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County Field Naturalists to appeal Ostrander permit

Myrna Wood, vice-president of Prince Edward County Field Naturalists (PECFN), announced today that the club will appeal the Ministry of the Environment ruling to allow nine mammoth wind turbines to be built on Crown Land at Ostrander Point.

“We opposed this project from day one; it will be disastrous to wildlife – including endangered species – and the natural habitat. The industrial construction alone will destroy essential habitat for millions of birds and bats. Operating turbines will threaten their lives for over 25 years. While we hoped the Minister of the Environment would deny the project, we have been preparing an appeal for the last year and a half,” she said.

Ostrander Point Crown Land Block lies at the heart of the Prince Edward County South Shore Important Bird Area (IBA). The IBA, established in 2001, acknowledges the importance of the South Shore to waterfowl, migrating birds and raptors. The Crown Land Block is an area of rare alvar habitat, contains provincially significant wetlands, is a candidate Area of Natural and Scientific Interest and is the home of at least two endangered species.

PECFN has already been working with Guelph lawyer, Peter Pickfield, on preliminary appeal preparations. His recommendation to move the case into the hands of Eric Gillespie was enthusiastically approved by PECFN’s executive. “An environmental lawyer, Gillespie has been working in the wind energy field since the flawed Green Energy Act was imposed. His extensive experience will give us the best chance to fight this outrageous decision successfully. It will be the first test of the environmental grounds for appeal under the Act,” Wood explained. PECFN will begin an immediate fund-raising campaign to finance the appeal.

Wood said the timing of the government’s decision was especially heartless. “The Environmental Review Tribunal has given us no extra time despite the holiday season. We must have our initial arguments ready by January 4, 2013. Fortunately Mr. Gillespie is willing to work with us through the holidays.”

PECFN members and its executive know the majority of Prince Edward County residents are appalled by the callous timing of this decision and by the Minister of Environment’s disregard for the irreversible harm this project will cause to the animals, birds, bats, turtles and plants at Ostrander Point Crown Land Block. With the help of county citizens, PECFN will mount a vigorous case against this project.

-Cheryl Anderson

Filed Under: Letters and OpinionNews from Everywhere ElsePEC Field Naturalists

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  1. Gary Mooney says:

    A message that we need to get out about Ostrander Point to motivate the trroops is that, if the ERT appeal fails for this project, it’s all over for environmental protection from wind turbines in the province.

    The reason being that south County is probably the area most in need of protection, due to bird and bat migration, endangered species habitat and rare alvars.

    We will need to make the maximum effort to overturn MOE’s decision.

  2. Pete Johnson says:

    In this fight, time is our main ally. The crazy rush to wind power, the hysterical appeal to action on climate change, the political recklessness of the liberals all speak to an understanding that wind power has no future. As the truth about the cost and the true nature of Mike Crawley’s boondoggle continue to leak out, the people of Ontario will turn against wind power. If we can delay the projects there is a chance that the truth about IWTs which is steadily filtering into the minds of Urban Ontarians will become politcally significant. The crooked and scandalous operations of the Liberal party will probably sink them in the next election, but in the mean time, with a wind power advocate with vested interests as president of the party we can count on a intensification of pressure to get shovels in the ground. Our success in stopping these monuments to greed and stupidity depends on our abiliy to slow down the process until cooler and less crooked heads prevail. To that end we must support all court challenges with donations and fundraising efforts. We must put up barriers both metaphoical and physical in the way of this undemocratic juggernaut. In this way we may win.
    Pete Johnson

  3. Good work, PEC Field Naturalists all.

    I will donate to the cost of the appeal.

    The MoE is very practised at making these kinds of reprehensible Christmas Eve gift announcements, presumably as a little token of their esteem for industry as well as a sign of their disrespect for local citizens. The MoE should really be renamed the Ministry of Industrial Development.

    Seven years ago, on December 21, 2006, the same kind of announcement of decision was made by the MoE regarding a proposal by the Lafarge cement plant in Bath. (See my website, eloerg.tripod.com/waupoos) The timing on that case was the same, as the appeal window was to expire in the first week in January, just as it is here.

    The Bath proposal was ultimately defeated at the Environmental Review Tribunal. It was defeated by the diligent work of a number of environmental law firms which prepared their appeal over the holiday period, building on the foundation of data that concerned citizens had been assembling for some time, just as you have been in the present case.

    The Richmond landfill was another recent local example of this sort of nonsense, and it was also defeated.

    And of course the prototypical successful environmental case occurred at your own Sandbanks in the sixties so you already have a tradition of success.

    There is obviously a place for green energy, but its a question of weighing the benefit versus the cost. Putting a dozen turbines up is going to do virtually nothing to satisfy our infinite appetite for energy in this province, but the Wolfe Island farm has already set a dangerous precedent for building in ecological sensitive areas, and Ostrander will have the same significance if it proceeds.

    Your case is very strong here and I am please to support you in whatever way I can.

    Alban Goddard Hill
    Belleville

  4. Mark says:

    I have yet to see a response from our MPP Todd Smith. Did I miss it or has he been silent?

  5. Doris Lane says:

    John excellent comments. It appears that you have done your research well. One of the best comments I have read.

  6. Cheryl Anderson says:

    John: Thank you for your comments. I would like to talk to you, please contact me directly – number in the phone book – C. Anderson

  7. Mark says:

    What has happened is the Government went off on an ignorant search of alternate energy that they believed could win them the hearts of the electorate. No research, let’s just move quickly so we can retain power. To hell with rural Ontario because that is not our base. Woops, we have goofed so the leader with historic debt assisted by this subsidized boondoggle is the first to leave the ship. Then shutdown the Legislature and push a failed strategy through.And let’s do it 5 days from Christmas while the little County is asleep. They are “easy targets”!!

  8. John says:

    I read the Star article … doesn’t read well. The fact that habitat will be destroyed is true for any construction but it’s not clear why Ostrander is unique and should be denied. In my opinion, media opportunities in the future should focus on the unsophisticated and biased environmental collection techniques that were used in the EIS, the flawed public consultation process and inadequate government disclosure.

    Cheryl – I’m willing to donate to the cause. The public needs to understand how poor the data is that backs up this project. The EIS leaves much unanswered, for example:
    - Stantec provided environmental data but stands to benefit from additional engineering contracts if it is chosen as the builder … therefore is the environmental data reliable?
    - Why did Gilead EXCLUDE data from the Prince Edward Point Bird Observatory, just a few concessions to the east where over 298 species of birds have been documented?
    - A thorough assessment of bird & bat populations cannot conceivably be covered by one consultant covering multiple terrains over +300ha in 30 minutes as appears the case with some field notes in the EIS.
    - Migratory bird documentation missed the key window for passing birds (April/early May) and over 50% of the warblers that were identified are listed as “unidentified” … couldn’t afford binoculars or did Gilead knowingly hire somebody that was unqualified?
    - etc
    - etc
    - etc

  9. Doris Lane says:

    Yes Gary it was good to see PEC made the front page of The Toronto Star. Amazing that Kevin Lennon said the will only improve conditions for the wildlife in the area.
    I wonder what world he lives in. You do not improve a wildlife area by bringing in bulldozers making roads and huge cement pads and dumping gravel all over the area. He said the turbines will be set back 200 metres from Lake Ontario so they will not not harm a great number of birds and bats. Does he not know that the birds fly inland on their migratory routes.

  10. Gary Mooney says:

    There’s a story about the PECFN appeal in today’s Toronto Star, titled Turtle lovers fight wind farm.

    Nice to have some attention from the urban media.

  11. beach says:

    Thanks for the “donation” info Cheryl. The cheques in the mail to Myrna.
    A succesful Happy New Year to you all, keep up the great work.

  12. Cheryl Anderson says:

    Thank you so much for asking about donations. We definitely will need them. At present we have a bank account set up and cheques can be made to the Ostrander Point Appeal Fund and mailed to Myrna Wood, 59 King St, unit 2 Picton ON K0K 2T0. We are in the process of setting up the facility to issue tax receipts for donations.

  13. beach says:

    Where do we send Donations to this worthy cause?

    This “Dictorial Rape” of the County must stop.
    Green Turbines!!!what a laugh!!

  14. Doris Lane says:

    A friend of mine said when they put the turbines up in the lake district in England it affected the cattle–they had miscarriages etcand other health problems.
    I cannot understand why anyone would approve this wind farm–it is our land not land that is rented from an individual. It is totally criminal

  15. Jim Wiegand says:

    Your arguments will not matter. Your voice will not matter. Their corrupt minds are made up. I say this because over the last several years enough evidence has surfaced against the wind industry to shut down every one of their projects. At the very least a moratorium should in place until honest wind turbine research is conducted. As it has been nothing but bogus research has been produced by the wind industry for over 28 years and it is still being rigged to hide the truth.

    A few months back I looked over the Environmental Impact Report produced for a Wyoming wind project. It was one of the worst such reports I have even read. The writers said they couldn’t comment about certain impacts to eagles and other raptors because the property owners would not give them access. A 12 year old could see through right through it, let alone a judge. The project was approved.

    The other day I looked a report for the Searchlight Wind Resource area on BLM land in the Mojave Desert. To me the comments about the golden eagle living there are a clear case of silent fraud. Here is what was said………”Golden eagle nests were restricted to cliffs and were located at least 4 miles from the project boundary with 2 of the nests being approximately 10 miles from the project boundary. Based on data from Idaho, golden eagle home range size should not overlap with the project boundary.”

    The statement that the project should not overlap with the home range of the golden eagle is in my opinion criminal. The dense pocket of eagles living along the food rich Snake River in Idaho has nothing to do with the eagles living in the barren Mojave region. It is well established that an eagle’s home range for this desert region is far greater and requires at least 50-100 square miles. A few miles is nothing to an eagle so the food sources and wind currents at the wind project will bring them right to these turbines where they will be killed. The project will not only kill the local eagles, but it will be killing dispersing eagles and migrating eagles. . The history of wind turbines slaughtering golden eagles is well known, yet for a dollar the authors choose to say something else. This is the way it really is……..All wind farms located in golden eagle habitat will kill these eagles, there are no exceptions. Here is another truth. The wind industry is systematically killing off the golden eagle population across America.

    What I just wrote about is typical of the industry’s deception that has been going on for decades. Virtually every wind industry document I have ever read has been written with deception or has had research methodology designed to hide the truth. I could provide dozens and dozens of similar examples from all over the country.

    Surely enough questions have been raised about the wind industry and enough whooping cranes have disappeared to warrant Congressional hearings about all this. I would love to attend so I could expose anyone willing to stand up and lie about the impacts to golden eagles or to justify the wind industry’s ridiculous studies. But it will not happen because the corruption will avoid this arena.

    But instead of hearings to expose the truth, Congress is considering a multibillion dollar gift from taxpayers in the form of tax credits.

    Congress really needs to pay attention because they may have the power but it is really the taxpayers money. These taxpayers are now more educated and they are realizing that the “Green” image promoted by the wind industry has all been a complete fabrication. So if Congress is willing to look past all the lies and give this industry new tax credits, it will send a message of corruption that will resonate for centuries. Their vote will always be linked to the whooping cranes and other species that are quickly disappearing from our skies.

    All for just a token amount of energy, which is one of this industry’s other lies.

  16. Doris Lane says:

    The timing of this announcement shows the lack of concern the government has for the people. With parliament porogued there is no chance for members of parliament to speak out. Of course even if parliament were sitting the timing negates public comment.
    The government takes away the democratic process. We just live in a world that is primarily a dictorship.

  17. Millbrook Jane says:

    Thank you, thank you, thank you…. the approval of this project is an outrage on the grandest scale.

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