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.

A letter arrives saying they received my request. A second letter arrives saying they need to run it by a “third party”. Ugh, why does everything have to be run by NextEra first in Ontario? This sure is the run around for a document that should be public posted already!FOI Aprill 11 2016 third party

bird-kill2-sm
Ever wonder why the media is so silent on bird and bat mortality for these current wind projects that are operating? It’s because this is a real bugger of a process to go through to hopefully get the data! Back in the day when the Wolfe Island data was released – the media wrote about it – it was big news and people were calling for action and change. Turns out the only change that happened was that bird and bat death reports were no longer released for the public to see (a quick fix!) – it wasn’t mandatory and all the wind companies took note of that gift from the Ontario government.

And what about Bird Studies Canada – they have a database that the wind companies ‘voluntarily’ submit their kills to. It’s well sealed off from the public as well. For corporations and government only. It’s sponsored by Canadian Wind Energy Association, Canadian Wildlife Service (Environment Canada), and the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources. I count two government agencies in there and a wind lobbyist  – that’s nice, our tax dollars pay for a publicly inaccessible database that seemingly does nothing to protect the species that are hitting the blades.

What can you do to help? How about this:

MNRF FOII’ve asked for the full reports for the NextEra Summerhaven, Adelaide and Bornish Wind projects. Perhaps you would be so kind as to file FOIs for other projects too. In the comment section here tell us which ones you are going to file for so we don’t duplicate each other. Ask to have it electronically and hopefully then the costs won’t be outrageous – we are doing a public service that the wind companies and government should already be doing.

Then send it all on to OWR: (windactiongroup@gmail.com) and I’ll post them so the data is finally public. We’ll be helping the researchers and reporters – info at their finger tips, not hidden in some government box under lock and key, which is right where the wind companies want it.

Because as companies like NextEra know: without the facts, there isn’t a story. Let’s not let them control who can see the facts.

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

  1. Esther, you’re amazing! Ontarians are drowning in the spittle of their own platitudes about The Environment. The government builds big glass-fronted office buildings to house agencies sworn to protect The Environment. Within the offices in the big glass-fronted buildings the bureaucrats hop in the sack with corporate despoilers and commit “environmental fornication.”

    And no one pays attention and nothing happens to stop this obscenity.

    Then you show up. And something happens.

    • Many years ago, my uncle, a farmer, had a cat with kittens. One of the hens took the kittens and put them under her wings. Time for the kittens to nurse and then kittens went back to the mother cat. So hen and cat raised the kittens. And I saw this myself.

  2. Good for you Esther ! And good for the groups that ask for the FOI’s on their bird and bat killing wind projects.

    I still have a copy of a signed letter from David Suzuki where he gives advice to a woman who brings up the subject of bird and bat mortality around wind turbines. He tells her how important it is “to get it right!” re the placement of wind turbines. He tells her to, quote ” Raise bloody hell ” !!!

    Then he protected his pay cheque and shut up about it !

    Of course this went nowhere and years later the sentiment is that climate change will kill more birds and bats! Guess they forgot that birds and bats migrate to more suitable locations if they are not killed by wind turbines first.

    Also I keep watching my rural cat in case she comes in the house toting a big eagle, hawk, swan or falcon because we were told by urban bureaucrats that cats are killing more of our birds than wind turbines! I suppose they have never had their cat killed by a red tailed hawk. We lost poor “smudge” that way!

    Keep on keeping on dear Esther and you too Calvin. It’s not over until the fat lady sings. Well folks, the fat lady is singing in Germany, Denmark and the UK …Surely to God you would think that Ontario…. well Ontario…um … ah …

    Melodie .

  3. This guff about cats is for urban consumption. City folks know nothing about cats in rural environments.

    A great deal of what’s presented by environmentalists is for urban consumption and is not intended for rural audiences.

    Bird records from Harrow would concern hawks as Harrow is in the migratory path for hawks. And maybe eagles as they also follow the shoreline migration routes.

  4. I will try to get started on some FOIs on the weekend. We’ll see what happens.

    Any advice – do they require the exact corporate name of the wind company?

  5. A Fairy Tale……… Ambassador Leo Emil Wanta
    Mr. Vice President, Joe R Biden, Jr., et al

    Good Afternoon,

    A very true “American Fairy Tale” Update ?

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Once upon a time the government had a vast scrap yard in the middle of a desert.

    Congress said, “Someone may steal from it at night.”

    So they created a night watchman position and hired a person for the job.

    Then Congress said, “How does the watchman do his job without instruction?”

    So they created a planning department and hired two people, one person to write the instructions, and one person to do time studies.

    Then Congress said, “How will we know the night watchman is doing the tasks correctly?”

    So they created a Quality Control department and hired two people. One was to do the studies and one was to write the reports.

    Then Congress said, “How are these people going to get paid?”

    So they created two positions: a time keeper and a payroll officer then hired two people.

    Then Congress said, “Who will be accountable for all of these people?”

    So they created an administrative section and hired three people, an Administrative Officer, Assistant Administrative Officer, and a Legal Secretary.

    Then Congress said, “We have had this command in operation for one year and we are $918,000 over budget, we must cut back.”

    So they laid-off the night watchman.

    NOW slowly, let it sink in.

    Quietly, we go like sheep to slaughter. Does anybody remember the reason given for the establishment of the U.S. DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY during the Carter administration?

    Anybody?

    Anything?

    No?

    Didn’t think so!

    Bottom line is, we’ve spent several hundred billion dollars in support of an
    agency, the reason for which very few people who read this can
    remember!

    Ready??

    It was very simple… and at the time, everybody thought it very
    appropriate.

    The Department of Energy was instituted on 8/04/1977, TO LESSEN OUR DEPENDENCE ON FOREIGN OIL.

    Hey, pretty efficient, huh?

    AND NOW IT’S 2016 — 39 YEARS LATER — AND THE BUDGET FOR THIS “NECESSARY”
    DEPARTMENT IS AT $24.2 BILLION A YEAR. IT HAS 16,000 FEDERAL EMPLOYEES AND APPROXIMATELY 100,000 CONTRACT EMPLOYEES; AND LOOK AT THE JOB IT HAS DONE!

    (THIS IS WHERE YOU SLAP YOUR FOREHEAD AND SAY, “WHAT WERE THEY
    THINKING?”)

    39 years ago 30% of our oil consumption was foreign imports. Today 70% of our oil consumption is foreign imports.

    Ah, yes — good old Federal Bureaucracy.

    NOW, WE HAVE TURNED OVER THE BANKING SYSTEM, HEALTH CARE, AND THE AUTO INDUSTRY TO THE SAME GOVERNMENT?

    Hello!!

    Anybody Home?

    Signed … The Night Watchman ….

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