These proposals are bad for communities and great for the waterpower industry. The proposed changes do not improve or strengthen the delivery of the government’s mandate to stakeholders and the public, instead it places the protection of the environment, safety and best interests of communities in the hands of the for-profit waterpower industry and individual waterpower facility owners. The proposed changes may cut red tape but at the same time they compromise safeguards that protect public health and wellbeing, safety and the environment.
With the warming temperatures and extreme rain and drought events that climate change is predicted to bring with increasing frequency and intensity as time passes, decision makers and legislators bear a responsibility to strengthen freshwater protection and resiliency – not weaken it. If this proposal moves forward it will be a precipitous turning point for our future with freshwater in Ontario and beyond.
You will find ORA’s submissions regarding Bill 132 here.
Check out ORA’s speech to the Standing Committee on General Government: Continue reading
With climate change impacts bearing down on us, decision makers have a responsibility to ensure the resiliency of our freshwater resources. If this proposal moves forward it will be a precipitous turning point for our future with freshwater in Ontario and beyond.
Since this project was first proposed, a large percentage of the community of Bala Falls have been opposed to it. Citizens have lobbied, marched, picketed, petitioned and railed against this abomination being built in the heart of their town. Immediately downstream of the dam is a favourite public swimming and picnic area that draws local residents and tourists from far and wide. This project will pose a public safety risk; however, there is no Public Safety Plan – it wasn’t included in the initial Environmental Report, nor was it adequately addressed. It was unacceptable in 2012, and it’s still unacceptable – it should never have been approved in the first place.
The Government of Ontario is proposing Bill 66, Restoring Ontario’s Competitiveness Act, 2018. It is unacceptable that key environmental protection and legislation that protects the public is under attack.
Schedule 5 of Bill 66 would repeal the Toxics Reduction Act and two regulations. The purpose of the TRA is to prevent pollution and protect human health and the environment by reducing the use and creation of toxic substances and informing Ontarians about toxic substances.
Schedule 10 of this Bill would enable municipalities to simply pass an “open-for-business planning by-law” under the Planning Act, to exempt local development from the application of key components of several important provincial laws, plans and policies, including the:
• Clean Water Act, 2006, Section 39
• Great Lakes Protection Act, 2015, Section 20
• Greenbelt Act, 2005, Section 7
• Lake Simcoe Protection Act, 2008, Section 6, and
• Oak Ridges Moraine Conservation Act, 2003, Section 7
Since the North America Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) was signed more than two decades ago, our awareness of climate change has dramatically changed and our window of time for addressing it has shortened. NAFTA and other agreements that are part of the global trade regime have been used to undermine critical actions needed to respond to the climate crisis that help rebuild local economies, regulate corporations and stop damaging extractive projects.
We need a fundamental shift in how we approach trade – one that puts the needs of people and the planet first.
ORA has been granted Intervenor Status in the Energy East pipeline asset transfer and Eastern Mainline Project (Project). ORA also submitted comments in the National Energy Board’s (NEB’s) online survey. We write in response to Energy East Pipeline Ltd. and TransCanada Pipeline Limited’s (applicant) 6 July 2016 comment letter regarding the NEB’s review of the Project.
The purpose of the NEB hearings is to provide an opportunity for all concerns to be voiced and examined, so that ultimately an informed decision can be made. This cannot be accomplished if the scope of issues is limited.
MEDIA RELEASE: For Immediate Release: 13 July 2016
10 Ontario Rivers Protected from 19 Hydroelectric Projects
SUDBURY: The Ontario Rivers Alliance (ORA) is celebrating a major victory in the protection of 10 Ontario rivers that have been under threat from 19 proposed hydroelectric projects. Actions taken by the ORA and its members have led to what was considered to be impossible – the termination of 19 Feed-in-Tariff (FIT) Contracts.
In 2011, ORA came into being to address a rash of 87 proposed hydroelectric proposals initiated under the Green Energy Act. The offer of generous incentives to produce power during peak demand hours had proponents rushing to claim access to falls and rapids on rivers all across the province. The number of proposals to actually receive FIT Contracts was soon reduced to 41, and of those, Xeneca Power Development Inc. had secured 19 contracts for projects involving 23 Crown sites on 10 Ontario rivers. Continue reading
ORA has specific concerns regarding the environmental impacts of a converted pipeline in the event of an inevitable spill over its lifetime. A spill would have the potential to contaminate, and possibly permanently destroy key sources of drinking water that municipalities and First Nation communities rely on. While ORA is concerned about all spills that would occur, we will specifically address the spills of a larger and more environmentally significant volume that will occur over the life of the pipeline. What follows is an examination of the following questions:
- What is the expected frequency and volume of spills, based on historical data?
- Can the proponent’s proposed design credibly detect, contain, and effectively respond to environmentally significant leaks?
- Does the proponent’s application address the technical issues and risks that could arise from a conversion project that has already been in service for up to 40 years and was not designed to carry crude oil in the first place?
- Are the number of rivers, lakes, streams and wetlands adequately accounted for in the EEP documentation?
- Will the current NEB review process instill stakeholder confidence, and result in credible information on which this government can base its final decision?
ORA submits that this project could facilitate expansion of the tar sands, and increase Canada’s carbon pollution. We need an environmental assessment to look at this project’s effect on climate change, as well as the impacts on the potential for increased spills throughout the country.