Tag Archive | Ministry of the Environment

Bird and bat bloodbath sanctioned by the Ontario Liberals

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The Ontario McGuinty/Wynne Liberal governments created special legislation and regulations for industrial wind turbine owners, granting them permits to slaughter species at risk without consequences. They have license not only to kill, harm or harass a member of a species that is listed on the Species at Risk in Ontario List, but also to situate the bird-killing machines in designated Important Bird Areasand they take full advantage.

Ontario Regulation 242/08: General under the Endangered Species Act, 2007. S.O. 2007, c.6 states in section 23.20 that

Clause 9 (1) (a) and subsection 10 (1) of the Act do not apply to a person who is engaged in the operation of a wind facility and who, in the course of the operation of the wind facility, kills, harms or harasses a member of a species that is listed on the Species at Risk in Ontario List as an endangered or threatened species, or damages or destroys the habitat of such a species…

Fauna not at risk are fair game, no permit required.

The federal Liberal minister of the environment, Catherine McKenna, doesn’t see anything wrong with this. McKenna’s straw-woman response to Sen. Bob Runciman’s request to assess the cumulative effect the killing machines have on birds and bats is that “wind turbines kill relatively few birds when compared to cats, windows on buildings, vehicles and transmission lines.”

Bird Studies Canada, claiming to be “Canada’s leading science-based bird conservation organization,” and others of its ilk don’t seem to care about the wind industry’s bloody bird and bat massacres. In Bird Studies Canada’s Top 6 Ways You Can Help Birds web page, there is not a single word about it. Instead we are fed greenie kumbaya pap such as: “Reducing overall consumption, and making ‘greener’ choices generally, reduces your environmental footprint and benefits all wildlife over time.”

The save-the-planet environmentalist-pretenders sure don’t care. As Oxford biologist Clive Hambler pointed out in 2013 (emphasis added):

Wind farms are devastating populations of rare birds and bats across the world, driving some to the point of extinction. Most environmentalists just don’t want to know. Because they’re so desperate to believe in renewable energy, they’re in a state of denial. But the evidence suggests that … renewables pose a far greater threat to wildlife than climate change.

Over in the UK, the Royal Society for the Prevention of Birds (RSPB), as James Delingpole derisively called it in 2014, has also lost its way:

A wind farm in Scotland, which the RSPB was instrumental in easing through the planning process ten years ago has successfully destroyed all but one of the forty breeding pairs of golden plover in the region.

… birds are what the RSPB – originally known as the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds – was established to protect.

… it appears to have decided that the “birds” in its name no longer have much relevance to its campaigning causes. In fact it appears increasingly to view their destruction with equanimity.

… the RSPB … made up its mind … that climate change was such an important issue that supporting renewable energy was more important than stopping birds being sliced and diced by gigantic eco-crucifixes … despite copious evidence from around the world of the millions of birds (and bats) killed by turbines each year.

As usual, it’s a case of follow-the-money. As James Delingpole reported, the RSPB “is making hundreds of thousands of pounds from the wind power industry.” Bird-protection mandate and charity status obligations be damned.

The wind industry worldwide is very good at hiding mortality rates, and governments and the mainstream media don’t care for the truth—it would ruin their save-the-planet-from-burning-up-with-green-technology narrative. Wildlife expert Jim Wiegand and other analysts estimated in 2013 that in the United States, the industrial wind turbines annually kill up to 39 million birds and bats, but the wind industry will never admit it.

The wind industry is hiding over 90% of the bird and bat mortality caused by their turbines. This statement is supported by the industry’s own data and reasonable adjustments for its manipulations.

The wind industry is … producing faulty, misleading and even fraudulent documents to hide the serious and growing mortality. This situation has continued for years but has been shielded by state and federal agencies and other supporters of wind power.

This brings us to indefatigable wind warrior Esther Wrightman, an Ontario wind turbine refugee who fled to New Brunswick. Last year she filed a Freedom of Information request (FOI) with the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry in order to obtain the wind industry’s mandatory bird and bat mortality reports. In January she finally received “loads” of them, for a hefty fee. The mortality numbers are disturbing. Esther writes:

As the bird and bat mortality reports are slowly uncovered, the numbers just seem to get worse and worse. I never imagined it could get this low, but then again nobody was releasing this info to the public, so how were we to know?

As she implies, real news like this is hardly ever published in the mainstream media and certainly not advertised by bird protection organizations such as Bird Studies Canada. Not surprising when you consider that Bird Studies Canada partners with the Canadian Wind Energy Association, Environment Canada and Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources to maintain the Wind Energy Bird & Bat Monitoring Database and produce the Wind Energy Bird and Bat Monitoring Database Summary of the Findings from Post-construction Monitoring Reports, dated July 2016.

Of course, the Canadian Wind Energy Association, Environment Canada and Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources all have a vested interest in NOT broadcasting how many birds and bats the wind industry kills every year. That would be bad for the subsidy-sucking, taxpayer-gouging wind business, and really bad for public acceptance of government greenie, ”sustainable,” “alternative energy,“ “tackling climate change,” “decarbonizing,” “reducing carbon pollution,” “changing behaviour,” “economy and environment go together,” “saving the planet” policies.

It is therefore astonishing and laudable that the Wind Energy Bird and Bat Monitoring Database Summary concludes that there are serious problems with respect to the scientific validity of the bird and bat mortality estimates:

The mortality estimates presented here potentially underestimate true mortality as they are based solely on carcasses that fell within 50 m of the turbine base.

…the proportion of carcasses expected to fall outside of 50 m [estimated] to be up to 51.8% of birds, based on 4 studies that searched a radius up to 85 m.

For 80 m turbines, carcasses were expected to fall to a maximum distance of 156 m. These findings indicate that the mortality estimates presented here may underestimate true mortality

The numbers in the FOI reports that Esther obtained, while shocking, are probably just the tip of the iceberg. And just imagine the numbers world-wide!

And for what are millions of birds and bats being sacrificed, with hardly a peep of protest to be heard from the many (co-opted) bird protection organizations around the world? It would be bad enough if their deaths were collateral damage for a greater good, but the terrible fact is that they are being slaughtered for nothing except a morally corrupt ideology—the massive scientific deception of manmade climate change, where the industrial wind abominations supposedly are a remedy for what is actually a non-existent problem.

The killer wind machines, these fake-green, bird-and-bat-slaughtering, taxpayer-robbing, corporate-welfare, crony-capitalist monstrosities, will never meet our energy needs, will never have any redeeming value whatsoever—not for the environment, not for the economy, not for our quality of life.

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Industrial wind turbines: the scourge of Ontario’s economy, farmland, and people

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People living in the Ontario’s large urban centres may not realize to what extent the Liberals, by means of undemocratic fiat, have imposed massive, invasive industrialization on rural Ontario. In many cases it has happened against the will of communities and people.

The Liberals’ Green Energy Act and its companion, the Environmental Review Tribunal—a toothless kangaroo court for any person or organization NOT a wind energy proponent—rob municipalities and property owners of their rights and any fair chance to prevent wind companies, mostly foreign-owned, from riding roughshod over their land and property values, wildlife and environmental protections, and human and livestock health concerns, never mind from visually polluting and despoiling the natural beauty of the Ontario landscape.

To make matters worse, none of the Liberals’ totalitarian-like “green” “renewable” energy push has made any economic sense, as was again confirmed by the Auditor General of Ontario Annual Report 2015, and in fact would appear to be willful appropriation and squandering of taxpayer money and the deliberate imposition of astronomical electricity costs to consumers and business:

Expensive wind and solar energy—We calculate that electricity consumers have had to pay $9.2 billion…more for renewables over the 20-year contract terms under the Ministry’s current guaranteed-price renewable program than they would have paid under the previous program…We found that the prices under Ontario’s guaranteed-price renewable program were…double the market price for wind and three and a half times the market price for solar energy in 2014.

Watch this video—industrial wind turbines in southwestern Ontario, near Shelburne—and weep.

Voices from the Thedford Bog (Part 3): “It’s just shocking! The Liberal government is destroying Ontario!”

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I can’t see it not affecting tourism. It’s going to affect the residents, it’s going to affect the businesses. I know I don’t want to be in this community anymore, and I just dread what it’s going to look like. 

Most people in Ontario’s urban centres, or even those living in small towns, or rural settings where there are no industrial wind turbines, probably have no idea. They may never have heard the stories of rural residents who are having to cope, through no choice of their own, with life in the midst of an industrial wind plant forced on their community, one that has ruined their rural way of life, that has disrupted their communities, livelihoods, health, wildlife, and their environment.

The suffering and sacrifice might at least mean something if there were any common good to be found in the Ontario Liberal government’s deployment of industrial wind turbines invading the landscape, but such is demonstrably not the case, in fact, quite the opposite. The industrial wind turbines are utterly useless, and extremely destructive. The people, communities, wildlife, the environment and the economy are being severely damaged, and yet the government is tone deaf, dumb and wilfully blind. It continues to use the punishing Green Energy Act, and the toothless Environmental Review Tribunal to ram its fatally-flawed, fake-green alternative energy program down the throats of the people of Ontario.

*Most of the mainstream media are blinded by the UN’s IPCC/Al Gore/David Suzuki-driven fake-green, phoney-planetary-emergency-of-climate change agenda (the rationale for industrial wind turbines), or even shamelessly act as chief propagandists for it, our national broadcaster CBC included. In Ontario, they are missing the unfolding real, big-picture tragedy, of which the gas plant scandal is just one part of a much more massive and costlier catastrophe.

The Ontario Liberals have handed out lucrative permits giving wind companies unprecedented rights to industrialize vast swaths of the Ontario countryside in the absence of any cost benefit analysis or human health studies, and with environmental assessments and turbine-caused bird and bat death monitoring conducted by the wind companies themselves. Ontario now has the most expensive electricity costs in North America, while it is at the same time giving away or selling excess power at a loss.

How much longer are Ontarians going to endure this utterly insane, socially and financially ruinous situation?

Muriel Blair lives in the area of Middlesex-Lambton counties and joined industrial wind turbine protesters at the Thedford Bog near Grand Bend, Lake Huron, on Sunday, April 6, 2014:

I’m concerned about the health issues with the cumulative effect of the hundreds of wind turbines. It is going to be pretty substantial for the residents of my community. We’re going to be surrounded by a NextEra project, a couple of Suncor projects, and a couple more NextEra projects going towards the lake. So this whole community is going to be one huge wind turbine, industrial area. 

And I’m also concerned about the wildlife. Currently there is an eagle’s nest that is active in the Bornish wind project. It is now a little over 800 metres from the substation that they’ve built, and the MInistry of the Environment has been monitoring it and they have confirmed that the eagles have nested in it. But what they’re planning on doing is running transmission lines into the protected area of the eagle. So that is definitely going to affect the eagle.

But I also worry…I mean, this beautiful area here, where we have this fantastic migration area for these swans…I don’t know…these swans are not going to be coming back, they are not going to be coming back. There are going to be too many wind turbines. So it’s a big concern.

And can you imagine how tourists are going to want to come and spend their money and their time here when it’s surrounded by industrial wind turbines?  And even today, early April, late March, this is tourism because the people coming to see the swans are coming from all over. They come from the States, they come from Toronto. You know, they flock here. And do they spend their money here? Yes! I don’t think this is going to be here when the wind turbines are up and operating.

CLICK ON IMAGE TO PLAY VIDEO (some wind noise)

It’s just shocking, is just shocking. The Liberal government is destroying rural Ontario! Not to mention our Hydro. Our Hydro system is just going down the tubes, when residents are paying 45% more for their Hydro, thanks to the Green Energy Act. And the subsidies that are being paid to these multinational corporations that aren’t even Canadian! It’s crazy! I think that the sooner we get rid of the Liberal government, the better.

They want the residents of rural Ontario to be shipped into the cities and the farms taken over by corporations, and the corporations do the farming. Then they can put all the industry they want next to the farms and they don’t have to worry about people. And everybody is in an urban centre. I really believe that’s what their long-term goal is. Because there’s so much to offer out here and I don’t think they’re going to stop at the wind turbines. I think once they have control of that land they are going to start frakking. Because they’re already talking about natural gas prices going up and how they are running out of natural gas because we have had such a cold winter. So I really believe that is the next thing that rural Ontario is going to see.

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*Donna Laframboise on the subject of the mainstream media (emphasis added):

If history is anything to judge by, mainstream media reports will overflow with misinformation written by two kinds of people: reporters relatively new to the topic who don’t have the first clue how the IPCC actually functions – or ‘environmental journalists’ who are fundamentally confused about what their job is.

A journalist’s first loyalty is supposed to be the public interest. Ensuring that the public is informed about the shortcomings and limitations of powerful organizations is what journalists are supposed to do. Instead, we’re now plagued by “environment correspondents” who think their primary purpose is saving the planet.

Those people have long parroted the IPCC’s rose-coloured view of itself. They haven’t conducted the most basic fact-checking. They haven’t asked the most rudimentary questions. As Australian writer Joanne Nova is fond of saying, the opposite of skeptical is gullible and the world now has no shortage of that kind of journalist.

Industrial wind turbines and human health: Whitewash for the white coats

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“Don’t tell me about the science” – Wind Turbines and Human Health: An Emotional Topic

You already knew from the cavalier seminar title where this presentation was going to be heading. However, in his introduction, the presenter promised a balanced discussion on the issue of wind turbines and human health so that health care practitioners and academics could have informed dialogue. Mmmm. Really?

The seminar/webinar was hosted in Toronto by Public Health Ontario on March 20, 2014, and was given by Loren Knopper Ph.D., an environmental health scientist and co-lead of Intrinsik Environmental Science’s Renewable Energy Health Team, with stated expertise in industrial wind turbines and human health.

Knopper failed to offer a disclaimer that “a number” of his clients are wind developers (unless he stated it when the webinar’s sound failed for two brief periods). This information came to light in the question period following his presentation. It’s a very important point because the wind industry denies, despite some good evidence, that industrial wind turbines can cause adverse health effects. Obviously, one would not want any inconvenient truths alienating clients with deep, government-guaranteed, subsidy-enhanced pockets.

Knopper started out by asserting that, “Generally, public attitude favours the idea of wind energy.” It was interesting that this Ph.D. scientist who insisted heavily on research rigour in his critique of the research studies later on, was in this instance not presenting any empirical evidence to support his statement. Instead, he showed a slide of a silly HSBC ad depicting splayed banana skins stood upright to look like wind turbines with the tagline: “In the future, there will be no difference between waste and energy.” The same slide had a photo of a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency window with a small picture of wind turbines in it, meant to support his claim that there is general public acceptance of wind energy. Of course, neither of these organizations’ displays reflect public attitude, but rather self-interested propaganda for what is actually a green energy disaster. But never mind. Knopper did admit that his version of public favour does not mean local acceptance of wind projects. No surprise there.

Scientific merit depends on the objectivity and scientific rigour of the beholder

Knopper’s seminar was essentially a look at the issue of industrial wind turbines and human health, an overview of the scientific literature on the subject, and his conclusions of the weight of evidence based on studies he deemed to have scientific merit.

In judging any scientific study, it’s imperative to go to the original work and evaluate the soundness of the methodology and analysis the researchers used. In his presentation, Knopper did not hesitate to allege statistical and other deficiencies that he thought negated the results of key studies that have concluded that industrial wind turbine operations do cause adverse health effects. He also emphasized that “many” of these studies were published in one journal, The Bulletin of Science Technology & Society, and stated more than once that their authors were on the advisory board of the Society for Wind Vigilance, an obvious attempt to imply that these facts tainted their work.

As we have already mentioned, Knopper failed to disclose his close business association with wind developers until he was asked the question after the presentation, and he certainly did not mention it when he talked about his own published research. And in fact, some people in the audience noted that in at least one case, the research he himself conducted in collaboration with his colleagues had serious problems of its own (Projected contributions of future wind farm development to community noise and annoyance levels in Ontario, Canada). Critics in the audience took exception to the fact the data Knopper used were derived from computer models that came from wind turbine developers’ asessments of noise for proposed or approved projects, not data from actually operating wind turbines. He also had to admit that he could not “speak exactly to what the developers and their consultants have been measuring or modelling” (with respect to which type of decibel). His knowledgeable audience critics questioned why he was showing them this study if he could not identify, consider or control for an important variable in the data he analyzed.

So while Knopper seemed keen to allege deficiencies in studies showing that there are health problems associated with the operations of wind turbines, he avoided any such analysis of studies that come to the opposite conclusion. Amongst others, he mentioned an often-cited study from New Zealand purporting to show that psychological expectations explain health complaints due to wind turbines. In fact, the flawed study merely confirms that there is such a thing as suggestibility and says nothing credible about wind turbine health problems per se. But wind proponents and their supporters love to refer to it as support for the notion that adverse health effects relating to wind turbines are not real, just in people’s suggestible-prone heads.

Weight of scientific evidence is heavily biased

Knopper concluded, not surprisingly, that “based on the findings and scientific merit” (his emphasis) of the available studies, the weight of the evidence indicates that wind turbines are not connected to adverse health effects, when sited properly. But do we even know what “sited properly” means? (Not that these useless and destructive industrial monsters should be sited anywhere.) In Ontario, the 550 metre set-back for industrial wind turbines is an arbitrary standard drawn out of thin air. No government health study was conducted to come up with this measure.

Knopper went on to support his conclusion with reference to government statements to the same effect, that is, governments that had or have a vested interest in removing all conceivable obstacles to the implementation of their misguided green energy programs. He also cited legal proceedings such as 19 Ontario Environmental Review Tribunal (ERT) hearings, and an Ontario Divisional Court appeal. What he failed to mention is that in those arenas, the rules ensure that the odds are stacked against being able to prove that industrial wind turbines cause adverse health effects. Under the unfair stipulations of Ontario’s Green Energy Act and the ERT, appellants have to achieve the impossible feat of proving that there will be serious health effects from a project that has not yet been built. He also did not mention that some wind companies have violated the mandatory setbacks, and when they do in Ontario, the Ministry of the Environment and the Ministry of Health reportedly do next to nothing to enforce the standard, such as it is. What effect does that have on people’s safety?

Indeed, don’t tell me about the (biased, compromised) science!

Bitter, cold (Part 2): Predatory pilfering, plundering, and axing an eagle’s nest

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The protesters, predominately rural residents of Ontario, who gathered in front of the Ontario Legislative Building at Queen’s Park on a bitterly cold February 24 to protest against the massive proliferation of useless industrial wind factories in the countryside, were cheered by the words of a number of speakers.

Sherri Lange, CEO, NA-PAW, North American Platform Against Wind Power, gave a brief overview of the failure of and waning support for wind power internationally, and commented on the Liberal government’s willful continuation of the billion dollar wind boondoggle here in Ontario:

It amounts to pilfering and plunder in a predatory manner, because they know what they are doing. And this is terrible, when you have a government that knows what it’s doing. Have you not all supplied them with information, about the problems with wind power? Yes, we have supplied them with that information, repeatedly, thousands, if not millions of times. And they persist. They have plans for 4,900 more of these… I don’t think so!

In the video below, a 13-year-old girl spoke with great passion and conviction about “the appalling actions of our provincial government” when it allowed NextEra Energy to cut down an active bald eagle’s nest last year in order to make way for an access road for an industrial wind turbine project:

I cannot believe this happened! This was a cowardly act by our provincial government, the MNR and the members of this huge business – NextEra Energy. They say that this is green energy? How, I ask you, is this green energy? Cutting down an active bald eagle nest? Might I add, on an old cottonwood tree, hundreds of years old and a very important part of our natural history? I don’t buy it! Our voices must be heard and they will be heard! The members of the Liberal government must know that wind energy is a fantasy, at best!

CLICK ON PICTURE TO WATCH VIDEO

 

Continue to Part 3 for text and video of more speakers.

Bitter, cold: anti-Wynne/wind turbine protest at Queen’s Park

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Hundreds of people from rural Ontario piled into buses to Toronto, and on a freezing and windy February 24, gathered in front of the Ontario Legislative Building at Queen’s Park, and then at the Royal York Hotel, to protest against the Liberal’s Green Energy Act and to condemn Premier Kathleen Wynne’s continued cold-hearted proliferation of destructive, extremely harmful and utterly useless industrial wind turbines in the Ontario landscape. The monster machines have made life a special kind of hell for the people living in their midst, and represent a horrendous, possibly corrupt economic, environmental and fiscal Liberal boondoggle.

Urbanites should scroll down and take a good look at the faces of these brave people whose communities are being turned into industrial wind factories, and whose health, livelihood, quality of life, community harmony, wildlife, environment, and property values are being systematically destroyed.

Meanwhile, electricity costs are going through the roof and will continue to climb every time a useless, giant wind turbine, with its 20-year guarantee of above-market returns for the (often foreign) owners is erected. Everyone in Ontario except the wind turbine owners and their government enablers loses.

How much longer are we in Ontario going to tolerate this absolutely insane, toxic and corrupt situation?

IMG_7955Above: In front of the Ontario Legislative Building at Queen’s Park. A sign reads: “Ontario paid Americans to take $120 million worth of our electricity in December while Toronto froze” (when the heat and lights shut off during the huge ice storm).

IMG_7952Above: At Queen’s Park protesters braved freezing temperature and icy wind chill.

IMG_7949Above: At Queen’s Park protesters heard stories of personal tragedy, politicians’ promises, and news giving hope that the destructive tide of fake-green alternative energy scams such as wind power may be turning. Rural residents have been trying to make their voices and complaints heard for years, but the government has responded with silence, brush-offs, platitudes, and even more undemocratic regulations favouring wind companies. Urbanites must make an effort to research and become aware of the tragedy taking place in their backyard and join the demand for a moratorium on new wind projects and a halt to the costly and useless operations currently underway.

IMG_7956Above: At Queen’s Park a variety of speakers addressed the crowd. A report on what they said and promised to come in a future post.

IMG_7958Above: Following the speeches, the protesters marched from Queen’s Park ten blocks down University Avenue to demonstrate in front of the Royal York Hotel. They were kept safe from traffic by police mounted on bicycles.

protestAbove: On the march down to the Royal York Hotel, protesters handed out leaflets to Toronto passersby. This one refers to the fact that each industrial wind turbine requires 800 tons of concrete for its base. Green, eh? Three turbines are planned to be built over an aquifer that supplies water to Walkerton, with its horrific, lethal, contaminated water tragedy of 2000 still fresh in the community’s memory. Protesters said that the government does not require that the concrete, which apparently contains heavy metals and toxic chemicals, be removed when the turbines are decommissioned.

IMG_7964Above: Arrival at the Royal York Hotel where a meeting of politicians, NGOs and Premier Wynne was reportedly taking place.

IMG_7971Above: Protesters bear witness in front of the Royal York Hotel.

IMG_7979Above: Edvard Munch’s The Scream effectively conveys the existential horror that rural Ontarions must endure under the relentless, implacable, seemingly unstoppable industrialization of the countryside.

IMG_7980Above: Landowners could simply have said “NO” to wind operators, but communities that declare themselves “Unwilling Hosts” carry no weight under the draconian, undemocratic dictates of the Green Energy Act which gives industrial wind turbines unprecedented rights.

IMG_7981Above: Industrial wind turbines despoil the natural beauty of the Ontario landscape, in addition to all the other evils the monster machines represent. This signs sums up what it means for tourism.

IMG_7984Above: A study, entitled ‘Wind Turbine Noise, Sleep Quality, and Symptoms of Inner Ear Problems’, funded by the University of Waterloo and the Ontario Ministry of Environment found statistically significant results for sleep, vertigo and tinnitus: “All relationships were found to be positive and statistically significant.” The Ontario Ministry of the Health and Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health do not seem to be overly troubled by this report. No health studies were done before industrial wind turbines began to infest rural Ontario.

IMG_7985Above: A call to action.

Continue to Part 2 for text and video of speakers.

There will be blood on the ground: permission to kill and do serious, irreversible harm

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An Ontario Divisional Court overturned last year’s decision by the Ontario Environmental Review Tribunal that stopped the construction of nine industrial wind turbines that would despoil the environmentally sensitive Ostrander Point, situated on provincially-owned Crown land in Prince Edward County. Last year, the Tribunal had revoked the approval, given by the Ministry of the Environment (MOE) in December 2012, on the basis that the Blanding’s turtle would suffer serious and irreversible harm if the development went ahead.

The MOE joined the project proponent, Gilead Power, in an appeal of the Tribunal’s ruling to the Ontario Divisional Court. “Three lawyers from the Ministry of Environment and the Attorney General’s office argued that their own MOE-appointed panel had erred,” said the Wellington Times.

With the Divisional Court’s decision on February 20, 2014, Gilead Power Corporation is presumably once again entitled, according to the permit it was originally granted on July 23, 2012 by the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR) under the Endangered Species Act, 2007 (ESA), “to ‘damage and destroy the habitat of Eastern Whip-poor-will’, as well as to ‘kill, harm, harass, capture, possess and transport’ both Blanding‟s turtle and Whip-poor-will, resulting from the development and operation of the Project” (from the Tribunal’s ruling, see Alliance to Protect Prince Edward County v. July 3, 2013).

Permits to kill, harm, harass, capture, possess and transport a species at risk or to damage and destroy its habitat are no longer issued to industrial wind turbine developers, but not for the reasons you may think.

Seven months ago the Ontario government almost completely undid its leash on the marauding weasels of wind. It gave up its power to monitor and regulate what the industrial wind turbine developers do to wildlife and the environment, making it even easier for the wind companies to do their dirty work, and harder than ever for concerned citizens and communities to assert their rights. New regulations granting more special rights to wind companies state in part:

On July 1, 2013, a series of regulatory amendments came into force creating broad exemptions from the ESA’s requirements to obtain a permit or agreement prior to harming a species at risk or its habitat. Instead of requiring permits or agreements, the Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR) now allows companies to follow rules set out in regulation. This is generally called a permit-by-rule system.

Under the amended regulation, eligible proponents are automatically given an exemption provided they follow the prescribed rules. MNR has given up its power to say “no” to any project, regardless of the ecological importance of the area or the possibility there will be damaging cumulative impacts on the species at risk or its habitat.

Although proponents are generally required to document the measures they will take to minimize “adverse effects” on species, proponents almost never have to submit the documentation to MNR. MNR will therefore have no ability to know whether the permit-by-rule system is actually protecting species at risk.

The government’s own Environmental Commissioner has stated:

“By eliminating the permit process, the Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR) has shed its ability to say ‘no’ to a proposed activity, no matter how harmful it may be to an imperilled species,” says Commissioner Miller. “And since proponents don’t have to file any monitoring reports with the ministry, MNR will be blind to the effectiveness of its new rules.”

The Ontario Liberal government is wilfully enabling the destruction of the environment (not to mention people’s health, communities, property values, quality of life) for a fake-green technology that has proven to be useless and has already wasted billions of dollars. It’s enough to make you scream at the insanity, the government’s dereliction of fiduciary duty to the people, and the perversion of democracy in Ontario.