“For, lo, the winter is past, the rain is over and gone; the flowers appear on the earth; the time of the singing of birds is come, and the voice of the turtle is heard in our land;”
— Song of Solomon 2:11-12
Traditional opinion says Solomon wrote that song as early as 995 BCE, when he was King of Israel.
But his words are also appropriate today, as nature lovers in Prince Edward County celebrate the return of their hope for preserving nature’s blessings.
County residents – and turtles – have finally won a prolonged legal battle that has raged since May, 2013 over wind turbines.
Last month, an Environmental Review Tribunal (ERT) ruled the White Pines wind energy project must be reduced from 27 turbine sites to nine because proposed mitigations were insufficient to protect Blanding’s turtles.
County citizens are now hoping the project will be cancelled because it will no longer be viable for the developer.
Generally speaking, citizen groups opposed to industrial wind factories have long argued they have never been financially viable for Ontario.
They are heavily subsidized by the province and have contributed to dramatically increasing electricity bills.
But Premier Kathleen Wynne’s government keeps prolonging her costly support for Ontario’s much-hated Green Energy Act, passed by her predecessor, Dalton McGuinty.
For rural communities, wind factories are not socially viable.
They set neighbour against neighbour.
They threaten wildlife and, many believe, pose a threat to human health.
Last June was the first “D-day” in the turtles versus wind turbines battle.
An ERT ruled that proposed mitigations for a nine-turbine wind factory at neighbouring Ostrander Point, would not adequately protect the population or the habitat of the resident Blanding’s turtles.
That proposed project was rejected following several months of legal proceedings.
Since 2000, local citizens involved in these battles have incurred more than $1 million in legal fees to defend their health, their environment, their local economies and their wildlife.
They dug into their personal savings to do it.
Similar costly battles in other rural communities have gone on across the province.
Over 100 turbine-threatened municipalities have declared themselves “Not a willing host” to industrial wind factories.
They want Wynne to restore their right to regulate local energy-related developments, which was taken away by the Liberals’ 2009 Green Energy Act.
While taxpayers had to come up with $1 million out of their own pockets to fight just one project, the Ontario government and a few multinational corporations have spent many millions more in bids to deprive local citizens and municipalities of any say regarding the location of industrial wind factories.
Our government has used our money to deprive us of our rights.
Funded by our tax dollars and electricity bills, it builds wind factories and exports unneeded electricity at a loss, while fighting us in court.
The result has been escalating electricity bills, despite an energy surplus, with minimal carbon emission reductions.
Amazingly, the Ontario government recently permitted the White Pines developer to begin clearing wildlife habitat for its project.
Now, 18 of 27 proposed turbine sites in this project have been disallowed.
It’s time for a new regime of common sense to replace the Liberal reign of stupidity on wind turbines.
It’s time for the voice of the turtle – and the people – to be heard again, in our land.