Bravo to the Environmental Review Tribunal for standing up
for endangered species. On July 3, after a 40-day hearing,
the ERT revoked Gilead Power's renewable energy approval
(REA) to develop a
wind farm on 324 hectares of Crown land in Prince Edward
County's Ostrander Point. But not because there was
anything harmful about the turbines.See our
earlier blog for a brief overview of the issues.
There was also no proof that the turbines would cause
unacceptable harm to wildlife, including birds and bats. The ERT
found that Prince Edward County Field
Naturalists (PECFN) failed to prove that the turbines
would cause serious and irreversible harm to birds or to their
habitat, or to bats or Monarch butterflies. Nor did the PECFN show
that removal of alvar vegetation (i.e., located on open areas with
thin soil covering over limestone, which provides habitat for these
vulnerable species) for turbine construction would cause serious
and irreversible harm to the alvar ecosystem.
Road is harmful
However, the road that would lead to the turbines was another
matter entirely. On a very small budget, the PECFN
successfully proved that the road would cause serious and
irreversible harm to the Blanding's turtle, a threatened
species in Ontario. The approximately 5.4 km of roadway, around 6
metres wide, would open the area to increased vehicle traffic,
predators and poachers, significantly threatening the slow-moving
turtles. The ERT ruled that this danger could not be
effectively mitigated by the conditions set out in the REA.
The REA was therefore revoked.
Congratulations to the Prince Edward County Field
Naturalists for protecting the Blanding's turtles. We
are strong supporters of renewable energy, but that doesn't
mean that renewable energy projects belong everywhere, especially
at the cost of endangered species. There are places that roads, and
other developments, just do not belong. This was the right
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