LONDON – After several years of debate over whether to repair or remove the broken Springbank Dam on the Thames River, in a unanimous vote, London City Council decided to decommission the dam. City staff will now prepare a report to advise Council on whether to repurpose it as a footbridge or remove it entirely from the river. Eliminating the last man-made barrier between the forks and the mouth of the Thames River is a significant win for the environment and City residents.
Through a groundswell of support from several organizations, businesses and individuals, we were able draw attention to a river not just in recovery but thriving since the dam gates broke in 2008. We were able to change the conversation from the foregone conclusion that the dam would be repaired, to a unanimous vote to decommission Springbank Dam. A big thank you to City Councillors who were open-minded and receptive to our positive message. Continue reading
MEDIA RELEASE: For Immediate Release: 6 October 2017
Ontario Rivers Alliance on the termination of the Energy East Pipeline
SUDBURY – The Ontario Rivers Alliance says that TransCanada Corp. (TC) cancelled its controversial $15.7-billion Energy East Pipeline proposal because “It saw the writing on the wall.” It proposed to convert its 3,000 km natural gas pipeline and construct another 1,500 km of new pipeline, to carry 1.1 million barrels per day of dirty Tar Sands oil from Alberta to New Brunswick.
“TC’s decision was likely due in large part to a continuing decline in the demand for crude oil in a world on a fast-track to decarbonize.” The scientific evidence is clear, that climate change is one of the greatest threats of our time. “So, the National Energy Board’s recent ruling to consider the potential increase in upstream and downstream greenhouse gas emissions resulting from the project was no surprise, but an impossible hurdle to overcome, and likely the final nail in the coffin.” Continue reading
SUDBURY: The contributions of the Ontario Rivers Alliance (ORA) are being featured in an online series of short film documentaries dedicated to conservation issues.
In Fieldwork – the Art of Conservation, ORA Chair Linda Heron talks about the organization’s commitment to protecting Ontario rivers, and its focus on one of the most challenging issues facing communities and riverine ecosystems today – hydroelectric power development. Continue reading
For Immediate Release
Conservation organizations call for end to delays in implementing recovery actions for endangered American Eel
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
Kalamazoo River Crude Oil Spill
MEDIA RELEASE: For Immediate Release: 6 July 2016
Ontario Rivers Alliance Intervening in Energy East Pipeline Hearing
SUDBURY — The National Energy Board has granted Ontario Rivers Alliance (ORA) intervenor status in panel hearings regarding the Energy East Pipeline application.
ORA chairperson Linda Heron said the announcement indicates how much progress the volunteer organization has made since it was formed to protect, conserve and restore healthy river ecosystems.
“Like many other Canadians, our members have serious concerns about the potential for spills and leaks in an aging pipeline that was designed to transport natural gas and would now be converted to move diluted bitumen,” said Heron. “Our research indicates that Energy East uses insufficient leak detection technology to effectively monitor the pipeline’s integrity, and that any single spill could cause irreparable damage to one or more of over two thousand water bodies along the pipeline route.” Continue reading
Ontario Rivers Alliance (ORA) is very pleased to announce that the National Energy Board has approved ORA as an Intervenor in the panel hearings regarding the Energy East Pipeline application.
ORA’s area of focus will be:
- The potential environmental and socio-economic effects of the Project, including the environmental effects of accidents or malfunctions that may occur in connection with the project, and any cumulative effects that are likely to result from the Project. The ORA will hire experts that will undertake:
- A review and analysis of historic data regarding spill causes, frequency, volume, response time, and effectiveness of clean-up, will provide a more realistic perspective of environmental and socio-economic impacts – along with recommendations.
- A literature review and analysis of historic data will examine the causes of winter oil spills, and what peer-reviewed scientific literature has concluded on interactions between oil and ice, snow, and below freezing temperatures, including effectiveness of clean-up. There is evidence of difficulties and issues surrounding the detection and cleanup of spills in these conditions (Dickins et al. 2009; Fingas & Brown, 2013). A full assessment of this issue is currently absent from the proponent’s submission and is necessary to understand the full environmental effects of the project, and will provide a clearer perspective of the potential environmental and socio-economic impacts.
- A complete review of all water body pipeline crossings within the province of Ontario. A full and exhaustive list of water body crossings was not included in the proponent’s application; however, ORA suggest it is necessary in order to completely understand the scope of potential environmental and socio-economic impacts.
- The appropriateness of the general route and the engineering design and integrity of the Project and the safety and security associated with the construction and operation of the Project. The ORA will hire an expert to undertake an engineering review and assessment, and make recommendations regarding the:
- Review and analysis of historic data regarding spill cause.
- Threat posed by the existing natural gas pipeline(s) located in close proximity to the converted oil pipeline;
- Adequacy of the design to sustain the greater static and dynamic loads incurred when transporting oil as opposed to natural gas; and
- Adequacy of the proposed leak detection instrumentation to detect environmentally significant leaks, and to support the stated goal of shutting down in a timely manner.
The Hearing Panel granted intervenor status to 337 applicants and commenter status to 271 applicants. Those not granted participation rights in the hearing process will be able to provide input in the review through expanded public engagement activities to be carried out by additional Board Members. A total of 2,652 applications to participate in the Energy East and Eastern Mainline hearing were received by the NEB. Of those, over 100 were duplicates and approximately 1,450 were submissions of a form letter about climate change and upstream greenhouse gas emissions, which will be the topic of an assessment conducted by Environment and Climate Change Canada.
The NEB will hold its panel sessions in:
- Saint John – August 8-12
- Fredericton – August 15-19
- Montreal – August 29-September 2
- Quebec City – October 3-7
- Regina – October 12-14
- Winnipeg – October 25-28
- North Bay – November 1-4
- Calgary – November 7-10
- Thunder Bay – November 28-December 2
- Kingston – December 12-16
For Immediate Release: 5 November 2015
Hydro Impacts 101 – The Trade-offs
Significant environmental damage from hydroelectric power generation has been ongoing for many decades in Ontario and in other locations throughout the world, yet the public has been led to believe that it provides a clean and green source of energy because there is no smoke, no ash, and no radiation. Indeed, some mistakenly think that all hydro contributes positively to the climate change issue. “This report will help to set the record straight on just how clean and green waterpower really is”, said Linda Heron, Chair of the Ontario Rivers Alliance (ORA). Continue reading