Wind Energy ... Comments required

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Wind Energy ... Comments required

Postby adminjt » Sat Dec 18, 2010 4:57 pm

From http://www.ontarionature.org

Help protect birds and their habitat

How you can help:
1. Write a letter. You can use our sample below as a starting point.
2. Share this Action Alert with a friend to spread the word
Related Information
• Ontario's Endangered Species Act
________________________________________



EBR Registry No: 011-0112
The Ministry of Natural Resources recently posted guidelines on the Environmental Bill of Rights Registry (EBR) that outline ways to address the potentially negative impacts of turbines on birds and bird habitat. Ontario Nature supports regulations that impose rigorous standards for proper siting of wind turbines, but the Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR) guidelines are not nearly as stringent as they need to be to achieve the goal of minimum or no damage to bird life and the habitats birds depend on.
Ontario Nature is urging the Province to require careful siting of wind projects, adequate pre-construction monitoring, and strong mitigation measures to address any unacceptable impacts on birds once the turbines are in operation. Please register your comments on the guidelines by December 20, 2010.
Our key recommendations are:
1. Prohibit wind power development in Important Bird Areas. The draft guidelines recognize that project siting is a key factor in preventing harm to bird and bird habitat. Yet the guidelines are vague and weakly worded on this issue, with siting requirements limited to a site investigation and records review. No mention is made of the importance of internationally recognized Important Bird Areas (IBAs), even though there is broad agreement among conservation organizations that wind power development should be prohibited in these areas. (For more information on IBAs see www.ibacanada.com).
When projects are inappropriately sited, the consequences can be devastating. A case in point is the Wolfe Island wind farm near Kingston, Ontario, where 86 turbines began producing electricity last year. Between July and December, the turbines killed 602 birds and 1,270 bats. Over those six months, the average number of birds killed per turbine was seven—much higher than the industry average of one to two birds per turbine annually. These fatalities are not surprising given that the project is located in a globally significant IBA.
Even now, another controversial project is being considered in a globally significant IBA at Ostrander Point, in Prince Edward County. Ostrander Point has been nominated as a provincial Area of Natural and Scientific Interest and is adjacent to the Prince Edward Point National Wildlife Area, specifically designated for its significance to migratory birds. Ontario Nature, Nature Canada and other conservation organizations have met with government officials to express strong opposition to the project, and have requested that all IBAs be off limits to wind power development.
2. Establish meaningful and effective mortality thresholds. MNR is proposing a mortality threshold of 18 birds per turbine per year, nine times higher than the provincial average of two birds per turbine per year. MNR claims that such mortality levels are “sustainable,” but provides no supporting evidence. Exceeding the threshold would trigger mitigation measures and additional monitoring. Yet, the proposed threshold is so lax as to be meaningless: even when turbines are killing seven or eight times more than the provincial average, no action would be required.
3. Require public disclosure of all post-construction monitoring results. The guidelines indicate that a Best Management Practice for industry is to submit pre- and post-construction monitoring data to the Wind Energy Bird and Bat Monitoring Database to “facilitate an improved understanding of the effects of wind turbines on birds, allow for greater consistency in assessment of wind power effects and lead to future improvements in approval processes.” Yet the MNR guidelines do not require the submission of such information. Given the government’s intention to expedite wind power development across the province, it is critical that such information be shared and accessible to the public to allow independent assessments and to build the knowledge base.
Make your voice heard! Let MNR know that more stringent rules are needed to protect birds and bird habitat from the negative impacts of wind power development.
You can use the points above to draft a letter and post it online by December 20, 2010 by clicking here.
Or send a hard copy to the address below:
Kathleen Pitt, Program Officer
Ministry of Natural Resources
Policy Division, Renewable Energy Program
300 Water Street
Floor 5, Robinson Place South Tower
Peterborough, Ontario
K9J 8M5
Phone: (705) 755-5321
Be sure to reference the EBR registry number: 011-0112.
For a copy of the guidelines click here.
Please send a copy of your letter to Ontario Nature at 366 Adelaide St., W., Suite 201, Toronto, ON M5V 1R9 or email to mailto:anneb@ontarionature.org
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