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Category Archives: Press Releases

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


What to do with Springbank Dam – the 3.775 Million Dollar Question

Springbank Dam, Photo by Paul Roedding Photography

Springbank Dam, Photo by Paul Roedding Photography

MEDIA RELEASE:
For Immediate Release:  7 March 2016

The Ontario Rivers Alliances (ORA) and the Thames River Anglers Association (TRAA), along with the support of groups representing over 250,000 members, including the WWF-Canada, Ontario Nature, the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters, and numerous other local angling and recreation clubs, are speaking up for the decommissioning of Springbank Dam.

The Thames River is a Heritage River with one of the most ecologically diverse riverine ecosystems in Ontario, with over 90 species of freshwater fish, including 11 that are identified by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife Canada (COSEWIC) as threatened or at risk, and is certainly worth conserving and restoring.

The Springbank Dam falling out of service over 8 years ago was the best thing that could have happened to the Thames River and its wild inhabitants”, said Linda Heron, Chair of the ORA.  In that short time the river has rebounded, with the presence of Queen Snakes, Eastern Hog-nosed Snakes, Mudpuppies, Mussels, Silver Shiners, Spotted and Black Redhorse suckers, Northern Map Turtles, Snapping Turtles and Green Dragon perennial wildflowers that are re-establishing themselves within its 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


In Event at Bala Falls Portage – Wahta Mohawks

About the Portage-In Event – 11 am on Thursday, August 28 2014 – See Media Advisory here

There will be a portage of canoes across the historic Bala portage from the Moon River landing to Lake Muskoka. The Wahta Chief will be available for interview.

Bala, Ontario, is located on Muskoka Road 169 approximately 200 km north of Toronto, and 25 km northwest of Gravenhurst.

Contact information:

♦ On-site contact: Karen Commandant, Wahta Mohawk Senior Administrator, cell: 705 644-9894
♦ Spokesperson: Chief Phillip Franks, Wahta Mohawks, cell: 705 528-9468

__________________

CTV News and other media will be there too.

Come out to show that the general community supports the Wahta Mohawk’s concerns:

  • If you would like to be part of the flotilla, be at the Town Docks on the Moon River at 10:30 am this Thursday August 28, 2014 with your canoe or kayak (and PFD and marine safety kit).
  • Otherwise, be at the District property just south of the Bala north falls at 11:00 am.

This event is about the Bala Portage, so no red T-shirts and no signs.  Those in attendance will be there in support of Wahta Mohawk and the Bala Portage.


MEC grant will help protect Ontario Rivers – ORA

For immediate release – December 5, 2013

MEC grant will help protect Ontario rivers

Ontario Rivers Alliance (ORA) has received nearly $35,000 from Mountain Equipment Co-op (MEC) to help the organization become more effective in its efforts to protect the province’s rivers. The grant will allow ORA to undertake several initiatives, including strategic and fundraising planning, rebranding and website development, and outreach/membership development.

“We are so pleased that MEC has provided this important opportunity for ORA to take our organization to the next level,” ORA Chair Linda Heron says. “This grant will help us build a strong foundation for strategic growth and effectiveness.  I see a very bright future for this organization.”

Ontario Rivers Alliance has formed a strong network of environmental, stewardship, and conservation organizations to share, communicate, collaborate, and join our voices, experience and strengths in a coordinated effort to address policy, risky or threatening developments, and unhealthy river ecosystems. 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

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 For more information contact Linda Heron, ORA Chair, at (705) 866-1677, or by email at LindaH@OntarioRiversAlliance.ca.

ORA Website:  www.OntarioRiversAlliance.ca


Strong-arm Tactics to Take Away Protection for our Environment and Endangered Species – Press Release

MEDIA RELEASE: 12 April 2012Strong-arm Tactics to Take Away Protection for our Environment and Endangered Species
Bill 55, Strong Action for Ontario Act (Budget Measures), 2012

Ontario Rivers Alliance (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 CPAWS -Ottawa Valley, Friends of Temagami, Paddle Canada, Whitewater Ontario, along with many stewardships, associations, and private and First Nations citizens, who have come together to ensure the rash of waterpower proposals currently going through the approvals process are environmentally, economically and socially sustainable.

ORA is gravely concerned with the irregular means being used to amend numerous pieces of legislation by attaching the amendments to the budget bill. This appears to be designed to circumvent the normal process of public consultation.

As Gord Miller, our Environmental Commissioner for Ontario says, “This budget bill is effectively the mother-of-all pieces of omnibus legislation. Bill 55 amends 69 different statutes in its schedules. For example, many environmentally significant laws that are administered by the Ministry of Natural Resources are proposed to be amended. These laws include the Endangered Species Act, the Provincial Parks and Conservation Reserves Act, the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act, the Public Lands Act, the Crown Forest Sustainability Act, and the Niagara Escarpment Planning and Development Act. Laws such as these are prescribed under the Environmental Bill of Rights, 1993 (EBR). Normally, when the government proposes to amend legislation that is prescribed under the EBR, it would post a proposal notice on the Environmental Registry and solicit public comments for a minimum of 30 days. The government then considers the public comments and makes a decision. These steps help make for a transparent and accountable process.”
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