Blog

Photo by Linda HeronPhoto Credit

Category Archives: Press Release

Ontario Rivers Alliance featured in environmental film

snip20161128_4

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



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


Ontario Rivers Alliance Intervening in Energy East Pipeline Hearing

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


ORA approved as Intervenor in NEB hearings for EE Pipeline

EnergyEast

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:

  1. 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.
  1. 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

Groundswell of support challenges plans to repair Sringbank Dam

Springbank Dam, Thames River, London, ON

Springbank Dam, Thames River, London, ON

The Thames River Anglers Association, with the support of the Ontario Rivers Alliance, has rallied the support of over 20 organizations representing more than 200,000 members to encourage the City of London to fully decommission Springbank Dam and protect the recovering riverine ecosystem.

Continue reading


Hydro Impacts 101 – The Trade-offs

MEDIA RELEASE
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


Ontario Rivers Alliance has lots to talk about thanks to MEC – Press Release

Ontario Rivers Alliance (ORA) is very excited to announce its new look and website, and a Strategic Plan that provides a stronger focus to engage, advocate, educate and encourage local stewardship and action. This was all made possible through a $35,000 capacity building grant from Mountain Equipment Co-op (MEC).

“We are very grateful to MEC for supporting our organization in building a strong foundation to better serve our membership and to more effectively protect, conserve and restore Ontario rivers,” said ORA Chair Linda Heron.

Continue reading


PRESS RELEASE: Ministry of Environment Rejects Hydro Developer’s Environmental Report – 3 Ontario Rivers are Safe for Now

3 May 2012

In March of this year Ontario Rivers Alliance (ORA) received notice with respect to its Part II Order request made on the hydroelectric proposal by Xeneca Power Development Inc. (Xeneca) for The Chute, on the Ivanhoe River.  The letter stated, “the Ministry of Environment’s (MOE) review has determined that the project was not planned in accordance with the OWA Class EA.”  “If Xeneca proceeds with the Project under the OWA Class EA, additional planning work will be required.”   Linda Heron, Chair of ORA stated, “We congratulate MOE on making this decision.  This is the right action, and demonstrates that the Minister’s office shares the public’s concern about the level of planning that went into this proposal, and is ensuring that the intent of the environmental assessment process is upheld.”

Heron reported, “We also recently received notices from MOE’s office that Xeneca has now voluntarily withdrawn their other two Notices of Completion issued for the Four Slide Falls and Wanatango Falls proposals.”  MOE’s responses to Xeneca on these two Notices of Completion were, “If Xeneca wishes to proceed with the Project, it must demonstrate that the Class EA planning process has been followed and is clearly traceable in the Project File.”

In 2011, Xeneca issued Environmental Reports and Notices of Completion for their “modified run-of-river” proposals at The Chute – Ivanhoe River; Four Slide Falls – Serpent River; and Wanatango Falls – Frederick House River, Hydroelectric GS.

ORA is concerned about the numerous negative environmental impacts associated with these “modified run-of-river” hydroelectric proposals, as well as the quality and content of the Environmental Reports submitted by the proponent, and made Part II Order requests to MOE to elevate all three of these proposals to an Individual Environmental Assessment, which is a more rigorous and thorough environmental assessment.

The serious potential impacts on water quality from these types of proposals could increase the prevalence of toxic Blue Green Algae in Ontario lakes and rivers where reports have already been on the rise with the advance of climate change.  There are over 2,000 potential waterpower sites identified throughout Ontario in the 2005 Hatch Acres Report.  Of those there are currently 87 hydroelectric dam proposals going through the approvals process, and an additional 50 MW of hydroelectric power has just been added as a result of the recent FIT Review.    These 87 proposals also represent billions of dollars’ worth of Crown assets that are being given away to private developers whose primary focus is on profits.

“We all want green energy, but let’s ensure it is not the “greenwashed” version that is threatening our source water, natural environment, aquatic species, recreational use, and property values.  Protection of water quality is essential to our public health and safety”, said Heron.

ORA is a Not-for-Profit grassroots organization with a focus on healthy river ecosystems all across Ontario.   ORA members represent numerous organizations such as the French River Delta Association, Vermilion River Stewardship, CPAWS-Ottawa Valley, Friends of Temagami, Paddle Canada, Whitewater Ontario, along with many other stewardships, associations, and private and First Nations citizens, who have come together to protect, conserve and restore healthy river ecosystems in Ontario.

Backgrounder:

2 March 2012 – MOE to ORA – The Chute, Ivanhoe River
9 March 2012 – MOE to Xeneca – The Chute, Ivanhoe River
9 September 2011 – ORA to MOE – Part II Order Request – The Chute, Ivanhoe River
19 April 2012 – MOE to ORA – Four Slide Falls, Serpent River
28 September 2011 – ORA to MOE – Part II Order request, Four Slide Falls
4 November 2011 – ORA to MOE – Part II Order request, Wanatango Falls, Frederick House River
Miscellaneous – Minutes & Correspondence

-30-

 For more information contact Linda Heron, ORA Chair, at (705) 866-1677, or by email at [email protected].

ORA Website:  www.OntarioRiversAlliance.ca


2011-February 24 – ORA Media Release

Feb. 24, 2011

Alliance concerned about river power proposals

SUDBURY, Ont. — Environmentalists, recreational users and tourism operators have formed a coalition to protect the health of Ontario river systems.

“We are hearing concerns from across Ontario that the provincial government’s Green Energy Act could actually damage our ecosystems,” says Linda Heron, interim chairperson for the Ontario Rivers Alliance. “Like most people in this province, our members thought green energy would involve projects that would produce power without causing environmental harm. But our research indicates that the government needs help in assessing what damage might be caused to our watersheds by energy producers whose prime motivation seems to be profit.” Continue reading


Sign a Petition

 

Dam Decommissioning

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

[signature]

Share this with your friends: