Bat-tered: Government Cancels Approval for Completed Wind Farm to Save Endangered Bat Species

Following the cancellation of 758 wind projects in Ontario, its government has further delighted locals with the decision to revoke approval for the (almost complete) Nations Rise project, at North Stormont, near Ottawa.

This time the decision announced by Jeff Yurek, Ontario’s Minister of Environment, Conservation and Parks, was not one based purely on the flawed economics of the project, as in the other 758 cases.

This time, the government pulled the plug in order to prevent the inevitable annihilation of Hoary, Big and Little Brown bats; the Little Brown bat is identified as one of Ontario’s ‘Species at Risk’.

We’ll hand over to – an obviously delighted – Sherri Lange.

A GREAT DAY FOR BATS WORLD WIDE

This is a completely brilliant move. The developers can never argue about the efficacy and ESSENTIAL power of saving nature’s quiet little eco warriors, Bats. They are in serious decline world wide.

We are very aware that the developers’ consultants deny the existence of roosts, habitat, and have barrelled projects through to fruition.

We know from the work of Esther Wrightman, from her FOI’s, that bats (and birds) are notoriously under reported in post construction surveys. As the Minister as also pointed out, these proposed surveys of bats for Nations Rise, are scant and completely inadequate for conservation and preservation. This obfuscation is one of the darkest places on the planet now: allowing so much environmental destruction via a conduit of Expert PAID Misinformation.

While Ontario has already sent a signal to land grabbing, cash seeking, developers, cancelling 758 wind and solar projects, this is another nail in the coffin.

Please celebrate with the people and communities of Stormont, especially Ruby Metker and Rainer Pethke, who relentlessly and methodically and very collaboratively met with any and all groups that could assist them, people who have a track record of being on the mark with fighting wind turbines. Yes, more groups also need to our thanks. We know them all. We have all been in this fight a very long time.

Congratulations to all who fought, and WON. This is a very sweet victory, not only for people, for water, for health, but also for the endangered species of bats that are at perilously low levels of sustainability.
Sherri Lange

Ontario cancels nearly-built $200M wind farm over threat to bat populations
Ottawa Citizen
Kelly Egan
10 December 2019

Ontario’s Environment Minister has cancelled a $200-million wind farm south of Ottawa — one almost fully constructed — because the giant turbines pose a threat to nearby bat populations.

In a Dec. 4 letter, Minister Jeff Yurek said he’s revoking the approval given to the Nation Rise Wind Farm, which has already erected a number of the 29 planned turbines in a rural area near the villages of Crysler and Finch in the Township of North Stormont.

The surprising decision comes about seven months after construction began on the 100-megawatt project, proposed by EDP Renewables, a subsidiary of a multinational with North American headquarters in Texas.

Yurek wrote to Margaret Benke, an appellant and leading critic of Nation Rise, that he was concerned about the effect of 200-metre high turbines on colonies of Hoary bats and Big and Little Brown bats, the latter being listed on Ontario’s Species at Risk list.

“In my view, the harm will be both serious and irreversible to animal life given the relatively small bat species populations in the local area.”

The minister also said he has the authority to “confirm, alter or revoke” a January decision of the Environmental Review Tribunal “as I consider in the public interest.” He also said he had to consider the potential harm to the wildlife “in the context of the minimal contribution the project is likely to have on the electricity supply in Ontario.”

The wind farm had caused deep divisions in the community as the township had twice voted against being a “willing host” for the project.

While some 70 property owners were happy about leasing land to EDP, many others were concerned about noise, the visual disruption and the possible impacts on health and the water table in the area.

The victors: Jean-Serge Brisson, Randy Lamb, Ruby Mekker, Beth Trudeau and husband John Trudeau.

Benke is a founding member of the grassroots organization Concerned Citizens of North Stormont. She appealed the approval from the Review Tribunal, which had held nine days of hearings in the fall of 2018.

The retired principal, a lifelong resident of the area, said she had to read the Yurek letter twice to make sure she didn’t misunderstand the stunning outcome.

“I was thrilled,” she said Monday. “There is no real mitigation measure to protect the bats.” She’s been fighting the battle for more than four years and estimates Concerned Citizens has spent in excess of $100,000 to fight the plan.

EDP Renewables said it “strongly objects” to Yurek’s decision. It has, however, halted construction and is assessing “all potential legal actions” because the project was already approved by Yurek’s own’s ministry and ratified by the tribunal.

The Conservative government of Doug Ford — and the premier himself — have been critical of so-called industrial wind farms but this was the last one approved by the departing Liberal government in May 2018, only days before the election writ was dropped.

In July 2018, only weeks after taking office, the Ford government nixed the Green Energy Act and cancelled 758 early-stage renewable-energy projects.

EDP says the project has created more than 230 construction jobs and, over the next 30 years, would pump some $45 million into the local economy through municipal taxes, a community benefit fund, charitable contributions and landowner fees. It has already built a network of roads and laid a great deal of electrical cable in the area.

Since signing a contract in 2016, EDP has done a number of studies related to the effects of the wind farm, including noise models, a wildlife analysis, geological work, and following regulated setbacks of 550 metres from the nearest house.

It said experts had provide evidence the project would have “no material adverse effects” on the natural environment, including the bat population.

“Decisions of this nature should be based on science and law, yet there was no expert testimony or evidence presented at the Tribunal or to the Minister that would provide a reasonable rationale for the Minister’s decision.”

Opponents were thrilled to hear about the reversal, as even their own MPP had told them the project was too advanced to stop.

“I am ecstatic,” said Ruby Mekker, 68, a retired educator and one of the project’s most vocal opponents. “I can’t believe that they actually sided in favour of the people. I’m so thrilled.”

She says a handful of wells in the area have already had problems suspected to be connected to the wind farm infrastructure.

About six of the turbines are fully built and another half-dozen have the towers erected. The project was to be finished in the first quarter of 2020.
Ottawa Citizen

Nation Rise approval revoked by Environment minister to protect endangered bats; developer threatening legal action
National Valley News
9 December 2019

NORTH STORMONT — Citing “irreversible harm” to endangered bats, Jeff Yurek, Ontario Minister of Environment, Conservation and Parks, has issued a decision revoking the Renewable Energy Approval for the Nation Rise wind power project being built in North Stormont, near Ottawa.

“Perplexed” by the minister’s “unprecedented” move it says has forced a halt to construction, developer EDP Renewables Canada Ltd. is now assessing “potential legal actions.”

The minister’s decision — a copy of which has been obtained by NVN — was in response to an appeal filed by community group Concerned Citizens of North Stormont of a quasi-judicial decision supporting the project approval.

Yurek concluded “that the wind turbines would cause serious and irreversible harm to endangered bat populations in the area. The potential for harm to wildlife was considered in the context of the contribution to Ontario’s electricity supply in Ontario, which would be minimal, and the minister concluded it was in the public interest and a precaution to protect the environment to revoke approval” for the 29-turbine project,” says Wind Concerns Ontario — an opponent of the turbine industry — in its assessment of the decision.

Ministry of Environment, Conservation and Parks (MECP) spokesperson Gary Wheeler said that Yurek’s cancellation of Nation Rise’s REA was made “upon careful consideration.”

“It is the minister’s belief that the project is likely to cause serious and irreversible harm to the local bat populations,” said Wheeler, adding that Yurek has directed ministry staff “to review how harm to bats is assessed as part of the renewable energy approval process and related guidelines …”

Margaret Benke, representing the Concerned Citizens of North Stormont (CCNS) welcomed the minister’s decision. The group had raised many concerns about the environment in its appeal. “Now,” she says, “the environment, wildlife and human health will be protected from the harmful effects of wind turbines.”

Benke thanked the many people who supported the Concerned Citizens group financially and with submissions of information for the original appeal before the Environmental Review Tribunal and subsequent appeal to the minister. “This power project has been very divisive for our community; now North Stormont can again be a good place to grow.”

The Nation Rise project had been granted approval for up 33 turbines located near Finch, Berwick and Crysler in Eastern Ontario. The project was planned to generate up to 100 megawatts of electricity under a 20-year, $400-million contract awarded by the IESO.

CCNS is a community group member of the Wind Concerns Ontario coalition.

NVN is seeking comment from other concerned parties in the township.

Ruby Mekker, an outspoken neighbour of the project, said, “I am thrilled. We’ve had so many false hopes. Thank you, Mr. Yurek.”

It’s not without precedent for the Ford government to kibosh a wind turbine project already under construction. Earlier this year, the partially built White Pines project in Prince Edward County was halted by special legislation; disassembly began this fall. The Ford Conservatives had run on an election platform promising to end renewable energy contracts in 2018. For local Tory supporters, Nation Rise stood out as a perplexing exception when the project broke ground this year, entirely under the watch of the governing party.

While the developer had the province’s green light for 33 turbines, the final number was scaled back to 29 by upsizing the generator size to achieve the same combined maximum output. All 29 concrete foundations have been poured — each consuming between 500 and 700 cubic meters of cement — and six of the turbine towers have been erected to date. Kilometres of temporary roads have been constructed onto private fields to access the turbine sites, and kilometres of communication cables have been trenched along local roadways to accommodate the build.
Nation Valley News

About stopthesethings

We are a group of citizens concerned about the rapid spread of industrial wind power generation installations across Australia.

Comments

  1. As much as one must see this as good news for the community of North Stormont because their bats will be spared, it leaves the residents in other communities in rural Ontario, who are being harmed by acoustic radiation, wondering when they will get the same protection from the Ministry of the Environment that the bats of North Stormont have been granted.
    Acoustic pressure waves bombarding bodies of residents living within recklessly sited turbine clusters are causing cumulative harm.

  2. Whatever it takes to stop this gov/crony rip off! Study the science behind wind energy and it’s easy to see it is not the solution. Health and wildlife risks are real and there is no benefit to the climate. Only fills the pocket of the corrupt!

  3. Reblogged this on Climate- Science.press.

  4. Richard Mann says:

    It is well past time to turn off Turbines due to known and documented health harm. Please ask anyone who denies health harm of Industrial Wind Turbines to watch this presentation. University of Waterloo, Waterloo Ontario Canada.

    Title: “Infrasound and Low Frequency Noise: Physics & Cells, History & Health”
    Speaker: Dr Mariana Alves-Pereira
    Location: University of Waterloo
    Date: September 12, 2019

    Video archive of presentation:
    https://livestream.com/itmsstudio/events/8781285

    Dr. Alves-Pereira’s research profile is at https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Mariana_Alves-pereira

    Note; there is approx 2 mins of dead air at the beginning. The talk is ~50 minutes, followed by a long Q&A.

  5. Reblogged this on ajmarciniak.

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