Photo by Linda HeronPhoto Credit

Category Archives: Industry

Open Statement on NAFTA, Environment and Climate

 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. 

Continue reading

Energy East Pipeline – ORA Response to Proponent

Energy East Project Map

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.

Continue reading

10 Ontario Rivers Protected from 19 Hydroelectric Projects

Wabagishik Rapids – Vermilion River

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

Energy East Pipeline Conversion


Kalamazoo Michigan – Keystone-XL Oil Spill

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:

  1. What is the expected frequency and volume of spills, based on historical data?
  2. Can the proponent’s proposed design credibly detect, contain, and effectively respond to environmentally significant leaks?
  3. 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?
  4. Are the number of rivers, lakes, streams and wetlands adequately accounted for in the EEP documentation?
  5. Will the current NEB review process instill stakeholder confidence, and result in credible information on which this government can base its final decision?

Continue reading

Hardisty Rail Terminal Project

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.

Continue reading

EBR: 012-4935 – Nestle Waters Canada – Permit to Take Water

The dried cracked bed of the Qaraoun artificial lake is seen in West Bekaa, September 19, 2014. Unusually warm weather and low rain levels in Lebanon this year has caused the unusual drying of the Litani river that feeds the Qaraoun artificial lake, residents said. Picture taken September 19, 2014. REUTERS/ Mohamed Azakir (LEBANON – Tags: ENVIRONMENT) – RTR474UT

ORA strenuously objects to a PTTW being issued to Nestle, on either a temporary or a permanent basis, for the extraction of water in Elora, or anywhere else in Ontario.  Water from aquifers, rivers or lakes is an essential public commons that must not be privatized, or allowed to be extracted for the purpose of private profit or shareholder earnings.

Extracting up to 1.6 million litres of water each day could place water supply to communities and individuals living within the surrounding area at risk.  The Mayor of Elora and many of its residents have already expressed their concerns and objections to this ill-conceived proposal to allow a global conglomerate to profit from a resource that must be protected as a public trust.  It is incumbent upon the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change to protect the interests of its citizens and this essential water supply.

Continue reading

Hardesty Rail Terminal Project – CEAA

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.

The tragedy of Lac-Mégantic, Gogama, and other explosive derailments across North America show the risks of moving oil by rail. We need an environmental assessment before we put any more oil trains on the tracks.

Continue reading

Approved Amendments to the Class EA for Waterpower

Misema River – After Hydro Facility

ORA has just received notification from the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change (MOECC) that our request for amendments to the Class EA for Waterpower has been granted – in part.

While ORA did not have all our asks incorporated into this amendment, there were some very important gains.  For instance, we now have definitions for “Run-of-River”,  “Run-of-River with Modified Peaking” and “Kinetic Hydro”.    This was an important ask for ORA as many hydroelectric facilities refer to their operations as “Run-of-River” when in fact they are not – this results in many waterpower proposals going under the radar with little fuss from the public until it’s too late.   Run-of-river has been a catch-all term that seems to raise the least amount of attention because most people have an image in their mind of a turbine sitting in a portion of the river with water running freely through it, causing little harm to the river ecosystem.   However, in reality they often involve holding water back behind towering dams for release at a later time, or during peak demand hours.  The impacts resulting from a facility that stores water in holding ponds on either an hourly, daily or seasonal basis are much more severe than a true run-of-river operation.   It should now be clear as to what type of operation is actually being proposed.  This amendment is a significant inroad into bringing more integrity and clarity to the process.

We also now have a definition for “sustainable development”, additional guidance on notifying the public via the internet for a more transparent listing of active waterpower proposals, and a strengthening of the principles of transparency and trust.  Ultimately these minor amendments serve to improve the public consultation process.

A big thank you to the MOECC Environmental Approvals Branch and the Ontario Waterpower Association for these significant inroads!  This is a big win for everyone involved – and especially for Ontario rivers.

You can read the Director’s decision below for more detail about the amendments.   You can also read ORA’s original request and supporting correspondence here.

Continue reading

Victor Mine – DeBeers Application for Amendment to their Permit to Take Water — EBR Posting 011-9596

Victor Mine – De Beers, near Attawapiskat First Nation


“ORA is in full support of the submission made by Mr. Charles Hookimaw, an Attawapiskat First Nation member.  The proponent’s duty to consult impacted stakeholders and First Nation communities is paramount to an open, transparent and accountable approvals process, and is constitutionally mandated.  Many impacted stakeholders live in remote communities that have no access to internet, and it is inexcusable that the proponent has made no effort to meet with the Attawapiskat First Nation community, especially when this operation could have long lasting impacts on water quality, water quantity, and heavy metal contamination of local fisheries.” Continue reading

Sign a Petition


Dam Decommissioning

Modify or add your own comments in the petition below (optional)


Please share this Petition with your friends.