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APPEC ‘cautiously elated’ tribunal decision finds turbines will harm bats and turtles

An appeal of wpd’s White Pines Industrial wind turbine project has been upheld in part and supporters are “cautiously elated”.

Orville Walsh, president of the Alliance to Protect Prince Edward County, (APPEC), said in an email to supporters, that in the decision, issued late Friday afternoon, the tribunal found the project will cause serious and irreversible harm to Little Brown Bats and to Blanding’s turtles.

The Environmental Review Tribual hearing for wpd’s 27-turbine wind project in Athol and South Marysburgh opened Nov. 2. APPEC had to prove, for the first time in REA history, that the turbine development “will cause harm, not may, or could”.
Approval for the project was granted in July. Local businessman John Hircsh, and APPEC, contested the approval on the sole grounds allowed – causing “serious harm to human health or the natural environment”. A review of the hearings here:

The tribunal concluded in December and returned in January for oral submissions. It had expected to issue a decision Feb. 19.

“The Tribunal did not find serious and irreversible harm to human health, to hydrology or to migratory birds,” he said. “However in regards to the latter the Tribunal did note that this wind project presents a significant risk of serious harm to migrating birds and that the project site was poorly chosen from a migratory bird perspective.”

Walsh said the Tribunal acknowledges that engaging in this wind project in accordance with the REA (Renewable Energy Approval) will cause serious and irreversible harm to animal life.

“Therefore wpd no longer has an REA to stand behind,” he said. “The ERT has ordered a hearing of submissions with respect to potential remedies.”

Walsh said the board will be studying the decision over the weekend and following consultation with legal counsel Eric Gillespie, will have more information on the decision next week.

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  1. Lynda says:

    Hopefully PECFN is successful in their request to stay construction.

    Unexploded ordenance? Wow…that could stop construction in a hearbeat. I can see the County Live headlines now…whitepine workers run for their lives as payloader is blown to smithereens…turtles couldn’t stop laughing.

    If this project does go ahead, there will be another explosion when the taxpayers of PEC realize they are going to have to foot the bill for ‘protection’ of these turbines. We’ll all be paying one way or the other. The people of Wolfe Island were in shock when they received the bill from the OPP.

  2. Chris Keen says:

    And then there’s the issue of the health effects of IWTs.

  3. Chris Keen says:

    Just watching the first minute of this video will give you an idea of the environmental destruction these things cause, never mind the potential to disrupt/pollute ground water. I hope the landowners involved know what’s coming and understand that there is no way to mitigate the damage IWTs will do to their properties.

  4. Gary Mooney says:

    Wpd’s plan to start site prep (brush clearing) is equivalent to contempt of court, given the ERT’s decision that suspends and may kill their project. APPEC has applied for a stay to prevent this work from proceeding.

    Gilead tried the same stunt after approval of Ostrander Point, sending in bush hogs to clear vegetation in order to look for unexploded ordnance. PECFN applied for a stay and was successful, but not before Gilead had torn up part of the site.

  5. Lynda says:

    Blame the people who sold or rented their land to Big Wind. Without them, none of this would be happening.

    My concern is the safety of the streams and eventually of the lake itself. The construction of turbines requires a lot of rare earth. The biggest supplier of rare earth is China and in the production of it, her people are getting sick, dying of radiation poisoning, and the land around the production sites is dying as well. You can see their toxic lake of effluent from outer space! Don’t believe it? Look here:

    These same toxic elements could be leaching into our water systems as more turbines are built. Wynne doesn’t care for the safety of any people if she allows these things to progress. It is a crime against humanity as well as nature.

    To the person who sees this calamity as lost jobs. Would you want someone in your family working with this stuff? Read the report…better yet, look at the photos in the link above, do a little research yourself before spouting off….the land around the rare earth facility is dead…it supports no life whatsoever, but wait…it does support jobs!

    The future looks very grim. It’s not just turtles and bats that are dying because of these turbines. Think twice before you go swimming downwater of these ‘clean’ energy monstrosities. I think Wynne forgot her people will soon be drinking this stuff.

  6. Borys says:

    Catch 22. The appellants prove their case at an ERT hearing, but find out construction is going ahead. The construction company takes over authority from the ERT, thereby mocking the adjudicating process. The appellants find themselves questioning the sanity of the whole process as they continue to protect nature from unnecessary harm.

  7. Gary says:

    This could be interpreted that White Pines are confident or have been assured that they will have full approval.

  8. Susan says:

    Sorry Chris, I missed your post. Thanks for the information.

  9. Susan says:

    Just heard on the news that White Pines plans to go ahead right away to clear the land for development. Their spokesperson said the ERT decision was for operations not construction. These people have no respect whatsoever.

  10. Chris Keen says:

    Sadly wpd has announced its intention to begin clearing vegetation from its proposed IWT sites beginning in a week. If this is allowed, Blandings turtles will just be emerging from their winter hibernation. This shows a complete lack of respect for the appeals process and for the County and its residents.

    wpd and the landowners concerned should be ashamed of themselves!

  11. Susan says:

    The Ostrander Point decision must not be far off. Go Turtle!

  12. Sandar says:

    Judy thanks yes “white nose” (my sp.)

  13. Chris Keen says:

    @Barney Rubble. So sorry to read that you’re not welcome on the east coast after fleeing the County. In the unlikely event I ever move from here, as a “Newfie”, I won’t have that problem. 🙂

  14. judy kennedy says:

    fyi—it’s white NOSE disease–not “white noise”

  15. Susan says:

    I hope our Toronto folks that have built and invested here take your ill framed comment with a grain of salt.

  16. barney rubble says:

    Greatly appreciate your opinion mr. keen, however we sold our properties after many years in the county to Penn Real Estate Group. Guess they see a future here, we don’t. Take the money and run to the east coast where Toronto refugees are not welcomed.

  17. Chris Keen says:

    @ Barney Rubble – at the very least wpd will be paying their costs and may very well be forced to pay APPEC’s also.

    If the appeals by Gilead and wpd fail, you should be grateful to PECFN, APPEC, and their supporters, for helping to save the County’s environment and preserve the health of its citizens. And of more interest to you I am sure, you should thank them for potentially saving you $100s and perhaps $1000s on your Ontario tax bill over the next 20 years since these firms will not be paid to produce power we do not require adding to our world record deficit of $300+ billions!!

  18. Chris Keen says:

    @ Sandar – just to clarify – while some bats may indeed be struck by turbine blades, it is now known that the rotation of the blades causes a drop in air pressure that causes the bats’ lung to expand causing blood vessels to explode, killing them.

  19. Emily says:

    Sandar; It was sarcasm. I realize the only mitigation for the bats is to not build these uneeded monstrosities. The current zika virus carried by mosquitoes should be a warning of just how important our bat population is.

  20. barney rubble says:

    Who will pay the cancellation charges for WPD if the turtle team succeeds in stopping the plans. Don’t come asking PEC tax payers for more handouts to cover your follies.

  21. Sandar says:

    GaryMooney: ” “will cause harm, not may, or could”.”

    thanks for that info. I hope there’s a challenge coming up to deal with that fact > justice review?

  22. Sandar says:

    EMily: ” How do you provide remedy for the bats? ”
    “a bird and bat expert stated the only mitigation for bats was to turn the turbines off or simply not build them.”

    White noise disease for Little Brwn. Bat has killed so many, and the numbers of them left get slaughtered by turbines. This is a problem gratefully recognized in this decision. There’s hope.

    The bats gets sucked into the back of the turbine. Birds and bats get blown uncontrollably into the blades by strong winds then get maimed or die instantly. It’s a bloody mess under turbines. The predators await feeding time at dusk. Not to mention the stench of rotting carcasses which attracts them from miles around. You’d think someone would be concerned about the rise in predator population near backyards.

    Wolf Island has the highest rate for bird kills in N.America, due of course to being in the IBA.

    A good decision, however somewhat in double speak, afraid to go further. (wimps)

    When the birds are gone more biting insects will infest. Biodiversity is big-time out of whack.

    Congrats to Eric Gillespie & team, the best. Guess we all will await the appeal process once again?

  23. Gary Mooney says:

    Quoting from the article: APPEC had to prove, for the first time in REA history, that the turbine development “will cause harm, not may, or could”.

    I’m not sure what is meant by this. There has been no change in the burden of proof. APPEC had to prove serious and irreversible harm to plants, animals or the natural environment, with the standard being “on the balance of probabilities”. They did so with respect to Little Brown Bat and Blanding’s turtle.

    Earlier, PECFN proved the same in the Ostrander Point appeal with respect to Blanding’s turtle.

  24. Taffy says:

    Your correspondent Matt must be unaware that turbines in the County would have adversely affected our overall economy, tourism, heritage and both property and business values as well as the two cited endangered species and the largest avian flow in the Province. Or is he speaking for those, some from away, who willingly agreed to host turbines for money without any concern for the majority view clearly present in the County? Bravo APPEC and its lawyer Eric Gillespie say I!

  25. Dennis Fox says:

    An earlier comment expressed concerns over lost jobs if IWTs were refused. This idea that jobs are somehow more important than the environment is a faulty one. It is this same mentality that has gotten the world into the crisis it now faces – profits first! The problem with what has been proposed for The County is due to our provincial government implementing an energy policy without any public nor local government consultation. Even the best ideas, if poorly planned will fail. It still amazes me that a government expects the public to buy into their plan, even when they ignore and bully them. That is what has happened here and the people are fighting back – good for them!

  26. Argyle says:

    Marbe just once, the taxpayers and residents of PEC are not going to get screwed over by the provincial liberal governments mis-directed policies.

  27. Richard Mann says:

    Here is a “time line” showing the history of Wind Turbine Noise problems, going back as far as 1979. Each entry provides documentation:

    1979 “First complaints received from a dozen families within a 3km radius of turbine”.
    1981 “Wind turbine operation creates enormous sound pressure waves”
    1982 “Closed windows and doors do not protect occupants from LFN”
    1982 “NASA research on human impacts provided to wind industry”
    1985 “Hypothesis for infrasound-induced motion sickness”
    1987 “Wind industry told that dB(A) unsuitable to measure LFN emissions from wind turbines”

    2004 “Wind industry knows noise models inadequate” (from Vestas)

    2011 “Vestas knew that low frequency noise from larger turbines needed greater setbacks”

  28. Richard Mann says:

    Wind and Solar are not reducing C02. Ontario’s own Engineering Society is telling us this. See the report, “Ontario’s Electricity Dilemma – Achieving Low Emissions at Reasonable Electricity Rates.” Ontario Society of Professional Engineers (OSPE), April 2015.

    Page 15 of 23. “Why Will Emissions Double as We Add Wind and Solar Plants ?”

    – Wind and Solar require flexible backup generation.

    – Nuclear is too inflexible to backup renewables without expensive engineering changes to the reactors.

    – Flexible electric storage is too expensive at the moment.

    – Consequently natural gas provides the backup for wind and solar in North America.

    – When you add wind and solar you are actually forced to reduce nuclear genera,on to make room for more natural gas generation to provide flexible backup.

    – Ontario currently produces electricity at less than 40 grams of CO2 emissions/kWh.

    – Wind and solar with natural gas backup produces electricity at about 200 grams of CO 2 emissions/kWh. Therefore adding wind and solar to Ontario’s grid drives CO2 emissions higher. From 2016 to 2032 as Ontario phases out nuclear capacity to make room for wind and solar, CO2 emissions will double (2013 LTEP data).

    – In Ontario, with limited economic hydro and expensive storage, it is mathematically impossible to achieve low CO2 emissions at reasonable electricity prices without nuclear generation.

  29. Emily says:

    How do you provide remedy for the bats? Perhaps notify them of a no fly zone! What a ridiculous process.

  30. Matt says:

    Ridiculous. Congratulations to John Hirsch and APPEC for postponing literally hundreds of jobs (even short term) and the support that these employees would bring to local markets and lodging facilities. Good for you. I am surprised to see that so many actually believe you care about the turtles, birds or bats. Just using these animals as a means to prevent construction. Outrageous! I am curious to see however, if your homes became infested with these creatures the steps you’d take to be rid of them…anything for a “win” right??

  31. Chris Keen says:

    Sanity prevails!! Congratulations to APPEC and its supporters.

    I think it is telling that the Tribunal noted this project presents a significant risk of serious harm to migrating birds, and that the site was poorly chosen from this perspective.

    This suggests that the tribunal, showing common sense, recognized the certainty that turbines would likely kill significant numbers of birds but that the threshold of “serious and irreversible harm” was a frustrating Catch 22 for it since this could not be proved until the project was built, and it was too late to do anything about it.

  32. Emily says:

    ” the project site was poorly chosen” duh, you think! We need such a farce of a process to tell us what most have known from the get go.

  33. Dennis Fox says:

    Congratulations APPEC! It certainly has been a long battle, and still some to go, but we hope that in the end the right thing will happen resulting in IWTs being refused for the County. If anyone read the recent op-ed in CWN from the County Sustainability Group, you would have had to shake your head in disbelief – total nonsense and contrived wording. No wonder this battle has dragged on for years with such foolishness being spread – when it shouldn’t have to be at all. Way to go APPEC!

  34. Cheryl Anderson says:

    Congratulations to John Hirsch and APPEC. This may be another start to a long battle, but all their hard work has paid off and the South Shore will remain wind turbine free for the present.
    I am sure the need for more funds is crucial.

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