Birders need to know dangers of wind farms

In danger: Lark Bunting
In danger: Lark Bunting

Almost everyone loves birds and this is the season for bird watching. Recent articles in newspapers such as The Ottawa Citizen have noted sightings of beautiful bird species such as the Lark Bunting on Amherst Island, and also of the concern for the Purple Martin population.

The proliferation of wind ‘farms’ along Ontario’s shorelines—Lake Erie, Lake Huron, Lake Ontario, and Lake Superior—is of grave concern to everyone in Ontario who is a true environmentalist. Other sensitive areas such as the Luther Marsh, are also being encroached upon by wind power development, despite federal government guidelines which clearly advise against siting power projects in such areas.

An article in the London Free Press recently made note of how critical Important Bird Areas or IBAs are to conservation of the natural environment and wildlife…but there was not one word about the IBAs threatened by wind power all over Ontario. The Ministry of the Environment lawyer Sylvia Davis remarked at the appeal of the Ostrander Point decision in January that, it doesn’t matter if a few birds or animals are killed—“wind power is an important public infrastructure project” that outweighs everything.

We disagree.

We think lots of other citizens of Ontario do, too.

 

Nature Canada www.naturecanada.ca

Ontario Nature www.ontarionature.org

Bird Studies Canada www.bsc-eoc.org

 

 

 

Wind farms additional threat to declining purple martins: Nature Canada

Purple Martin being banded in Ottawa for research

Don Butler, Ottawa Citizen, July 8, 2014

Putting a “backpack” on an unwilling purple martin is just about as tricky as it sounds. Yet Nature Canada hopes doing so might shed light on the calamitous decline in the birds’ numbers in Ontario in recent years.

“The population is just plummeting,” Nature Canada spokesman Paul Jorgenson said Tuesday at the Nepean Sailing Club, where one of the largest colonies of purple martins in the region nests in two highrise “bird condos.”

Since 2005, the number of purple martins in Ontario has dropped from about 25,000 to an estimated 15,000 today. Similar declines have been recorded across Eastern Canada and the American northeast.

Purple martins — which nest only in man-made houses throughout much of North America — are the largest of nine swallow species that breed in Canada and the United States.

“We have no idea whether the problem lies here, in their wintering grounds (in Brazil) or somewhere in between in transit,” says Jorgenson. “This is really one of these big mysteries that we’re trying to solve.”

To that end, Nature Canada, in partnership with York University and the University of Manitoba, has launched an initiative to track 65 purple martins from Ottawa and the Kingston area. …

Some of their roosting spots are along eastern Lake Ontario, including Wolfe Island, home to a large array of industrial wind turbines.

According to some studies, those turbines kill 50 to 100 purple martins annually, Cheskey said. “That’s a pretty high proportion.”

With more wind farms proposed on nearby Amherst Island and Prince Edward County, which are also on the migration flyway, the threat could increase.

Winds farms, says Cheskey, “just can’t go everywhere. There should be certain no-go zones.” If turbines start killing birds and damaging biodiversity, “to me it’s no longer green energy,” he says.

Read the full story and take the opportunity to comment here.

Port Ryerse resident to Environment Minister Murray: please stop wind farms

Somehow this got missed in the report
Somehow this got missed in the report

Dear Mr. Murray, new Minister of the Environment,

I would like to congratulate you in your re-election and as the new Minister of the Environment. I was impressed to see your experience as Minister of Transportation and as a former mayor. At the same time I understand what challenges you will be facing in this new position dealing with the incompetence you are inheriting within that department, handed down through the entire inappropriate process created in the Green Energy Act.

This Act took away municipal powers and sidelined 21 other Acts of protection for the environment, human and wildlife habitat for the sake of wind energy development as first priority. This is also why the Liberals are facing a rebellion in rural Ontario by residents who have been ignored and bullied with no consideration as citizens in this province. I would like to suggest that you now have the opportunity to start the change of perception of your political party by doing the right thing.

First of all, you need to give back municipal powers.

Secondly, you need to cancel projects such as the Port Ryerse Windfarm that are suspect to violating any of the environmental or heritage protections within the Green Energy Act or perceived to have possible health problems for people in the area.

Thirdly, you need to change the setbacks to a minimal 2 km. from any residence.

This will be a start. I would also suggest that you back away from wind energy altogether because of the associated problems. I live in Port Ryerse, Norfolk County where we have had wind turbines since 2003 in the west part of the County. We saw the problems of IWT’s as the early experiments with wind energy were being made. We know firsthand about their inefficiency as an energy source, the way many people got sick and had to leave their homes or couldn’t sell them and sometimes sold at a huge loss as well as the inappropriate setbacks for these monstrosities. We now have another project on the eastern part of the County with 13 turbines right around a new development for retirement living, with a golf course to come and a beautiful spa and restaurant. Very sad for the people who bought there or those already living there when it comes time to sell their homes as they have already lost 25-40% of their value which is now common anywhere these things have been built. From the pier in Port Ryerse looking over the water landscape one can actually count 36 of these ugly blights on the landscape over Port Dover including the ones in Haldimand County.

Now we are in the process where you get to approve or cancel a project smack dab in the middle of the County’s lakefront to destroy entirely the landscape of Norfolk County right within the inner Bay of Long Point across from a World Heritage Biosphere Reserve and a cultural heritage landscape which was delineated in a report done for our County back in 2006 called the Untermann-McPhail report or now renamed the Lakeshore report.

Again this information has been sidelined because of the Green Energy Act and taking away municipal powers. In Norfolk County, as with many other areas of rural Ontario, we have many rivers and old dams in need of repair. We also have a local company called Green Bug out of Delhi, Norfolk County putting in hydroelectrical facilities with the Archimedes Screw around the world. They presently have a F.I.T. contract and are awaiting approval from the M.O.E. Our Council and our Heritage Committee I sit on have approved this project we deem to be safe, viable and not interfering in wildlife or human habitat. This is the kind of project we favour for our municipality and we have many other dams in need of repair this could be adapted to.

We do not want to be bullied into any more wind energy which will destroy our lakeshore landscapes and tourism as well as kill our eagles and songbirds and harm our residents and their property values. We also have 3 solar farms which already provide plenty of energy on the grid and have not posed the scale of problems like wind. The municipalities need their powers back to site appropriate electrical facilities according to their own resources and long-term plans.

Attached are some of the reports sent in to the environmental assessment group Stantec and to the M.O.E. to provide information that was not found in any reports of the wind company, UDI Renewables or Boralex. The application was flawed from the beginning when UDI made his application for the F.I.T. contract stating that this project was ”purely surrounded by agricultural land with no significant waterways, heritage or wildlife”. How can anyone miss Lake Erie? At the first public meeting with the company I asked, “What about that eroding cliff?” The answer I got from Uwe Sandner of UDI was, “What cliff?” Our cliff has been dangerously eroding over the last 100 years and especially in the 70’s and 80’s with the high waters of Lake Erie. It is a bluff of 50 feet deep which is seen from Port Dover’s pier by many tourists and locals as an iconic landscape which gave the town its name based on the “White cliffs of Dover”.

I would really like to see an end to the battle between the GTA Liberals and the rest of the province. It is time to end the war against rural Ontario. You have this opportunity. Will you side with the people or the bully money-hungry wind companies with more tribunals and lawsuits? It is time to give back municipal powers, respect those that have declared themselves “Not a Willing Host”, and save Historic Port Ryerse and rural Ontario from more devastation and energy poverty.

We will await the decision from the M.O.E. with the hope that finally there will be a change within the newly elected provincial government to start listening to and respecting its citizens and that this project and others will be CANCELLED utilizing your powers to do the right thing.

Sincerely, Shana Greatrix

Port Ryerse

Golden Eagles almost certain to perish in Ontario wind farm

Golden Eagle

Government’s timing of document release suspicious; community to report to the Ombudsman of Ontario

July 7, 2014

A Prince Edward County citizens’ group, the County Coalition for Safe Appropriate Green Energy (a Not For Profit organization) or CCSAGE, has documented the failure of a wind power developer and the Ontario government to disclose the truth about the impact of a proposed wind power project on migrating Golden Eagles. The Golden Eagle has been designated a “species at risk” in Ontario.

According to the CCSAGE document, prepared by Anne Dumbrille, although only six nesting pairs have been identified in Eastern Ontario, the fact is the majority of Golden Eagles migrating throughout Eastern North America, pass through the narrow area in Prince Edward County.

But: ” wpd [the power developer] surveys reported an average of four Golden Eagles a day on each of the three days they surveyed,” says Dumbrille, “and most were flying at the wind turbine blade height. We know from information in the Species At Risk report and from the Ministry of Natural Resources website, that most, if not all, the Eastern North American population of Golden Eagles will pass through the turbine zone, if they are permitted on the south shore of Prince Edward County.

“It will be a killing zone,” Dumbrille adds.

CCSAGE contends these facts were not made available to the public during the comment period on the project and that, despite a requirement to respond to Freedom of Information requests within 30 days, CCSAGE did not receive the information it requested on the developer’s Species At Risk report until the first business day after the comment period had closed.

“Environment Canada has a guidance document (Wind Turbines and Birds) that lists 11 criteria for a site where turbines should not be sited,” says Dumbrille.  “All those criteria are met in the south shore of Prince Edward County.”

CCSAGE says its findings call into question the so-called technical review conducted by both the ministries of Natural Resources and the Environment.

Wind Concerns Ontario will be submitting the CCSAGE report with the Office of the Ombudsman of Ontario today, as part of an ongoing complaint process related to fairness and transparency of the wind power project approval system in the province.

Email us at windconcerns@gmail.com

Contact CCSAGE at http://ccsage.wordpress.com/naturally-green/

Read the CCSAGE report here: Golden Eagles Funnel Through Turbine Zone in Prince Edward County

 

Farm owners expose serious conflict in ON gov’t wind turbine guidelines

Prince Edward County farm owners Doug and Janet Murphy, have written a letter to the Ontario Ministry of the Environment, asking a question that exposes a serious conflict between the Environment and Agriculture ministries, regarding the placement of wind turbines.

According to documentation from Agriculture, farm owners are advised NOT to erect wind turbines near routes for migratory birds. And yet, say the Murphys, the Ministry of the Environment is not only allowing the siting of the White Pines project in Prince Edward County, it is encouraging it.

The Murphys are demanding an explanation and further, that plans to approve the project by wpd Canada be halted.

View the letter from the Murphys murphyletter scan here.