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Turtles vs Turbines ERT – more time may be needed

ERT-first-day-sept-2-2015The first day of a three-day Environmental Review Tribunal to consider plans to mitigate destruction of habitat and loss of Blandings turtles heard more time will likely be necessary.

The Prince Edward County Field Naturalists (PECFN) is again facing industrial wind turbine developer Gilead Power Corporation continuing its case for nine industrial wind turbines at Ostrander Point, on the southern shore of Prince Edward County.

More than 100 spectators were in attendance at Wednesday morning at the Demorestville Town Hall.

The tribunal's two-person panel, lawyers Robert Wright and Heather Gibbs, confer.

The tribunal’s two-person panel, lawyers Robert Wright and Heather Gibbs, confer.

The Ontario Court of Appeal in April reversed a lower court ruling and reinstated the finding of the 2013 Environmental Review Tribunal that “serious and irreversible harm” to threatened Blandings Turtles will occur if the project operates as approved. The court determined a return to the Environmental Review Tribunal to allow Gilead the opportunity to bring “new evidence” about gates on the access roads.

The 2013 ERT was held over 40 days, had 185 exhibits and testimony of 31 expert witnesses.

“It is the position of the Prince Edward County Field Naturalists is that the tribunal makes the same findings as it did at the last hearing and that the permit be revoked,” said Eric Gillespie, lawyer for the PECFN said in opening remarks to the tribunal’s two-person panel, lawyers Robert Wright and Heather Gibbs, who presided over the 2013 ERT.

Doug Hamilton, counsel for Gilead, said improvements to monitoring, a plan addressing the issues, poaching and predators should allow the project to move forward.

Gillespie noted communication between the lawyers indicated there would not be enough time for the expert witnesses scheduled to be completed thoroughly in three days allotted.

He noted there was discussion that closing submissions could be completed in writing but added that public interest in the County is high and since the White Pines Project has been approved and appealed and now moving toward ERT this month, “this decision could impact on that and I’m acting for APPEC (Alliance to Protect Prince Edward County) in that matter so we see overlap.”

Gillespie expected Wednesday’s testimony from Dr. Frederic Beaudry, of Alfred University, New York, to last the whole day. Thursday’s witness, Kori Gunson, who is an expert on road ecology, was expected to take most of Thursday.

Ministry of Environment and Climate Change lawyer Sylvia Davis and co-council Sarah Kromkamp noted she was calling on testimony from ministry of natural resources and forestry employees Joe Crowley and Karen Bellamy. Gilead’s counsel is calling on biologist expert Shawn Taylor, and Gilead company president Mike Lord.

A decision on extending the hearing will be considered. Start time has been moved to 9 a.m.

Dr. Beaudry, considered one of the top experts in the world on the Blandings turtles, said he was pleased with movement forward by Gilead Power in its efforts but said there was little indication, or evidence, proposals would mitigate destruction of habitat, or save the turtles.

The plan to stop construction when the turtles are most active – May 1 to Oct. 15 – Beaudry noted would reduce negative effects but doesn’t allow for climate change affecting the shoulder seasons of both dates when the turtles may still be active.

“Plans to create artificial nesting sites as a mitigation method are not proven and are unlikely to work,” he said, explaining with examples and how they work with the turtles’ habits.

“Many times the female turtles will cross areas suitable for nesting and will go past multiple opportunities in favour of kilometres away,” he said. “So providing nests closer would be appropriate if it worked, but I see no, or have been shown no evidence it has worked in the past.”

Evidence that is to be shared by the ministry experts, he said, involves a different kind of turtle in a different habitat.

“There is a very different biology between the turtles. They look the same but the species is very different,” said Beaudry.

He noted installation of gates is the only measure that will directly reduce mortality by decreasing the volume of traffic, as “those who do drive for work and with training will adjust to a certain extend but I doubt that care will last for long” and gates won’t stop four-wheeler traffic.

Beaudry said that despite work to improve and enhance a site, “the fact is it may look like a Blandings turtle habitat, but that doesn’t mean it is a Blandings turtle habitat. I have yet to see any evidence that anyone, anywhere, has restored a Blandings turtle habitat… I have seen projects that look like nice, but we can’t interview the turtles. I can’t call it good because it looks good. It’s a shortcut we should not take.”

Day two and three: http://www.countylive.ca/?p=55256

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  1. Jim Wiegand - Wildlife Biologist says:

    Sept. 09–SunEdison Inc., owner of two wind farms on Maui, wants the government to increase the number of endangered Hawaiian hoary bats its turbines are allowed to kill.
    SunEdison said it has confirmed three bat fatalities at the second of its two wind farms since it began operations in 2012. It is allowed to kill 14 bats over the 20-year life span of the second wind farm, which has 14 turbines. The company wants to be permitted to kill 80 bats.

    In Maui tiny search areas, allowing wind personnel to pick up bodies, and ridiculous or fake weekly surveys have allowed most of the endangered species killed by these turbines to be hidden. Get ready because this is the same fraudulent cover-up game that will be played on Amherst Island.

  2. Jim Wiegand - Wildlife Biologist says:

    I know exactly how this industry thinks and operates. Pin every witness down with the right questions leaving no wiggle room or back doors to run out through. Carefully chosen or scripted words give them an out and this is by design. They say certain things to bait you into thinking one way on purpose. Look really close at this statement ”would prove a risk”……… It means very little. Remember there is a “risk” of an accident every time you drive in your car or eat a piece of steak. So What? Get Mr Crowley back on the stand to clear all this up. In Hawaii there was a “risk” that that turbines would kill endangered species. So far as of 5/2015 with 200 MW, they have reported 50 killed. But the way they are conducting their rigged studies the real number could easily be 300-500.

  3. Mark says:

    Good point Jim. So how can you assist with the Ostrander Pt debacle?

  4. Jim Wiegand - Wildlife Biologist says:

    I read a summary of the day’s testimony from Mr. Crowley. Pay very close to this wording ……”would prove a risk” is not the same as “would prove harmful”. The industry uses the word “risk” with every project in located in the habitat of special status species. Then after their turbines are installed these species at risk end up getting slaughtered. A risk means that there is a chance of it being harmful.

    With eagles every wind project located in eagle habitat will kill eagles. This is in no way a risk.

  5. Gary says:

    Chris; we can only hope evidence doesn’t go missing.

  6. Jim Wiegand - Wildlife Biologist says:

    The Ministry will not come clean with unless they are “forced” to answer the right questions. But if this ministry is run anything like the Interior Department (FWS) there are gag orders in place or certain corrupt reasons/roadblocks in place so certain information can not be released. This industry and the Interior Department have the so called “Freedom of information Act” all tied up. This is why the public does not and will not know about the source of the 31,000 bald and golden eagle carcasses that have been shipped to Denver since 1997.

  7. Chris Keen says:

    This bombshell courtesy of Wind Concerns Ontario:

    Blockbuster day at ERT for the Ostrander Point Wind Energy Project. A senior scientist with the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources testified that he recommended early on that permits NOT be granted for the power project due to clear danger to Blandings Turtles and Whip-poor-wills. The hearing was halted as the appellants legal counsel Eric Gillespie demanded documentation from the MNR on this advice. The Tribunal ruled in favour. Hearings resume September 22, 23, and 24
    in Demorestville.

    Makes me wonder how many other projects in Ontario the MNR recommended NOT proceed. Amherst Island, anyone? Will the Ministry come clean?

  8. Jim Wiegand - Wildlife Biologist says:

    @Lena….. Never lose sight of the fact that you are dealing with The Ministry of Fraud and Propaganda. They approve these completely unscientific studies that are RIGGED for the industry. They use the industry’s
    rigged studies to justify them. With the right questions under oath it could all come down like a house of cards because it is all a put-on. They are aware of this and that is why they are trying to change the laws here in the US and give themselves amnesty . With these turtles mitigation will based upon a fraudulent assessment of the projects impacts. There will be a fraudulent assessment of the positive benefits as well as a fraudulent assessment of the negative impacts. If mitigation with the wind industry was fair, nearly every project in North America would have been abandoned and never built. Besides influencing The Ministry of Fraud and Propaganda here is a quick summary of the some of ways the wind industry mortality studies are being rigged………….(1) By not searching turbines daily or even several times daily which allows more time for bodies to be consumed by predators, hidden by employees, and picked up by leaseholders wanting to protect their income, (2) By having grossly undersized search areas in around wind turbines on just the graveled or clear areas, (3)By including turbines that are not operational into mortality studies,(4) By not using trained dogs in searches which could quickly find virtually every carcasses in a large area around each turbine, (5) By avoiding turbines that are known to be killing the most birds at bats at a wind farms to be included in mortality studies, (6) By avoiding searches during periods of high usage by migrating birds, (7) By not counting mortality wounded birds that have wandered away from turbines, (8) By not counting birds taken to rehab centers which are later euthanized or permanently placed in captivity, (9) By hiring industry shills to make sure that wind industry protocol is followed for the fake studies, (10) by not conducting mortality searches the first year of wind farm operation, 11) By letting farming practices (Wolfe Island etc.) plow carcasses into the ground during mortality surveys, (12)By rigging data calculations and by discarding very important carcasses from the data and declaring them “incidental carcasses”(12) by outright lying about problematic data such as fatalities to endangered species, and most importantly (13) By restricting formal search areas to the roads and cleared areas around turbines which also happen to also be the easiest areas for wind personnel to pre-scan and pick up carcasses ahead of formal searches, (14) by allowing wind farm personnel to touch, relocate and remove carcasses during so called scientific studies and (15 ) Pay very close attention to this one………………by not allowing 24 hour camera surveillance around turbines that would expose the truth regarding mortality.

    Camera surveillance on wind turbines was suggested by well meaning biologists over 25 years ago and to this day it has never happened. Besides exposing the horrific wind industry slaughter taking place these cameras would cost a small fraction of the many millions being given to shill biologists for rigging their studies. Lastly this is by no means not all the research tricks this industry is using.

  9. Lena says:

    Whenever talk of ITWs killing birds comes up, someone inevitably regurgitates the comment that cats kill more birds. The numbers may support this, but birds like robins and sparrows that are very numerous around house cats do not compare to raptors like eagles and owls. What are the chances a household cat could kill an eagle or an owl or any raptor? As far as the mortality counts that are documented, most are down within several metres of the base, perhaps as far out as the blade stretches. It should be obvious that any bird hit by the spinning blades, which can be moving close to 300 km per hour at their tops, would often be flung far away, not drop directly down to earth. Studies have shown ice thrown 80-100 metres from blades on older and smaller turbines. Another study done on damaged blades, showed a piece that was 10% of a blade, was tossed 1600 meters (1mile) from the turbine. I doubt any raptor weighs as much as a tenth of a blade, so logically it could be tossed even further. Since this distance is well outside an study area and not even extrapolated to, any current count documented is well below actual kills.

    “When you resort to attacking the messenger and not the message, you have lost the debate.”
    – Addison Whithecomb

  10. Jim Wiegand - Wildlife Biologist says:

    @Sam…….I can only advise or give advice because I am not officially part of any of this. In America I have been trying to get a support for Congressional hearing and fully discuss the wind industry’s fraudulent turbine mortality research and the thousands of eagle carcasses being shipped by FWS agents(bound by gag orders) to repositories. But unless such a hearing would allow me to speak freely and ask questions of anyone representing the wind industry the process can be easily rigged. If the right questions are not asked this fraudulent industry will never be held accountable. I heard Tribunal testimony and key wind industry witnesses speak a few months back. I was quite irritated because the lawyer was not asking the right questions. Why he wasn’t when he was well paid to do so, I can’t say. All I know is that for me it would be quite easy for me to cut through the BS spin and send everyone of these sell out experts running for cover.

  11. Susan says:

    $$$ have a way for wind supporters disputing the slaughter.

  12. Safety First says:

    “Some of us have objectivity”, I don’t mean on here (at all), but in the wonderful offline world.

  13. Safety First says:

    Jim, I’m not new to your narrative and rhetoric. I’m not new to seeing you sign your name “Wildlife Biologist” like its supposed to scare people that don’t share your viewpoints away.

    Its quite obvious that you google your own name quite a bit and are in these “debates” on sites like this all over the place, making things up just like the people you claim do the same. Guess what? Some of us have a bit of objectivity and don’t cower in fear of your supposed title.

  14. Chris Keen says:

    @Marie: I believe that OPSEU is now the major investor in this project. OPSEU also includes NDP provincial staff members(not MPs) which I suspect is possibly why Andrea Horwath has never, to my knowledge, lent her support to any Ontario anti-turbine protest. Interestingly, Gilead Power Corporation has set up a separate company, Ostrander Point LP, (they share the same address and phone number)which I assume limits Gilead’s exposure/responsibility as regards the project.

  15. Sam says:

    @ Jim Wiegand… I look forward to hearing your testimony at the upcoming ert against the wpd project.

  16. Jim Wiegand - Wildlife Biologist says:

    @ Safety First ………… I am not a fraudster fleecing taxpayers and decimating wildlife habitat. The problems you mention are a result of my knowing more about wildlife than the people rigging the studies. I also do not hide behind a fake name. As for the whooping cranes with out turbines there would be several hundred more. Without turbines the condors would be flying free in the mountains of CA instead of being prisoners to their feeding stations. Without turbines there would be 5 times as many golden eagle in CA today. Without turbines not nearly 31000 dead eagles would have been shipped to the Denver eagle Repository. Without turbines dozens of species would not be on a fast rrack to extinction.

  17. Gary says:

    Marie; just keep following the $$ trail and there lies your answer. We are mere pons!

  18. Marie says:

    Is the Ontario Teachers Pension Fund still an investor in this green scam?

  19. Susan says:

    Oh, we have a windy that doesn’t take well to the fraudulent scheme!

  20. Safety First says:

    Jim, you’ve built up quite the reputation by using sensationalist terminology like “bird genocide” and claiming that wind turbines are going to cause the extinction of Whooping Cranes.

    Do you pontificate like this against the building of skyscrapers? Against the existence of cats? Because both of those things kill more birds than wind turbines.

  21. Jim Wiegand - Wildlife Biologist says:

    Why doesn’t the Tribunal address the fraud head on by grilling these guys about standardized mortality studies designed with rigged methodology approved by the “The Ministry of Fraud and Propaganda”. If you want to back this industry in a corner and put a spotlight on their fraudulent research I should be contacted me for questions. It should be very easy to expose them as either complete idiots or corrupt participants. In an article published August 28, 2015, “Wind Turbines of Deer Island Killing Birds”, it was reported that 125 birds had been killed in 3 years by these two 600 kW wind turbines. This is a turbine kill rate of 35 birds per MW per year.

    The truth is that this reported kill rate is actually far higher because they never came close to finding all the birds hit by these turbines. Also the many seagulls scavenging around these turbines are eating the smaller birds and bird parts after they have been smashed by turbine blades. Honest studies would document this hidden slaughter.

    The American Wind Energy Association currently claims that America’s wind turbines are killing 2.6 birds per MW per year. These figures however were obtained by gathering fraudulent data from studies with methodologies rigged to not find bodies. The Ministry of Fraud and Propaganda” has approved and adopted many these same rigged search protocols for Canadian wind projects.

    A Ministry that is approving and allowing rigged research will never Play fair with the Blanding’s turtles.

  22. lou says:

    that company sure is spending alot of money (and are determined)
    if they dont build there..they probably go after another local spot (and then the fight continues)..sad

  23. Cheryl Anderson says:

    Dr. Beaudry was grilled until 6:30 pm tonight -every aspect of his presentation was parsed by Mr. Hamilton. By the time Ms Davis took over at 5:00 pm supporters were beginning to fade away, but Dr. Beaudry remained attentive and answered all the questions put to him by the two lawyers. The tribunal begins again at 9 am tomorrow.

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