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MPP wants answers on eagle eviction  

Hundreds have spoken out against the decision while the story has made headlines across the province and beyond. Barrett finds it interesting that the MNR upgraded the status of bald eagles from a species-at-risk to a species of special concern several weeks ago. The upgrade, Barrett says, conveniently coincides with the pending arrival of more than 180 turbines in Haldimand County. Barrett added that the nest’s removal represents a stunning admission that industrial wind turbines are hazardous to wildlife. “Very clearly, wind turbines kill eagles,” Barrett said. “Why else would they remove the nest?”

Credit:  By Monte Sonnenberg, Simcoe Reformer | January 9, 2013 | www.simcoereformer.ca ~~

SIMCOE – Haldimand-Norfolk MPP Toby Barrett is looking for answers in the aftermath of this week’s outcry over the destruction of an eagle’s nest in west Haldimand on the weekend.

The legislature in Toronto remains in recess while provincial Liberals pick a successor to outgoing Premier Dalton McGuinty. However, that hasn’t stopped Queen’s Park from buzzing about what some are calling an environmental travesty.

Barrett reported that the incident near Fisherville came up for discussion during a packed meeting Wednesday of the Progressive Conservative caucus. Barrett said no one was sympathetic to the Ministry of Natural Resource’s argument that the nest was destroyed to reduce the risk of bird mortality from a pending wind turbine project.

“Why would they make a decision like that?” Barrett said. “I want to know who made this call. I want to find out if someone directed MNR to grant this permit and go against its legislation. My gut feeling is there is something seriously wrong here. I want to find out whether this decision was made outside the MNR.”

The Summerhaven wind project belongs to Nextera Energy Canada. The MNR quietly issued the company a permit to remove the eagles’ nest Dec. 31 because it was in an area slated for three turbines. The MNR didn’t post word of the permit on its website until after 5 p.m. Friday. The crew that took down the tree in question began work Saturday morning before sunrise.

Hundreds have spoken out against the decision while the story has made headlines across the province and beyond. Barrett finds it interesting that the MNR upgraded the status of bald eagles from a species-at-risk to a species of special concern several weeks ago. The upgrade, Barrett says, conveniently coincides with the pending arrival of more than 180 turbines in Haldimand County.

Barrett added that the nest’s removal represents a stunning admission that industrial wind turbines are hazardous to wildlife.

“Very clearly, wind turbines kill eagles,” Barrett said. “Why else would they remove the nest?”

Also on Wednesday, Haldimand Mayor Ken Hewitt said he was “shocked” when told of the eagles’ eviction. Saturday’s incident, he said, reinforces the worst fears many have about the Green Energy Act and its impact on municipal land-planning authority. Under the act, decisions on renewable energy projects are removed from municipal jurisdiction.

“If there’s a flaw in the act, it’s that community involvement doesn’t happen,” Hewitt said. “This is typical of the act in its entirety. It just solidifies people’s view that things are being done without their input.”

The Fisherville area is on the eastern edge of the Long Point Region Conservation Authority watershed. Langton Coun. Roger Geysens, chair of the authority, expressed surprise this week that some believe the LPCRA was in on the decision. This, he said Tuesday, is untrue.

“This is not a good thing to do,” Geysens said. “I’d like to hear why the MNR allowed this to happen.”

Many in Norfolk are surprised that the MNR granted the permit when DeCarolis Farms Ltd. of Simcoe was fined $10,000 more than 10 years ago for chopping down trees near an eagle’s nest north of Fisher’s Glen. The MNR laid charges after an eaglet was found dead in the nest. There have been frequent suggestions in recent days of a double standard.

“I think DeCarolis should ask for his money back,” says Dr. Scott Petrie, executive director of Long Point Waterfowl. “If the province is giving permission for the removal of these nests, what message does that send to other landowners?”

Nearly 60 bald eagle breeding pairs have been identified in southern Ontario. A new couple built the nest near Fisherville last fall and were expected to lay eggs in it this spring.

Source:  By Monte Sonnenberg, Simcoe Reformer | January 9, 2013 | www.simcoereformer.ca

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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