wpd Canada has notified the Environmental Review Tribunal (ERT) it intends to proceed with clearing vegetation this week of the White Pines project on the County’s south shore.
The industrial wind turbine developer sent an email to the ERT late Thursday, before the long weekend, stating its intention to begin clearing of vegetation in areas other than those identified as Blandings turtle habitat, beginning Wednesday, April 19.
In absence of a final decision on the project, wpd also asked the ERT for a motion date to lift the existing ‘stay’ the Alliance to Protect Prince Edward County (APPEC) obtained April 8 last year to prevent clearing in the turtles’ spring foraging habitat. wpd began clearing trees at the sites for the 27-turbine project April 4 last year.
APPEC obtained the stay last year at this time, and will again submit photographs and statements showing evidence the Blandings turtles have been active on the south shore for some time already this season.
“We believe these proposed and premature construction activities by wpd illustrate again the willingness of wind energy proponents to risk environmental damage in order to advance their increasingly unwanted and unecessary projects,” said Gord Gibbons, chair of APPEC.
The Tribunal, following a 21-day hearing in December 2015, issued an order in February 2016 that the project “will cause serious and irreversible harm” to animal life and the natural environment – including the endangered Blandings turtles and Little Brown bats.
A hearing was held in January to hear “remedy” plans to prevent loss of life. A decision has not been made and is expected any day.
wpd needs to begin its project to avoid breach of its contract with the IESO which may declare default and terminate the agreement.
The difference between the wpd project and the nine-turbine project that the Prince Edward County Field Naturalists (and Blandings turtle) witnessed victory over last summer, is that the wpd plan is to be built on private lands where Gilead Power’s project involved public land.
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