Who will fight for the rare habitat and endangered species?
When it announced that it was approving the industrial wind factory at Ostrander Point on December 20,the Ministry of Environment set in motion a15-day appeal period. The clock started ticking immediately and throughout the Christmas holidays.
If the Ministry bureaucrats—or the forces behind them—were hoping to catch residents, local government and other groups flat-footed, they failed. Council will decide later today whether it will take up the fight. Meanwhile, Prince Edward County Field Naturalists have stepped up to appeal the decision.
“We opposed this project from day one; it will be disastrous to wildlife—including endangered species—and the natural habitat,” said Myrna Wood, vice president of the PEC Field Naturalists in a statement. “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.”
The Field Naturalists have retained attorney Eric Gillespie to launch the appeal. Gillespie is a familiar name to many in Prince Edward County. In 2010, on behalf of Ian Hanna, Gillespie argued before a judicial re-view panel that provisions of the Green Energy Act were fatally flawed because they didn’t sufficiently protect human health.
“An environmental lawyer, Gillespie has been working in the wind energy field since the flawed Green Energy Act was imposed,” said Wood. “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.”
Previous appeals were based upon the risk to human health and the degradation of property values nearby the industrial wind turbines. This will be the first to test whether the province can erect 40-storey turbines in a migratory flightway, near an Important Bird Area, and disrupt the habitat of two endangered species in the name of green energy.
Other opponents are likely to coalesce around the Field Naturalists’ appeal. It will be expensive. Early estimates suggest the appeal will cost more than $100,000.
The PEC Field Naturalists are appealing for help.
“County residents have shown through petitions, plebiscites and demonstrations they agree with the Field Naturalists that Ostrander Point is the wrong place for wind turbines,” said Wood. “Now the Field Naturalists need your help to fight the desecration of the South Shore natural habitat.”
Cheques can be made payable to the Ostrander Point Appeal Fund and mailed to Myrna Wood, 59 King St. Unit 2, Picton K0K 2T0.
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