Category Archives: Natural environment
Impact of wind turbines on the natural environment
Originally published in the Toronto Sun on June 14, 2016 by Jim McPherson.
The Ontario government has massively subsidized with our money the creation of wind and solar factories across the province that are unhealthy and unsafe, both for human beings and the wildlife we claim to care about.
Wind factories are unsafe because they make many of their human neighbours sick.
They are proven killers of birds, bats and other wildlife.
Wind turbine noise causes community annoyance, as determined by a 2014 Health Canada study that was denied scientific peer review.
Health Canada has set no standards for potentially harmful acoustic radiations from industrial wind turbines, the largest radiating devices in rural communities.
An Ontario Environmental Review Tribunal confirmed last week that a wind turbine project would cause serious and irreversible harm to endangered Blanding’s turtles in Prince Edward County. Read the rest of this entry
Ontario’s ill wind: Throwing billions of dollars at wind and solar factories isn’t going to lower greenhouse emissions effectively or efficiently
Originally published in the Toronto Sun on April 16, 2016 by Jim McPherson.
On March 23, Lorrie Goldstein’s “Burn our money” column in the Toronto Sun criticized Prime Minister Justin Trudeau for budgeting about $10 billion (including overseas spending) by 2020 on what Trudeau claims are climate change initiatives.
Last month, despite continuing objections from hosting municipalities and numerous concerns expressed by the office of the Auditor General of Ontario, Premier Kathleen Wynne’s provincial government approved more renewable energy projects.
Last week, a wind power developer began legally clearing vegetation from a vast area of pristine wildlife in Prince Edward County, even though the Enviromental Review Tribunal (ERT) had ruled the project would cause serious and irreversible harm to endangered Blandings Turtles and Little Brown Bats.
On April 8, photographs of habitat destruction apparently prompted the ERT to order an “interim stay” on construction and a “remedial measures” hearing will now be scheduled.
Federal and provincial Liberal governments are on a “green energy” spending spree.
They recklessly tilt at climate change by funding unwanted and unneeded wind and solar projects that kill wildlife and harm humans.
They generate super-expensive, intermittent, electricity that is exported at huge losses.
A comparison to Florida is a sobering story.
In the past decade, while Ontario electricity rates nearly doubled, Florida’s rates declined by 10%. Read the rest of this entry
The Annual General Meeting of CCSAGE Naturally Green was held on Sunday, March 13th, 2016, at the Waring House, Picton. That same morning, Wind Concerns Ontario held its own AGM in Wellington and its members later joined us. Our meeting was deliberately open to the public, and altogether some 110 people were present, including our own members, the County Mayor and several Councillors and the editors of the two most important local papers. Each featured lengthy and accurate reports in their next editions which may be accessed at http://wellingtontimes.ca/gathering-forces/ and https://issuu.com/pictongazette/docs/pictongazettemar17 respectively.
Following introductions by our two directors, our accountant, Mustafa Alidina, who donates his services, presented our financial statements for 2015, disclosing an excess of revenue over expenses of $8,572.00.
Two resolutions were then approved unanimously by members present. The first that the financial statement presented and explained by our accountant be received, and the second that all actions of the directors during 2015 be approved. (While those decisions were mostly day-to-day and of a routine nature, two specifically mentioned were the placing of insurance to cover directors and others for any errors in the carrying out of their obligations and the decision to apply to the Courts for a Judicial Review of all circumstances leading to the issue of a Renewable Energy Approval for 27 turbines in South Marysburgh and Athol, including the retainer of Alan Whiteley as counsel). Read the rest of this entry
An ERT appeal panel has concluded that wpd’s 27-turbine White Pines wind project, if built as approved by MOECC, will cause serious and irreversible harm to animal life, specifically to Little Brown Bat and Blanding’s Turtle.
This is a HUGE victory for appellants APPEC and John Hirsch, and for the whole Prince Edward County community. We are now well positioned to push wpd out of the County for good.
BUT it’s going to take more time, and more money for legal costs. Please read on, and then consider making a contribution to the South Shore Appeal Fund to help ensure victory.
CCSAGE NATURALLY GREEN (“CCSAGE”) is a not-for-profit corporation, under Federal legislation, continuing an informal group founded in 2009.
It supports and believes in green energy which is both safe and appropriate, and encourages small scale solutions and conservation measures.
In so doing, its actions are planned to be constructive in achieving those goals, and it has the following beliefs which support this mandate:
- CCSAGE welcomes the findings of two Ontario Auditors-General as expressed in their separate Reports up to including that of 2015. Translated into everyday language they find the Green Energy Act to be an economic disaster, enacted without benefit of technical advice and with no consideration of a business rationale or of its overall impact.
- CCSAGE agrees with the published opinions of several well-known economists and energy expert to the same effect, including Michael Trebilcock, Keith Stelling, Dr. Glenn Fox, Ross McKintrick and Tom Adams.
- CCSAGE agrees with the published opinion of the Energy Task Force of the Ontario Society of Professional Engineers (April 2015), which shows that increased use of wind and solar energy on the Ontario grid is causing a dramatic increase in both carbon emissions and electricity prices.
CCSAGE suggests to the Premier and Government of Ontario as follows:
- Put on hold immediately all proposed major wind and solar projects not currently operating, until considerations of appropriate placement and of Municipal jurisdiction be determined, and economic and scientific justification be established, including science-based justification of set-backs from property lines of houses, schools and other inhabited structures;
- Re-write the Green Energy Act based on results of economic, scientific and health analyses that are produced by acknowledged and independent experts (excluding those of the wind and solar industries and of their allies and supporters);
- The Act, as amended or replaced, would require the location of major safe and appropriate green energy installations to be considered in areas of this vast Province which are determined by the relevant and expert authority to be:
- Consistent with the Environment Canada recommendations noted in Environment Canada document, Wind Turbines and Birds, A Guidance Document, including consideration of cumulative effects, requirement for baseline surveys, and consistent with the 11 listed criteria where they not be sited, such as Important Bird Areas and migration corridors.
- Never where adverse health effects to humans are possible.
- Never where local economies could be adversely affected.
- Never where the natural environment could be unreasonably disturbed.
- Should any Municipality indicate that it is an unwilling host to such an installation, the wishes of that Municipality would prevail over the current provisions of the Green Energy Act.
- Energy projects would not be excluded from the Environmental Protection Act. Any appeal of permission granted for an installation would be to the Courts utilizing evidence presently permitted by the Courts. The Environmental Review Tribunal would be abolished, as its terms are inconsistent with protection of the environment as well as the Statement of Values of MOECC and MNRF.
- Any such permission must restrict payment to the proponent to a maximum of the then weighted average price of electricity produced in Ontario by nuclear, hydro-electric and natural gas sources.
CCSAGE has filed an Application to the Supreme Court of Ontario for Judicial Review of the circumstances and background leading to the issue of a Renewal Energy Approval for 27 turbines in the south part of the County of Prince Edward. This does not detract from, but underlines, CCSAGE’s wish to be constructive rather than negative, as it concentrates on the deficiencies of the Green Energy Act, on its bias against rural communities and on the infringement of citizens’ rights and of statutes and international treaties.
Based on a quick read of the decision on the appeal of the approval of wpd’s White Pines wind project, the ERT panel has determined that there will be serious and irreversible harm to little brown bat and Blanding’s turtle. They have ordered a hearing to consider the appropriate remedy (if any).
The panel has not accepted that there will be serious harm to human health, or serious and irreversible harm to other elements of the natural environment.
Here is an excerpt from the ERT’s decision:
Conclusions on the Environment Test
 Based on the evidence and submissions before the Tribunal on the Project’s impacts, the Tribunal finds that engaging in the Project in accordance with the REA will cause serious and irreversible harm to animal life, plant life or the natural environment under s. 145.1(2) of the EPA.
 The Tribunal allows the appeals in part.
 … the Tribunal will discuss procedural steps for the hearing of submissions with respect to the appropriate remedy, pursuant to s. 145.2.1(4) of the EPA.
At the direction of the Appeal Court of Ontario, the Ostrander Point ERT sat again on September 2, 3 and 4, 2015 to consider the Gilead’s mitigation plan to reduce harms to Blanding’s turtle resulting from the construction and use of access roads. About 120 County residents attended on the first morning to show their support for the PECFN appeal. There were few, if any, residents supporting the other side.
The plan relies heavily on the use of gates on access roads to reduce public vehicular traffic. PECFN called two witnesses, both of whom testified during the earlier phase of the ERT — Dr. Fred Beaudry, an expert in Blanding’s turtle and Kari Gunson, an expert in road ecology. Both demonstrated strong and relevant knowledge and gave compelling evidence, supported by scientific papers and personal experience as to why the access roads would be problematic even with gates. While both agreed that gates would reduce public access to a considerable extent, they also stated that there is little or no scientific evidence that other proposed mitigation measures will be successful.
Concerns about the impact of access roads include: heavy equipment movements during construction, fragmentation of habitat, barriers to movement of more timid turtles, changes to water flow and pooling, encouragement of invasive plant species, provision of appealing but easily seen nesting sites on the shoulders, and improved access within the site for poachers, predators (foxes, raccoons, skunks) and the public (some will intentionally kill turtles). PECFN’s witnesses expressed particular concern about adult mortality, because Blanding’s turtles don’t mate until at least age 20 and have a low reproductive rate. Dr. Beaudry emphasized that the cumulative effects of the many factors relating to roads would result in inadequate mitigation of harms.
Both witnesses were cross-examined in detail by the lawyers for MOECC and the developer, and both held up well. To observers supporting PECFN, it was difficult to understand how the developer’s mitigation plan could justify proceeding with the project.
The third day of the hearing produced an unexpected development. We’ll let Myrna Wood, President of PECFN, describe it: Read the rest of this entry
On Thursday, July 16th, 2015, a Renewable Energy Approval (REA) was issued by the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change (MOECC) to White Pines Wind Incorporated (alias wpd Canada) for 27 of the 29 industrial wind turbines originally proposed, to be located in South Marysburgh and Athol. The two deleted were as a direct result of major efforts (and expense) by individuals concerned about the impact of these and other turbines on “cultural resources and protected properties”. The REA includes two large transformer substations. The 29 kilometre line connecting everything to the Hydro One system north of Picton was approved by the Ontario Energy Board in 2014. (Question: why would the transmission line be approved, apparently in a vacuum well in advance of the REA, unless the Ontario Energy Board was certain that the REA would be issued? Yet another indication that the entire procedure is a mockery of democratic norms).