The Ontario Rivers Alliance filed a Freedom of Information Application with the IESO in February of 2016 to obtain the following list of terminated Feed-in-Tariff Contracts: Continue reading
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
Healthy rivers are vital to our survival on this planet. Damming rivers to provide income for this generation is short-sighted and ill-advised, and will diminish a life-giving resource that is essential to the survival of our future generations.
The decision-making and reporting process used by Xeneca in reaching its conclusions in this ER are neither transparent nor traceable. First Nation and public consultation were inadequate, many kilometers of riverine ecosystem have not been adequately assessed, and there are many other concerns and uncertainties detailed above. As a result, ORA submits that Xeneca has not met the requirements of the Class EA for Waterpower.
After having carefully reviewed the Ivanhoe River Generating Stations for The Chute and Third Falls ER, and its supporting documentation, ORA is requesting that the Minister of Environment issue a Part II Order to elevate this EA to an Individual Environmental Assessment.
Elevating this Project to a more rigorous and thorough Individual EA would improve the project by allowing time for further key studies to be completed, and for many of our recommendations noted above to be incorporated into the Project. Thus allowing for a more sustainable and responsible contribution to the Province of Ontario. As PGL said, “The geomorphic study would most certainly benefit from further field investigations in which additional data could be collected throughout the zone of influence to compile a more complete collection of river characteristics.” So would many other aspects of the Project. Continue reading
Posted 8 March 2014
A number of environmentally harmful hydroelectric projects would likely be under construction by now if not for actions taken by ORA and our members.
In the fall of 2011, ORA was instrumental in a coordinated effort that resulted in three separate Environmental Reports (ERs) submitted by Xeneca Power Development Inc. (Xeneca) being rejected by Ontario’s Ministry of Environment. This was due to several deficiencies, as well as a “lack of traceability and transparency in Xeneca’s decision-making process and associated documentation”. The developer was sent back to complete key studies and do more planning. This rejection has led to another two years of studies, which has provided precious time for circumstances to influence some of their other proposals. These ERs were three of a total of 19 proposals by Xeneca.
This was due to ORA and several of its members submitting Part II Order requests on hydro-electric proposals for the Ivanhoe, Frederick House and Serpent Rivers. These were requests for the Minister of Environment to require an Individual Environmental Assessment (EA) for the projects.
Under current provincial legislation, Part II Order requests are the only option for the public and stakeholders to advocate for a more rigorous scrutiny of the proposal, and hopefully a more environmentally and socially sustainable hydroelectric project.
The proponent led process puts the fox in charge of the henhouse. The proponent decides when to notify and consult with stakeholders, relay information, and share important documentation. Proponents don’t hesitate to let you know it’s a done deal, and that there is nothing you can do to stop the project.
Although requests to elevate the first three projects to individual EAs were not granted, these efforts did result in the proponent being required to conduct further studies. Not only did this delay the original three proposals, but it also caused Xeneca to shelve several other proposals that it had intended to issue Draft ERs on by the spring of 2012. It has also provided time for the Department of National Defence to remove two waterpower sites on the Petawawa River.
This action by ORA and its members in 2011 bought valuable time for other events to transpire, and without this action, many of these proposals would most likely have been through the EA process by now, into the permitting phase, and under construction.
As of yet, none of Xeneca’s 19 intended projects have been approved by the Minister of Environment, and not one of the original three proposals has come back through to ER.
The first of Xeneca’s projects to make it through to the ER stage since then is the proposed Wabagishik Rapids Generating Station on the Vermilion River. In response to Xeneca’s ER and Notice of Completion in the fall of 2013, nineteen Part II Order requests were submitted to the MOE by ORA, Vermilion River Stewardship, and other concerned citizens. The large number of requests is in large part due to public awareness activities by ORA over the past few years. Currently, we are awaiting a response from the Minister regarding Wabagishik.
You can help ORA continue our work by becoming a member or making a contribution. For more information click here.
ORA FUNDRAISER – 50% of the profit from the purchase of these calendars will go to help Ontario Rivers Alliance in our mandate to protect, conserve and restore riverine ecosytems. This calendar would make a great Christmas present!
A BIG THANKS to Aleta and Fred for making this possible!
A calendar for 2013 of Aleta Karstad’s oil paintings en plein air of rivers, rapids, and waterfalls in Ontario. Aleta travels with her biologist husband Fred Schueler to precious wild rivers that still run free with rapids and waterfalls, to paint and explore for little-known native mussels and crayfish, documenting these vulnerable wild communities in art and science. The image of each painting is accompanied by Aleta and Fred’s writings about their adventures in discovering the special nature of the place, as well as the nature of the threats to its integrity, leading us to enquire whether new hydroelectric projects on our wild rivers are desirable or necessary.
Ivanhoe “The Chute” (oil on canvas 12 x 16) Sold – 23 September 2012
Aleta Karstad – The middle fall of Triple Falls on the east side of the Ivanhoe River, 40 km north of Foleyet, Ontario – another in our series of wild waterfalls threatened by hydro dams….. For full posting go to Aleta’s website.
Triple Falls (oil on canvas 11 x 14 in.) Sold – 25 September 2012
Aleta Karstad – The East shore of the Ivanhoe River below The Chutes, 16 km north of Foleyet, Ontario. Here the Ivanhoe spills, foaming, across a gneiss ledge above its clay riverbed. Behind me, runs around an island in Cedar/Poplar woods…… For full posting go to Aleta’s website.
September 16, 2012
Director – Environmental Approvals Branch
Ministry of the Environment
12A Floor 2 St Clair Ave W
Re: Proposed Amendment to the Class Environmental Assessment Water Power Projects
Dear Ms. Garcia-Wright:
I wish to comment on the Proposed Amendment to the Class Environmental Assessment for the Waterpower Projects as follows:
- there are a large number of small tourists outfitter throughout Ontario that are dependent on our undisturbed Natural Resource’s and our healthy River Ecosystems.
- First Nations communities are dependent on a healthy river system throughout all the Water Sheds. They are dependent on a healthy river system for drinking water, transportation, trapping, food, and recreation.
- only a few kilometers of our rivers are not in use by people.
The Environmental Assessment must continue on waterpower facilities of 2 megawatts or under as cycling, peaking, and run of the river projects continue to alter and result in negative impact on river ecosystems.
The Environmental Assessment process should not be altered, for the past, present, and future power generating stations. There needs to be a constant process in place for any unforeseen projects in the future, which may fall under the Environmental Assessment process. An example of this would be a mine closure rehabilitation I’ll give you a reason why this process should be in place and not altered -The NORAD Bases. These bases were constructed throughout Canada in the 1950’s to protect us from Air attacks and it wasn’t until 1988 The Canadian International Development Agency got involved and set up guidelines to clean up the horrific environmental damages that were sustained when the bases were abandoned. This cost our government hundreds of millions of dollars to clean up. The guidelines that were developed by this should be copied and continued to ensure that any future projects that involve our environment will be protected. These guidelines will prevent occurrences such as Fort Albany, a NORAD base that had PCB, arsenic, fuel and oil leaking into the ground. This base has cost in excess of 9 million dollars to clean up the environmental damage.
I feel as a steward of the environment that I cannot allow the Environmental Assessment process to fail, which will create giant footprints as in the past. This is just one of many examples why the Environmental Assessment process must continue and those who create footprints must be held accountable for the clean up and rehabilitation of the environment and not the taxpayers of Ontario and Canada.
The Environmental Assessment for all water powered facilities has to be ever more diligent so not to create an unsustainable ecosystem that will compromise future generations.
I am requesting that the Amendment to the Class Environmental Assessment for waterpower projects fewer than 2 megawatts be rejected.
White Pine Lodge
Is this How You Want to See Your OPSEU Pension Fund Invested?
It has come to our attention that at least 18 modified run-of-river hydroelectric proposals are funded through the government employees’ pension trust fund – OPSEU – OPTrust. These types of hydroelectric dams carry numerous negative impacts1 resulting in reduced water quality and water quantity, destruction of habitat and spawning areas, place extreme pressure on fish and endangered species survival, and the frequent and extreme swings in water flow velocity and water levels pose a serious threat to public health and safety. MNR and MOE staff are assigned to facilitate these proposals through the Environmental Assessment, permits, and approvals process, and ultimately through to completion. It is also MNR and MOE that make the final decisions on whether these proposals are approved. With their own pension monies at risk, this would appear to be a clear conflict of interest.
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.
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
For more information contact Linda Heron, ORA Chair, at (705) 866-1677, or by email at LindaH@OntarioRiversAlliance.ca.
ORA Website: www.OntarioRiversAlliance.ca