They Stoop to Intimidate

Wind power developer uses threat to influence environmental agency Ottawa Wind Concerns

“Power developer announcement it is about to clear land which is habitat for an endangered species is an attempt to force the Environmental Review Tribunal to issue a decision on the Prince Edward County wind power project, and proposed “remedies” for species at risk”

“The Environmental Review Tribunal determined the Blandings Turtle was endangered by the wind farm; the company is proceeding with construction in the absence of a final decision.”

Turbines are industrial sites, not idyllic farms for tourists

The title of this post is borrowed from a letter to the editor of the Sun Times (Bruce Peninsula) written in May 2012 by Lorrie Gillis, Grey Highlands.

IWT’s (aka Industrial Wynne Turbines) are industrial sites, and not “re-purposed” agricultural land. The Wynne government first tried to make this possible by amending legislation that protected (past tense) natural resources and endangered species by way of an Omnibus Bill in 2012. The public outcry and Opposition objections frightened MPP’s enough to have the amendments withdrawn. But, not to be deterred, the Wynne turbine government went around this roadblock by amending the Regulations to the legislation. Read about it here [re-blogged from WAIT]. in a letter to the Sarnia Observer:

Letters to the Editor, the Sarnia Observer, Feb 9, 2016
Perhaps you missed it over the holidays, a TV ad showing wild but photogenic animals clapping in appreciation for the “protection” received by the provincial government. But what exactly has the government done for Ontario’s threatened or endangered species?
The government attempted to include amendments to Ontario’s Endangered Species Act in the 2012 omnibus budget bill, Bill 55, which would have avoided the public comment and scrutiny otherwise required by Ontario’s Environmental Bill of Rights.
The 2012 budget passed, but due to public pressure and MPPs’ objections, the amendments were withdrawn. Yet the government subsequently made the changes through regulatory amendments. This did require a mandatory public comment period, and despite over 10,000 mostly negative comments posted on the Environmental Registry, the amendments were enacted.
They exempt almost all industrial projects from the core protections of the Endangered Species Act. None of Ontario’s more than 150 endangered or threatened species now have the full protection they originally had under the Act. Not one.
Once considered the benchmark for the protection it offered, the act has been eviscerated. An example can be seen in the saga of the Ostrander Point wind energy project in Prince Edward County.

The author of the letter, Santo Giorno, illustrates his point by quoting the offending party: “Gilead Power Corporation has applied for a permit under clause 17(2)(c) of the Endangered Species Act, 2007 (ESA) to kill, harm and harass Blanding’s Turtle and Whip-poor-will as well as damage and destroy the habitat of Whip-poor-will for the purpose of the development and operation of Ostrander Point Wind Energy Park in the Township of South Marysburgh.”

The issue has been through four judicial hearings, final arguments were heard in January, a decision will emerge sometime this February.

The Industrial Wynne Turbines deserve their name: the Wynne government has legalized the industrialization of protected lands to allow the slaughter of protected species , surely a Wynne-lose deal for all creatures great and small.

Who Pays To Tear It Down?

When an Industrial Wynne Turbine has to be taken down, for whatever reason, who pays for the teardown?[OntarioWindResistance]. Read original article in Farmers Forum: Who ponies up for Wind Turbine Teardown?.

Technically, and politically, it’s called “decommissioning”. The problem is not limited to the present but extends out 20 years, to the so-called lifespan of turbines; “decommissioning’ then becomes a problem, who does it and who pays for it?

“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. [FF]

Who’s left in this case? Landowners, municipalities, taxpayers. Wynne Turbines can weigh as much as 70 tonnes; a farmer and his tractor can’t take them down anymore than can the local municipality. World-wide costs for doing the job range from $30,000 to $80,000 per turbine. Developers need to present plans for turbine teardowns when they make their project proposals.

There is already a good model in place, says Gillespie. Under the Environmental Protection Act, the government will ask for financial assurance if there is a risk of adverse effects that could require remedial work. A letter of credit or security is required up front.
“Anything other than that might keep lawyers busy for a long time but won’t help communities. It’s about addressing the issue now rather than waiting for the end and crossing your fingers. It should be the companies that are earning the profits that have to pay the bill.”
[FF, emphasis added]

The costs of decommissioning would be an unbearable burden were they to be foisted on the municipalities. For the smallest ones, like Wainfleet, it would be a fatal burden. Any sensible opinion would state that the Province should have a decommissioning plan in place for Wynne Turbines, so that unwilling host communities will not be doubly burdened or taxed for these namesake Turbines.

Court Will Hear Ostrander Point Appeal

Wind Farm Appeal (OWR)

by windaction

CBC Article  A group fighting a controversial wind farm development south of Picton, Ont., says its final appeal will be heard in December. The Prince Edward County Field Naturalists says it has been told that the Court of Appeal for Ontario will hear the case in Toronto on Dec. 8 and 9. The group will explain… [click links for full story]

SKYDIVE BURNABY will Appeal

I’ve been away, enjoying the wind without turbines, so this GOOD news arrived before my return.

The Welland Tribune reports [Greg Furminger] that the Appellants, Tara&Mike Pitt, will appeal the ERT decision against them concerning the building of two turbine that will intersect their flight path [OWR also reports] in Wainfleet.  Construction has been halted by Court order until the Appeal is heard and a decision handed down.  The construction site is approx. 1.5 km from Skydive Burnaby.

The Appeal to the ERT was filed last October over concerns that the IWT’s will pose a serious hazard for skydivers.  The Appeal failed (decision handed down in May).  A new Appeal will be heard in August, 18th & 19th, but this time by the Ontario Divisional Court (which is to say, not by the rubber-stamp government agency).

No Fit After FIT?

Plans to build wind farms in England and Scotland are being scrapped in the first sign that the Government’s proposed cut to subsidies is taking effect

That’s the headline in the UK Telegraph newspaper (Ref. from NA-PAW):

Developers are abandoning plans for new wind farms in Britain because they are “no longer financially viable”.
The decision to scrap the wind farms is the first evidence that the spread of turbines across the country is being halted. It follows a radical overhaul by the Government of the consumer subsidy, worth more than £1 billion a year to wind farm owners.

Will Ontario get the message?  The PC Opposition in the province has promised to ditch the Feed-in Tariff programme “that allows homeowners, business owners and private developers to generate renewable energy and sell it to the province at a guaranteed price for a fixed contract term”.  The unpublished addendum to that gov’t blurb is, and pays them NOT to generate power. BUT, let’s hope the promise of no fit for FIT will not mean the same in Ontario as it does in UK:

Wind farms facing the axe are likely to be ones completed after 2017 when owners will be forced to bid for subsidy from a limited pot of money. The successful bids will win subsidies at reduced rates.

Let’s hope Tim is not so dim as to fall for this work-around.

Will They Cause Harm?

That’s the issue for the Tribunal hearing the appeal on the two turbines in limbo in Wainfleet.  Whether or not they can be built depends on the Tribunal’s assessment of likely harm.

Not building them, says counsel representing the developer, would be tantamount to expropriation of property, as reported by Greg Furminger in the Welland Tribune. The same lawyer also said, any risk to skydivers would be “abnormal,” basing his statement on appellant testimony that at times referred to turbines being a navigation risk subsequent to a parachute failure.

The Test is, on the balance of probabilities, what is the likelihood of an accident? There is also a test used by the ERT: the mandate to push through applications for turbine development.

The Appellant’s lawyer, Eric Gillespie, outlined the risks to skydivers and stated that to rule against the Appeal would be to take “a gamble” on doing harm. “Rarely killing somebody … doesn’t come close to being acceptable for a project like this,” Gillespie said.

The time of the ruling on the Appeal is still up in the air.

Cost of Curling Soars

Curling in Welland Costs a lot in terms of hydro (read article in Welland Tribune).

Local NDPee MPPee Cindy Forster does her usual song and dance while her party continues to prop up the Wynne-lose government:
Forster blamed the Liberal government for allowing facilities like the curling club to be put at risk.
“Under this government’s watch, electricity prices have doubled in this province. While power gets sold across the border to New York State at a fraction of what Ontarians pay, the Welland Curling Club in my riding is in danger of closing because of sky high hydro bills,” Forster said Tuesday. “Community clubs like the Welland Curling Club are at the heart of social life in our communities.” 
BUT, not at the heart of the NDPee.

The NDPee: All piss and no vinegar.

Airports Airstrips & Turbines

(OWR)

Trevor Thompson  (click to read)Blackburn News
Despite months of inaction regarding eight turbines near the Chatham-Kent Municipal Airport, Chatham-Kent-Essex M-P-P Rick Nicholls says he’s confident a resolution is coming.

Nicholls admits there’s one scenario he’s worried about. “What I do not want to see is the municipal government say ‘well we have a certified airport, we’ll just decertify it, and therefore airport zoning regulations are no longer in effect,’” says Nicholls. “That’s like saying today I rob a bank and that’s against the law so I get thrown in jail. Next week the laws change and it’s okay so I guess I’m free now.”

What are the implications for other airport/airstrips currently battling Turbines?

More Protest Info

Feb. 24 Protest at QP: Transportation info GREY COUNTY (submitted by LPCGillis):

On FEB 24 will let ALL politicians at Queens Park know that WE ARE NOT GOING AWAY and that existing and proposed industrial wind turbines have to be dealt with and will AGAIN be a major election issue.

Mothers Against Turbines is putting the challenge out there to show MPPS and Toronto that the years of abuse of provincial power has to stop!

Let’s rise to the occasion and send a very clear message to MPPS that industrial wind turbines cannot continue to desecrate our health, homes and communities.

Bring your signs!  Bring your noisemakers!  Bring your megaphones!

Plans are for a few speakers and a march to the Royal York/Fairmount Hotel to OGRA – Ontario Good Roads Association, handing out information along our way.  March will be for 30 – 40 minutes in length. Municipal and provincial elected reps will be at OGRA to see that this issue is not going away simply because the current govt. chooses to ignore it!

For that day, I am arranging for a coach bus to leave Chatsworth at approx. 8:00am with stops in Markdale, Flesherton, Dundalk, Shelburne and Orangeville.  We will leave Toronto at 3:00pm. Cost of $35.00 per person covers bus and simple lunch, lunch to be supplied for the ride home.

Pick up:

Chatsworth Arena: 8:00

Markdale, across from Foodland: 8:25

Flesherton, across from Munshaw’s: 8:35

Dundalk, Esso Station: 8:50

Shelburne, No Frills Parking Lot: 9:10

Orangeville, in FRONT of Walmart: 9:40

Let’s fill this and any other bus anyone takes the care and time to arrange to help you get to this event!!

All actions count and the timing for this one will get a message to all running in the upcoming election. Let’s wake ’em up on Feb. 24th!