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Turtles topple turbines as ERT revokes project approval

Blandings-Turtle600The County’s Blandings turtles, and nature in general, are victorious in the Prince Edward County Field Naturalists’ more than six-year battle to protect the south shore of Prince Edward County.

The Environmental Review Tribunal in the Ostrander Point industrial wind turbine hearing has decided “remedies proposed by Gilead Power Corporation and the Director (MOEE) are not appropriate” and has revoked the Renewable Energy Approval for the nine turbine project.

“The tribunal decision says that no matter how important renewable energy is to our future it does not automatically override the public interest in protecting against other environmental harm such as the habitat of species at risk,” says Myrna Wood, president of the Prince Edward County Field Naturalists. “This was the basis of PECFN’s appeal. This decision not only protects the Blanding’s turtle but also the staging area for millions of migrating birds and bats and the Monarch butterflies.”

In their decision, ERT vice-chairs Heather Gibbs and Robert Wright state “The Tribunal finds that to proceed with the project, when it will cause serious and irreversible harm to animal life, a species at risk and its habitat, is not consistent with the general and renewable energy approval purposes of the Environmental Protection Act, protection and conservation of the natural environment and protection and conservation of the environment, nor does it serve the public interest.

“In this particular case, preventing such harm outweighs the policy of promoting renewable energy through this nine wind turbine project in this location.”

They also state the project would be located entirely within a Candidate Life Sciences Area of Natural and Scientific Interest (ANSI), which extends from Prince Edward Point to, approximately, Petticoat Point, and is roughly 2,000 hectares. “According to the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry, it is a “candidate” ANSI due to “the combination of size, extent of shoreline, known species diversity and special features that make this site unique in the site district.”

“The tribunal decision reminds the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change of its ‘Statement of Environmental Values’ that “As our understanding of the way the natural world works and how our actions affect it is often incomplete, [government] staff should exercise caution and special concern for natural values in the face of such uncertainty,” said Woods.

The Naturalists began their opposition in 2007 believing the south shore of the County “is the wrong place for wind turbines” – an important area to migrating birds, to bats and butterflies. It contains areas of natural and scientific interest, provincially significant wetlands, globally imperilled Alvar habitat and is the home and breeding grounds of avian, reptilian and amphibian species at risk.

“It’s been a long awaited decision and represents the efforts and determination of PECFN’s quest to protect the environment,” said Prince Edward County Mayor Robert Quaiff. “Congratulations to them. It further solidifies what everyone has been saying that the south shore of PEC is not a suitable location for industrial wind turbines.”

Todd Smith, Prince Edward Hastings MPP has also long campaigned that the south shore of Prince Edward County is the wrong place for wind turbines.

“It has taken a lot of time, money and effort to finally get to this point. My hope is that the Liberal government will actually listen to its own Environmental Review Tribunal that has ruled the south shore is a terrible location and that damage to the local environment outweighs any possible good that a wind turbine project could achieve,” said Smith. “Hopefully, this is the end of the Gilead proposal at Ostrander Point…Ultimately, this was not and is not, about the viability of wind power. This is about protecting the ecosystem of the South Shore of Prince Edward County. On that score, science and biodiversity won the day… The County is best served by being naturally green.”

Decisions with the White Pines project, also on the south shore, and the project at Amherst Island are still to be made.

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  1. Fred says:

    The only one’s that can’t see the harm Industrial Turbines do in this environmental sensitive area are, the naive, the born again believers i.e. CSG, and insensitive landowners looking for a quick buck despite the impacts upon the beautiful landscape and their neighbours peace of residence. If that is harsh, it had to be said!

  2. wevil says:

    why did nobody worry about the wildlife that was killed or displaced when they dug the huge channels in the big island marsh i guess that wildlife was of no concern

  3. notinduttondunwich says:

    Gary….. that’s where premier Wynnd is going to put the high speed rail from windsor to Ottawa. . Trillion dollars or so should do for that project… and it’s electric which means our hydro bills will be increasing to astronomical amounts… pitty eh!!!!

  4. Gary says:

    Stick the wind machines that are really unneeded and will result in more emissions than our present power supply all along the 401 Highway. Less habitat destruction, open area for wind, good access and closer to major connections. The Toronto harbour area is also a good location.

  5. notinduttondunwich says:

    I hear ya totally Robb B. You can’t pick just one…. you need to an manage them all equally… socially.. economically…. and environmentally… This is not being done in any way shape or form… what is wrong here is we have poor liberal leadershi#…. a Government that has committed our resources and all its peoples resourse at an all or any cost price to everyone of the aforementioned….socially the the government has divided the people and it is easier to slip stuff by people when they are fighting amonst themselves… I remember the liberal ads condemning the conservatives for dividing the people… wow …. people hate each other out here now….
    Economically after the turbines are built where are those jobs??? You’re planning on building them things for the next 30 years…. they’re are literally 10’s of thousands people looking for work and Wynnd spends 1.5 billion on 900 green sector jobs!!!!
    Environmently when Wynnd is done we will be worst polluters than had we just modified existing systems… yet we push forward…. more pollution more divide amungst the people….. more economic hardship…. as we push towards 60% tax rate in ontario I am glad premier Wynnd left us 40 % of our money to pay the freaking hydro bill…. so sad ….. who will stop the evil dictator Premier Wynnd. … any one out there….

  6. robby b says:

    power generation…
    nuclear > mining, nuclear waste, waste water, massive costs.
    nat gas > fracking, air pollution, greenhouse gases.
    hydro dams > thousands of valley acres, flora, fauna, habitat destroyed.
    wind/solar > habitat destruction.

    pick one for your neighbourhood. because if you say no to ALL, but demand a steady flow of electricity into your home, you’re just another NIMBY.

  7. notinduttondunwich says:

    Good luck to the APAI and their tribunal…. if the liberals turn over on the ERT decision to revoke contracts and go ahead with IWT projects in those areas there will be a public revolt!!!!! It’s time to start standing up to the GREEN ENERGY ACT!!! We will create 10 x as much pollution with this act!!!! 10 times people!!!!! This is ludicrous that the Liberals keep procuring more IWT projects!!! STOP NOW!!!!!! I’m not saying please anymore!!!!!!

  8. Marnie says:

    Sounds like sour grapes to me. The turtle won the race which he should not have had to run in the first place.

  9. Chris Keen says:

    @Mark I don’t know whether you attended any of the ERT hearings for this or the wpd project, but it was very clear to those who did that ministry employees who had any objections were sidelined. It was also clear that proponents and ministry employees were often in communication over aspects of the projects. I would think it is safe to say that the various ministries involved were tasked with finding a way to ensure every project was constructed no matter what. Why else would MOE spend hundreds of thousands of our dollars fighting PECFN and APPEC et.al.?

    This was confirmed yesterday by an interview on CKWS-TV with the interim president of Gilead who lamented the fact that they had worked “closely” with government and yet their permit has been revoked.

    This “damn the torpedos” attitude started with McGuinty and nothing, absolutely nothing, has changed under Wynne.

    @Mike – You are so right. If the billions the government has spent had been used for solar water heaters etc… in every home in Ontario, we’d be much farther ahead in terms of reducing actual power consumption and our province’s balance sheet wouldn’t look worse than Greece’s!

  10. hockeynan says:

    Sounds like a good recipe for me barney.Maybe we could have a turtle soup fund raiser to support wind turbines

  11. notinduttondunwich says:

    Fred don’t eat them birds!!!! The blades are made with toxic chemicals….so much that they have to be decommissioned in a special hazmat site!!!! Those blades spin up to 50 meters plus per second!!! There’re may just be toxic waste on them birds from the violent impact!!!!
    Your chances of getting treatment at the local hospital are limited due to cutbacks for new wind turbine procurement ….. sorry… take a deep breath of that clean air…

  12. Fred says:

    Arise at 5:00 am and set off early to Wolfe Island. Attach collection bag over shoulder. Slowly walk the outward areas of the Turbines and collect the various fresh bird kills. Keep cool, return home, pluck and field dress the remains. Place in roaster with apple & onion and cook at 325 F for 1 1/2 hrs. Enjoy! If you like make return trip next morning.

  13. Wolf Braun says:

    Finally a win. Congratulations Field Naturalists!

    Next fight? Our hospital?

  14. Olmanonthemtn says:

    on a cedar plank soaked in water place 1 filet of B. Rubble or other marinated neanderthal ideologist filet (forget the seasoning they all taste the same) heat to 350 degrees using some form of alternate energy (ontario ministry of energy approved) place filet for 4 hours throw away the ideological filet and eat the plank its better for you and allows you more choice in your energy diet. You may choose small locally responsible low head hydro generation, interprovincial green hydro purchase, low radioactive emission nuclear technology, hydrogen generation technology

  15. barney rubble says:

    In a heavy 4-qt. saucepan, bring turtle meat and water to a boil. Skim off foam. Chop 1 onion and set aside. Quarter the other onion; add to saucepan along with bay leaf, cayenne pepper and salt. Cover and simmer for 2 hours or until the meat is tender. Remove meat with a slotted spoon and cut into 1/2-in. cubes; set aside. Strain broth and set aside. Rinse and dry saucepan; melt butter over medium-high heat. Cook chopped onion until tender. Add flour; cook and stir until bubbly and lightly browned. Whisk in reserved broth; cook and stir until thickened. Reduce heat; stir in tomato puree and Worcestershire sauce. Simmer,
    uncovered, for 10 minutes. Add chicken broth, eggs, lemon juice and meat. Simmer for 5 minutes or until heated through. Garnish with parsley if desired. Yield: 4-6 servings.

  16. Mike says:

    I was not involved in the wind turbines planned for Ostrander Point. I am involved in green energy though. I only work on system repairs to existing solar installations. I fully agree with green energy but I do fear we will be paying taxation on sunlight and wind eventually – one way or another. Millions of dollars spent on project development, planning and implementation. Why couldn’t the government have paid for landowners to have Net Metering projects on everyone’s homes instead. Everyone has been told there is no capacity on the old hydro lines. Maybe with the wind turbines being turned down, this could open up more grid capacity for individuals who want solar to offset their own hydro bills through Net Metering.

  17. Olmanonthemtn says:

    never, never, never give up. Winston Churchill

  18. Mark says:

    The Ministry of Environment look really bad in this case. They gave approval knowing full well the severe environmental impacts. If that’s not bad enough they then used our tax dollars to fight PECFN. They no longer have credibility and have lost the trust of the people to protect what they swore to uphold. Shame!

  19. notinduttondunwich says:

    Brian… the liberals plan to and have already started to raise the price of natural gas… liberals may not be able to shut the natural gas off but they will make it so pricey that you will beg to use overpriced hydro….

  20. Dennis Fox says:

    Gary – Thanks for the correction re: county contribution – I must have blinked when it happened. As you well know council turned down motions for financial support. on several occasions. But your point doesn’t alter the fact that our council should have taken more of a leadership role in this issue years ago. A one time token contribution does not show the kind of expense nor support needed to fight this over the number of years that it has taken. Council’s performance in this matter has been dismal – right up to their recent decision re: wind developers contributions for roads, etc… This current victory by the Field Naturalists is due to their hard work and leadership – no one else. I agree with you, I believe that the vast majority of residents are opposed to the wind turbines – which makes council’s lack of action even more questionable.

  21. notinduttondunwich says:

    Where do you live Brian???? Hey bud wake up .. you should do some reading…we’re going from 20grms / kwh to 200grms/kwh of pollution by the time theseaniacs are done!!!.. maybe you been honking on the the liberals other new green program!!!! The maryjunanna!!!!

  22. Gary Mooney says:

    Dennis, County government provided a grant of $20K to PECFN in 2013 towards their legal.

    Politicians using lag public opinion. Council was on the other side during Mayor Finnegan’s second term (votes 12 to 4 favouring wind turbines) but got on board during Mayor Mertens’ term (votes 12 to 4 against). Now votes are almost unanimous against.

    For those who claims that County residents are not opposed to wind turbines, consider the referendum in S. Marysburgh in 2012 run by the S.M. Mirror when there was a turnout greater than the municipal election and 90% voted against wind turbines. Other informal polls showed a super-majority in opposition.

    Regarding the wellbeing of County children and grandchildren, Ontario was a world leader in clean energy way before any wind turbines. The major problems were (and are) with the U.S. and China.

    County kids and grandkids will benefit most from a healthy economy here, free of job-killing wind turbines.

  23. Chuck says:

    I could get into the whole scope of how the government has entered into this renewable energy strategy without any real sense of the outcomes, but that has been beat to death.

    Brian; just find a location that isn’t subject to such environmental destruction. Common sense tells any open minded person that the South Shore is a very poor location choice.

  24. brian says:

    Richard Mann you are completely wrong. As were the brilliant people at BlackBerry when they said an iPhone was no threat. You can build large wind farms, along side large solar farms, tied to some battery storage all tied to a Nat Gas peaker plant which adjusts dynamically to the production of the wind and solar. You will then have a solution to have reliable generation at very low CO2 emissions. You also save on Nat Gas so I can heat my home cheaper.

  25. brian says:

    All you anti-wind turbine folks, remember a heavily populated country like Germany with over 80 million people, now have over 23,000 wind turbines. And no one gets head aches, or can’t sleep. 23,0000. INDUSTRIAL TURBINES 30 meters higher then the ones in Ontario. You have doomed all those turtles.

  26. brian says:

    The turtles, like all wildlife are going to suffer completely due to climate change. Dried up river beds and swamps do not make for good turtle habitat. So I guess you Naturalists didn’t think about that. Wind turbines and solar power have the greatest chance of us preventing that.

  27. wevil says:

    why is this all done in the name of giving our children a better future

  28. wevil says:

    maybe we should try to drive out the cement plant and the mushroom plant they are the only things left to pick on

  29. Linda says:

    Congratulations Cheryl, Myrna, APPEC, PECFN, CCSAGE, Eric, et al! Love you guys!!!
    A donation is on it’s way.

  30. Dave Gray says:

    If you believe, never give up! thanks everyone.

  31. doug says:

    Well done and finally some one has some common sense in this victory.

  32. Mark says:

    A brave and just decision by the ERT.

  33. Cheryl says:

    Happy to hear there is someone with power who has some common sense. Bravo!

  34. Fred says:

    True. The last two Mayors supported a $30,000,000 waste plant on a hill! And they supported Commissioners that have failed, be it roads or our McFarland Home.

    Thank goodness for a community that remains strong for a fight like this regardless of leadership.

  35. Dennis Fox says:

    The Field Naturalists and their supporters deserve a hardy congratulations for a hard fought battle. However, you watch the number of local politicians line up to share in this victory, when they should not be at all. To finally declare us to be an “Unwilling Host” about 5 years too late, while not investing one cent in support, is a pretty poor effort on their part. This issue of IWTs should have been challenged by our council years ago. Instead of leading the way, residents had to drag them into the fray scratching and complaining all the while. This is a citizens victory, not a political one – good for the PEC Field Naturalists!

  36. Emily says:

    No ruling on WPD yet. But they can’t be pleased with today’s decision. Sharon; the decision was all about our children’s future here.

  37. 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:
    http://cdn.knightlab.com/libs/timeline/latest/embed/index.html?source=0Ak2bgr7C0nhPdGR3S1lEekU3T3p4ZDhUNDdRV2Y2ZkE&font=Bevan-PotanoSans&maptype=toner&lang=en&height=650

    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”

  38. 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. https://www.wind-watch.org/docviewer.php?doc=OSPE-PEO-2015_Ontario-Electricity-Dilemma.pdf
    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.

  39. hockeynan says:

    Not all council supported no turbines.WPD isn’t done yet

  40. Sharon says:

    The majority of the county are not happy with this decision!! No consideration for future generations of ‘ children’! But the turtles are good. Absolutely ridiculous and such a waste of time and money. Working class folks needed an alternative and you ignored us.

  41. Marnie says:

    A red-letter day in the county for sure.

  42. Linda says:

    Congratulations for this major victory. Thank you to all those who have worked so hard for so many years.

  43. Linda says:

    Congratulations and thank you to all those who have worked to so hard for this win!

  44. Suzanne Lucas says:

    Three cheers for the amazing courage and perseverance of PECFN! True heroes in my books.

  45. Emily says:

    Haha Wevil! I don’t think so. Council even supported the fight.

  46. wevil says:

    Myrna i hope you don’t think that this makes the majority of the people in the County happy.only a small percentage agree with you

  47. Susan says:

    Congrats PECFN and all others assisting in this historic battle. A great day for Prince Edward County. God bless the turtle.

  48. Gary Mooney says:

    This is an amazing victory for PECFN, and was due in large part to the dedication and perseverance of Myrna Wood and Cheryl Anderson, and to the expertise and hard work of legal counsel Eric Gillespie and his associates. Additional credit to the South Shore Conservancy as a participant in the remedy hearing.

    Also a victory for more than a thousand donors, including County government, which contributed $20K. And for CCSAGE and APPEC, who provided major assistance in fundraising.

    This is a huge loss for Gilead and its partners — several million dollars of sunk costs and more than $50 million of total investment anticipated. Not to mention the fat profits they expected.

    It’s highly unlikely that Gilead et al will now disappear into the night. They will almost certainly appeal this decision to Divisional Court, but any appeal will be restricted to errors of law only, not the evidence as presented to date. It’s a faint hope for Gilead.

    This is a very bad day for wpd and its hosting landowners in the County. APPEC has achieved a finding of harm to Blanding’s turtle in the same area, also little brown bat, and is well prepared for the remedy hearing.

    An equally bad day for Windlectric and its landowners on Amherst Island, where APAI is fighting vigorously to protect their natural environment, including Blanding’s turtle. Closing arguments in their ERT hearing are tomorrow.

    Eric Gillespie is representing both White Pines and Amherst Island for our side, a real bonus.

    Here’s the thing: The various groups, PECFN, APPEC, CCSAGE, SSC, and APAI on Amherst Island will NEVER give up. Now we’ve got momentum on our side.

  49. Sue3 says:

    Fantastic news!!
    Congratulations to all of the people who have put so much work into this! Hard to believe it’s been nine years….

  50. Chuck says:

    WOW!!!! Congratulations. I hope this is finally the end of it.

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