projects too little, too late

11822631_10153434729099360_749101345687174178_nLorrie Goldstein, Toronto Sun
Of all the spending scandals Ontario’s Liberal government has been involved in since 2003, none has been bigger than its mad pursuit of expensive, unreliable and unneeded wind, solar and biofuel energy. No other scandal — eHealth and Ornge pale by comparison — has cost present and future generations of Ontarians more money.

Tuesday’s announcement that Premier Kathleen Wynne is cancelling all future large-scale wind, solar, biomass (and, irrelevantly, hydro) projects — about 1,000 MW of excess capacity given the province’s huge energy surplus — is too little, too late. The problem is the Liberals have already locked us into far too many 20-year contracts for wind and solar power that aren’t impacted by the announcement.

These contracts gave wind and solar developers — many of them major contributors to the Liberal party — lucrative deals in which the province has to buy their power first, despite having an energy surplus that could power the province of Manitoba, according to Ontario auditor general Bonnie Lysyk. That means we either have to pay them to produce expensive electricity we don’t need that must be sold at a loss, or pay them not to produce electricity at all. 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

At-risk species prompts renewed wind development fight over Gunn’s Hill project

ab-batWoodstock Sentinel Review, Keith Maryanovich
NORWICH TOWNSHIP – At the proposed 10-turbine Gunn’s Hill wind farm, both the company and anti-wind turbine advocates expect a certain number of little brown bats to be killed. The point being contended, however, is just what constitutes an acceptable mortality rate.

The East Oxford Community Alliance felt the risk to these bat species was important enough to file an urgent request on July 14 to halt the Gunn’s Hill wind power project with the Ontario Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change and the Environmental Review Tribunal. It has also requested that its appeal of the Norwich Township project be reopened.

“We filed to halt the project until further investigation and until it can be shown that effective protective measures are in place to prevent serious and irreversible harm to the little brown bat, the eastern small-footed bat, and the other endangered species known to be present at the Gunn’s Hill project site,” East Oxford Community Alliance chair Joan Morris said. “We have not heard back from the ministry yet.”

The Gunn’s Hill LP noted its intention to operate the Prowind Canada project in accordance with the approval that was upheld at the Environmental Review Tribunal, which includes reference to the bats.

“In post-construction, we will be monitoring in accordance with the guidelines on threshold limits for bat mortality,” Prowind Canada vice-president Juan Anderson said. “That threshold is 10 bats per turbine per year.” Read article

What is the Global Adjustment fee? The mysterious cost Ontario hydro customers must pay

 

McGuinty Visits Erie Shores Windfarm

Global News, Brian Hill
A product of Ontario’s 2009 Green Energy Act, the Global Adjustment fee is a charge billed to all hydro customers in the province.

For major manufacturers and large businesses, the fee appears separately on electricity bills. But for residential customers and small businesses, the fee is hidden – appearing on your electricity bill as a part of the per kilowatt hour charge.

According to data obtained by Global News from the Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO), the organization responsible for managing Ontario’s energy system, residential customers and small businesses in Ontario paid an average of 7.9 cents per kilowatt hour in Global Adjustment fees last year.

So for every $100 in usage that appears on your electricity bill, $77 of that is the Global Adjustment fee. Meaning the cost of electricity use is only $23. Read Article

Wind power debates continue

Laura Barton, Welland Tribune
A recent survey says Ontarians are pretty evenly split when it comes to wind turbines. The poll done by Mainstreet Research and Postmedia was published June 7. It had 2,537 people respond to questions about turbines. The survey determined that 43 per cent of people do not like turbines, 43 per cent do and the remaining 14 per cent don’t know.

Wainfleet Mayor April Jeffs said she hears more negative comments and concerns than positive remarks. When the township was against the first wave of five turbines, residents fought for them and thought it was a great idea.

“I just don’t hear that anymore,” said Jeffs. Because of the larger expansion of the industrial wind farm, Fleeters are having second thoughts. It’s partially a case of not realizing the consequences of the infrastructure necessary for turbines, said Jeffs. “I don’t think any of us quite realized the amount of transmission lines and such,” she said. Read article

Absurdities abound with rural water plan

1297854991096_ORIGINALPeter Epp, London Free Press
It’s difficult to rule in isolation. That can be the only conclusion from the latest incident between rural Ontario and those in charge of Ontario’s Green Energy Plan.

How else to explain the almost embarrassing lack of understanding that the Green Energy people have about the potential impact of their decisions in parts of Ontario where wind turbines are to be developed?

The latest wrinkle comes from Chatham-Kent, which happens to lead the province in the number of wind turbines located in a single jurisdiction, and whose residents are bracing to receive even more.

A citizens’ group is now concerned about the potential impact that turbine vibrations will have on rural water wells, in an area where 40 to 50 turbines are to be constructed. They say studies show turbine activity can disrupt groundwater activity, a red flag for those who depend upon water wells for their households and agricultural activities.

Turns out that the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change is prepared for such an eventuality — or they thought they were. The ministry’s approval for the turbine company reads that “an adequate amount of bottled water” must be provided to “the impacted party” should there be a disruption with water well activity. That’s a lot of bottled water. As one Chatham-Kent farmer told reporters, an average horse can consume two to five cases of water a day. Read article

Efficiency better option than Hydro One rate hike

electricity costJim Merriam, London Free Press
The word efficiency doesn’t appear to be in the vocabulary of the suits — empty and otherwise — that run Hydro One. The utility’s “province-wide consultation process” includes an online survey for those inclined to help with a poorly veiled attempt to get support for rate increases.

In the preamble to the survey Hydro One admits as much: “All feedback . . . will in turn influence plans that the company will submit to the Ontario Energy Board.” The board will determine new rates. The survey asks a number of questions about Hydro One services and customer priorities.

Here’s an example: Survey respondents are asked if they prefer longer power outages in order to keep costs low, or if they prefer to maintain the current length of outages with a “relatively modest increase” in rates. A third option would see the length of outages reduced at yet higher costs.

In all such questions the option of Hydro One improving efficiency in order to offer better service never appears. That would lead to the assumption that Hydro One sees itself working as cost effectively as possible. Read article

Buddhist temple project in rural Ontario threatened by wind turbines

Survey suggests an even split in public opinion about Ontario’s embrace of wind energy

2014_06010079John Miner, London Free Press
Seven years after Ontario’s multi-billion-dollar, headlong plunge into wind energy, residents of the province are deeply divided on the project, a new Mainstreet/Postmedia poll has found. The survey of 2,537 Ontarians, released Wednesday, found an even split on wind power, with 43 per cent of respondents having a positive opinion about it and 43 per cent a negative view.

But there was a big difference in the two opinion camps. “The people who don’t like wind power right now really, really don’t like wind power, and the people who do like wind power are only somewhat okay with it,” said David Valentin, executive vice president of Mainstreet Research.

Out of those with a negative view, 28 per cent had a “very negative” opinion and another 15 per cent had a “somewhat negative opinion.” For those with a favourable opinion, 18 per cent were “very positive” and 25 per cent “somewhat positive.”

Valentin said rising electricity bills are part of the reason for the weak support, but mishandling of contracts and reports of disputes involving wind energy developers and the Liberal government are also having an impact. More than 60 per cent of respondents believed wind power has contributed to higher power bills and 59 per cent expect the charges will keep increasing over the next 12 months. Read article

Ross McKitrick: Climate crazy Ontari-ari-ario’s no place to grow, but to get the hell out of

CHATHAM-KENT, ONTARIO, INTERNAIONAL POWER GDF SUEZ from Stefina LineRoss Mckitrick, Financial Post
The latest news out of Queen’s Park is that Kathleen Wynne’s Liberals plan to deindustrialize Ontario. Of course they don’t call it that; they prefer the term “decarbonize.” But for an industrial economy, the government’s new climate action plan, leaked to reporters this week, amounts to the same thing.

The proposed scheme beggars belief. Having phased out coal-fired power, the province now plans to phase out natural gas, the only reliable alternative for non-baseload generation. Despite electric cars being extremely costly and unpopular, more than one in 10 new car sales will need to be electric, and every two-car household will have to own at least one electric car. All homes listed for sale will require a costly energy audit. Home renovations will have to be geared around energy efficiency as the government defines it, not what the homeowner wants.

Around the time that today’s high-school students are readying to buy their first home, it will be illegal for builders to install heating systems that use fossil fuels, in particular natural gas. Having already tripled the price of power, Queen’s Park will make it all but mandatory to rely on electricity for heating.

There will be new mandates and subsidies for biofuels, electric buses for schools, extensive new bike lanes to accommodate all those bicycles Ontario commuters will be riding all winter, mandatory electric recharging stations on all new buildings, and many other Soviet-style command-and-control directives. Read article

Wind developers don’t have to make their Bird & Bat kills public – Let’s change that.

turbines-birdsIt’s springtime – birds singing…

Or at least we hope so. Is anybody checking? I mean is the wind company busy collecting carcasses, or listening to bird song? Is the government monitoring the cumulative impacts from the massive wind developments that have been deployed all over Ontario in the last few years?

In short, no. But here’s a test you can all try (and I hope you do): try looking for a Bird/Bat
Mortality Report of any wind project of your choosing in Ontario. It’s like an easter egg hunt, or an eagle egg hunt. Not a very fruitful one though – I’ve only found two – both from before 2012. One is the infamous Wolfe Island bird carnage (all reports are fully listed on the company’s site), and the other is for the Harrow project, but it’s posted here on OWR… so that doesn’t really count as a brownie point for the wind company.

That’s all I can find but if anyone else can point out some more – please share. You’d think the wind developers would have these reports on their websites, especially after all those reassurances at the meetings that the kills would be ‘monitored’ and ‘mitigated’ and of course the people would be kept in the loop.

Copy of IMG_0380In my old backyard of Middlesex County there was an active eagle nest smack in the NextEra Bornish Wind Project – 400m from the massive substation, and surrounded by hundreds of wind turbines now. It’s hard not to think about those eagles and wonder how they are doing, how their offspring fared. Same with the eagles in Haldimand that were evicted from their nest – what happened to them? And the swallows too, flocks of them at this time of year skimming the pond.

In reading the Adelaide Community Liaison Report NextEra said they would  submit these mortality reports at the beginning of March this year. Sounds good, doesn’t it? Yeah, well – too good to be true. March comes and I’m checking all over their website – no documents.

I start looking for other Bird and Bat Mortality Reports for other recent projects and find myself coming up empty handed. What the hell?? By now there should be tonnes of them considering all the projects in operation!

So I contact the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry, where the reports were submitted to. They tell me to go ask NexTerror first. (Kidding, they said NextEra, but they were probably thinking it!).

I breathe in, and write them. (By now I’m losing my cool with this company for multiple reasons, this is as nice as I could be.)

NextEra,

I’m looking for the Bird and Bat Monitoring Report for the Adelaide and Bornish Wind Projects.

From the Community Liaison Committee meeting notes, they should be available by March 1, 2016. “Annual report provided to MNRF by March 1 following each year of monitoring“.

This was my home for 33 years and I still give a damn about the eagle nest, and the multitude of barn swallows and bat colonies. It appears if nobody asks for this report, then nobody knows.

Please direct me to where the public can access these reports, or alternatively send me them both on to me.

Thank you,

Esther Wrightman

The reply comes a couple days later, from someone named “Steve”.

Nextera Bird Bat kill report Steve

 

A quick letter back to Steve (that didn’t get any answers):

Dear Steve (last name?),

A ‘summary’, in ’90 days’, ‘maybe’?

Could you not just send me the same full bird/bat death report you sent the MNRF right now, since you already have it?

Or does it have to be manipulated first, for public consumption.

Esther

 

can5The MNR reassures me that they have these documents but haven’t reviewed them and then I’m told the only other way to retrieve them is to file a Freedom of Information request to see them. I throw my $5 into an envelope and send  it in to the Information and Privacy Commissioner, and wait. Continue reading

Tearing us apart: Wounds not healing after wind turbines turned friends into bitter enemies

war battleFarmers Forum, By Tom Collins
LISTOWEL — Wind turbines tear apart communities and relationships, causing animosity that lingers for years, warn farmers who have lived through the ugly battles. Don Winslow signed up in 2013 when a wind turbine company planned to build five turbines near Peterborough. Three months later, after immense public pressure and hostility, he couldn’t do it anymore.

“It relieved our stress tremendously (to cancel the contract),” the then-70-year-old Winslow told Farmers Forum. “We don’t have to sneak around the neighbours, hoping to not run into them. There is always an element of society that is going to go overboard but people I respected were just as upset as the real radicals.”

There are more than 2,100 turbines in the province with another 1,500 on the way. The province is expected to announce new projects this month that could include another 100 wind turbines in turbine-rich Western Ontario where the stories are shocking.

“There are people here that have absolute hatred for others. I have never seen anything so divisive in our community ever, in my entire life,” said Alma-area dairy farmer Tim Martin. “You try to say forgive and forget, but a lot of people say ‘we forgive them but we remember.’ They put their pocketbook ahead of our health and above the community’s well-being, and people don’t forget that.” Read article

Wind turbines to add to municipal policing costs

CTV News London

Who ponies up for wind turbine teardown?

abandoned_wind_farm_hawaiiFarmers Forum, Brandy Harrison
TORONTO — With more wind turbines coming to Ontario, there has been a lot of talk about what happens when it comes time to take down the towers. While the provincial government may put the onus on wind project developers to pay for teardown, it’s far from certain they’ll be able to collect if a company goes bankrupt — which could mean taxpayers are on the hook, says a Toronto-based environmental and municipal lawyer.

“Many of these companies are relatively small or based outside of Canada and that creates what appears to be a real risk as there will be no pocket you can go to 20 years from now when a cleanup is actually required,” says Eric Gillespie, who has represented landowners and municipalities with wind turbine concerns.

It’s anybody’s guess who would end up paying for decommissioning — the landowner, the municipality, or provincial taxpayers, he says. Farmers shouldn’t underestimate what it takes to remove a single turbine, Gillespie warns. The nacelle — the central hub containing the generator — is 80 to 100 metres in the air and weighs as much as 70 tonnes.

“It’s not something where you just call your neighbour and ask him to bring his tractor over.” While Ontario costs are yet unknown, world-wide decommissioning has ranged from $30,000 to $80,000 per turbine. Read article

Residents hit with unexpected turbine construction impact

Adelaide concrete4Port Colborne Leader, By Steve Henschel
WAINFLEET — They knew the turbines were coming, they even knew the fight to stop them was all but over; what they didn’t know however was how construction would impact their lives. A group of Wellandport residents living on Side Road 42 and Concession 6 recently met with Wainfleet Mayor April Jeffs to go through a laundry list of complaints associated with construction of wind turbines, specifically the transmission lines for the project. “There is no notice,” said Concession 6 property owner LeaAnne Robins, who has seen construction devastate roadside trees in front of her property. “They’ve massacred all the 80-year-old oaks on the road,” she said, explaining she expects construction of transmission towers to follow the clear cutting.

She said there was no notice given of how her property would be impacted and added it is hard to see the trees go. “It’s kind of the reason you live in the country,” she said, adding, “we didn’t buy property out here to stare at metal monsters.” Robins noted one instance where construction trucks have delayed access significantly to her property. On Side Road 42 where transmission towers are already going up those delays have become common.

Construction has repeatedly blocked access at the north end of the road, forcing residents to take long detours. “The school bus won’t even come down the road,” said Scott Murphy, whose four-year-old son and seven-year-old daughter now have to walk about a half kilometer through a construction zone to catch the bus. Read article

Ontario wind turbine projects need to be more sensitive to residents: study

2014_05140205Richard Blackball, The Globe and Mail
Renewable energy developers – and those who regulate them – need to be more sensitive to the concerns of residents who are going to have massive wind turbines built near them, a group of Canadian academics says.

In a paper published Monday in the journal Nature Energy, the eight authors – six of whom are university professors or researchers – analyze why there is so much debate over the placement of wind turbines in Ontario.

Ontario has the greatest number of wind turbines of any province, and their construction has created considerable conflict between developers and those opposed to the installation of large industrial machinery in rural environments. Often these fights end up pitting neighbours against neighbours, and they can become big political battles at the municipal level.

Ontario has altered its rules since it first encouraged wind farms in its Green Energy Act in 2009, said Stewart Fast, a senior research associate at the University of Ottawa and one of the paper’s authors. But even though the new rules encourage more input from local governments and residents near proposed turbines, these changes haven’t been enough to stop the disputes, he said. Read article

Today, remember NextEra, and their Nest Terror

There is this thing that Facebook does: reposts a picture or comment from any number of years ago that was on your timeline, sporadically, and calls it a Memory. I believe you are supposed to cherish these posts and sigh with, “Time flies!” or “Isn’t that cute?!”

FBEagleNestThis morning the picture of the severed eagle nest was there and Facebook said: “Esther, we care about you and the memories you share here. We thought you’d like to look back on this post from 3 years ago.” Ahem. Well now. Some people have sweeter memories than others apparently. I should like all the cute little pictures scattered around the gruesome one of the crane and nest – kittens, flowers, children – awww! But I hate to tell ya FB, that so called ‘memory’ still feels like yesterday, and not in a good way.

The night before the eagle nest was cut, my dad was dutifully browsing the “Friday evening approvals” by the Ontario government (you know, when the reporters have all gone home for the weekend and no news story can be made until Monday, when the lead has lost most of its heat), and he saw this permit issued to NextEra Energy to destroy an active bald eagle nest. Really. He called me up. We didn’t believe it. Read and reread it. No… they wouldn’t do that. I mean, even when the government would unthinkably hand you a permit to commit an act like this, you wouldn’t go and cut a rare (only forty-eight nests in SW Ontario), massive nest, that was currently home to two eagles, down… would you?

Oh but then we had to think, “What Would NextEra Do?” Well yes, they would cold bloodedly do this, they had an access road that had be plowed through to three of their proposed wind turbines (yet to be built) – and this road demanded that these trees (including one with the nest) be cut in order for the project to proceed. They like words like ‘proceed’, as in “Proceed as Planned”. They wouldn’t want to disrupt a Plan for a silly little (or big) nest. Continue reading

Queen’s Park moves to silence dissent on electricity

voltaire-quoteToronto Star, Brady Yauch
Ontario’s desire for total control over all aspects of the electricity sector is nearly fulfilled.
The push to eliminate dissent and independent review of the province’s energy monopolies has been a decade in the making. Since 2004, many of the province’s largest and most expensive policies were implemented with little to no oversight — at great cost to ratepayers, as the Auditor General forcefully highlighted in her recent annual report.
But Queen’s Park is set to fully take over all decision-making regarding the province’s energy monopolies by solidifying its control over the province’s energy regulator, the Ontario Energy Board (OEB), with the recent passing of Bill 112. In doing so, Ontario is shutting down the last arena of independent public review of the billions of dollars being spent by the province and its many publicly owned utilities.

The legislation, “Strengthening Consumer Protection and Electricity System Oversight Act,” would deny independent intervenors the funds needed to hire the lawyers and experts needed at these hearings, effectively blocking their participation.

Prior to this legislation, any individual ratepayer or organization representing ratepayers — ranging from big, industrial groups to cottage associations or low-income organizations — could apply for funding and act as an intervenor in any rate application. The government would instead replace the independent intervenors with a new government-appointed consumer representative.

In other jurisdictions where this has occurred, the direct cost of this new bureaucracy has been far more expensive than the cost of reimbursing intervenors for their lawyers and consultants. The indirect costs of losing the ability to hold the utility monopolies to account by forcing them to justify their proposed rate increases before the OEB could be much greater still. Read article

Dear Architects [and developers]: Sound Matters

amplitude modulation(If we could add just one more audio to this article – a field, before and after wind turbines.)

New York Times, By Micheal Kimmelman
We talk about how cities and buildings look. We call places landmarks or eyesores. But we rarely talk about how architecture sounds, aside from when a building or room is noisy.

The spaces we design and inhabit all have distinctive sounds. The reading rooms at the New York Public Library have an overlay of rich sound. Your office may be a big room in a glass building with rows of cubicles where people stare into computer screens.
It may be sealed off from the outside, and you may think it is quiet.

Is it?

Often the sound of a place is so pervasive that we stop noticing what we hear. Or we think the sound could not be otherwise — that is, until we, say, turn off the buzzing overhead lights.

Compare, for instance, the ear-shattering subway platform in New York City with a relatively silent station in Paris, where trains slide into platforms on whooshing wheels: Read article (and listen to the audio)