Save The Oak Ridges Moraine (STORM) Coalition to be Participant at ERT
NEWS RELEASE January 24, 2014
For Immediate Release
STORM Granted Power at First Wind ERT Hearing on the Oak Ridges Moraine
Save The Oak Ridges Moraine (STORM) has been granted participant status at the Sumac Ridge Tribunal Hearing, Tribunal Case Nos. 13-140/13-141/13-142. This is the first wind turbine project to be approved under the Renewable Energy Approval on the Oak Ridges Moraine.
The opposition to this project spans people from across the Oak Ridges Moraine, local citizens, municipal governments, First Nations, Buddhists, and STORM. STORM Chairperson, Cindy Sutch will be participating in the hearing on behalf of STORM Coalition. Sutch states, “the spirit of the Oak Ridges Moraine was certainly felt by everyone at the Preliminary Hearing today.”
Since 2009, STORM has been expressing concerns with proposed large-scale energy projects being sited on the Oak Ridges Moraine to the Province. Aside from the fact the Oak Ridges Moraine contains a diversity of woodlands, wetlands, watercourses, kettle lakes, kettle bogs, and significant flora and fauna, it is one of the few remaining continuous green corridors in southern Ontario. The remnants of tallgrass prairie and oak-pine savanna in the eastern portion of this ancient landform are globally threatened ecosystems and will be impacted by wind development.
The Oak Ridges Moraine is environmentally sensitive, geological landforms that contains the headwaters of 65 rivers and streams and whose deep aquifer systems provide clean drinking water directly to 250,000 and indirectly to millions more. Due to the topography of the Oak Ridges Moraine, wind developers are attracted to this landscape to install their energy infrastructure projects.
To date, there are six wind turbine power plant installations that have received Feed-in Tariff (FIT) contracts all within the eastern portion of the moraine (east of the Region of Durham). This portion of the moraine provides both terrestrial core and corridor habitat and is a critical refuge for birds, bats, threatened and/or endangered plants and animals, and numerous species at risk. Sutch added “the trade offs in terms of environmental protection for development is unacceptable and contravenes the spirit of established Provincial Policies.”
STORM was established in 1989 to raise awareness of the sensitivity of the moraine’s ecology to impacts from urban development and other land and resource uses such as aggregate mining, forest destruction and infrastructure projects. STORM was represented on the two provincial initiatives charged with developing long term management strategies for the moraine, the second which provided advice to the government that formed the basis of the current legislation and policy framework. The core of the Oak Ridges Moraine Conservation Plan (ORMCP) is the recognition of how important the moraine is to the ecological and hydrological integrity of south central Ontario.
The Environmental Tribunal Hearing will commence on February 24, 2014 in the City of Kawartha Lakes.
Contact: Debbie Gordon
Senior Campaign Manager
Save The Oak Ridges Moraine Coalition