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FIT Review Comments – by Bishop Mills Natural History Center

14 December 2011


“In many situations it has been amazing to us how nominally “green” initiatives are undertaken as if they were “ordinary business opportunities,” without acknowledgement that it’s the recognition of environmental complexity that makes an undertaking “green,” or that complexity denying “business as usual” is the problem for which environmentally-aware enterprises are trying to compensate.

The implementation of the FIT in many hydroelectric projects is an example of this. As documented by the Ontario Rivers Alliance,1 many of these projects will not produce any net electricity, and are economic only under the present schedule of the FIT. Hydroelectric impoundments are still attended by all of the problems which led environmentalists to struggle so fervently against them in the 1960s and 1970s. These problems include deposition of
sediment, changes in water temperature, algal buildup in impounded water, fluctuations in water level, breaking the genetic continuity of stream-inhabiting species & preventing their migrations, release of methyl-mercury, and others. None of them have been solved, especially in the sketchy environmental assessments of many of the proposed “run of the river” hydro plants. Since 1986 there has been the additional problem of Dreissena Zebra and Quagga mussels, and the ecosystem-wrecking buildup of their populations behind dams.

If the Green Energy Act is to produce really “green” energy it is imperative that all the environmental consequences of the proposed projects be dispassionately evaluated by adequately funded reviews by MNR and MoE, as well as through thorough consultation with the whole local community, and by seeking out scholars and naturalists with knowledge about the sites & situation of the proposed projects.”

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