For immediate release: January 9, 2013
MPP Barrett questions decision making behind habitat destruction
Queens Park – Ontario residents concerned about the removal of an eagles nest to make way for wind towers weren’t the only ones shut out from the decision making that saw the host tree quickly removed over the weekend. Haldimand-Norfolk MPP Toby Barrett says recommendations of the government’s own Environmental Commissioner were overlooked in the rush to judgement to remove the home of nesting eagles east of Selkirk.
“It was just three months ago that Environmental Commissioner Gord Miller told us, ‘The Ontario government should put additional areas of the province off-limits to wind power projects to safeguard birds, bats and their habitats’,” Barrett reported. “Instead of moving additional areas off-limits to protect birds and their habitats, government has re-moved a key part of their habitat itself.”
In Part 2 of his 2011/2012 Annual Report, Losing Our Touch, Gord Miller goes on to note significant shortcomings in the guidelines that continue to put birds and bats at risk:
“•Development in Important Bird Areas not prohibited: Important Bird Areas are designated, using internationally accepted standards, as key areas supporting specific groups of birds. There are no special rules to prevent wind power development in Ontario’s 70 Important Bird Areas.
•No consideration of cumulative effects: Wind power project sites are evaluated and approved on an individual basis, with no regard for the potential cumulative effects on birds or bats from other nearby wind power facilities or other potential sources of bird and bat mortality”
“I continue to wonder just who government was listening to when this regrettable nest-removal decision was made?” questioned Barrett. “It certainly was not the Environment Commissioner, nor the people of Halidmand – I suggest if we follow the money we may get our answers.”
Barrett says he continues to seek answers as to who was ultimately responsible for the decision that saw the 100 year-old cottonwood tree removed less than 24 hours after the directive was posted online.
For more information, please contact MPP Toby Barrett at: (416) 325-8404, (519) 428-0446 or 1-800-903-8629