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Photo by Linda HeronPhoto Credit

2023 Annual Acquisition Report – ORA Feedback

Big Falls, Trout Lake River

There are currently three pumped storage projects going through the planning and approvals process, that would add approximately 2,000 MW of electricity to the grid. Developing that same Installed Capacity from small hydroelectric projects would involve 200 – 10 MW proposals that would cause untold environmental damage to dozens of Ontario rivers.  It is imperative the province does not rush or over-reach its targets and develop new electricity projects unnecessarily.

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OPG: Proposed Coniston Generating Station Life Extension Project Environmental Report

Wherever water levels have been lifted from their former undeveloped elevation must be considered the full extent of the reservoir/s. This crucial detail is not set out in the ER; however, the full extent of the cascading facilities must be considered when detecting, measuring and reporting total GHG emissions (CH2, CH4 and N2O). This cascading system creates one very large artificial and ongoing multi-level series of reservoirs that are highly regulated through the WRWMP, and likely very high in GHG emissions.

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Hydroelectric and its “Pathway to Decarbonization”

Abitibi River – Twin Falls GS

Please sign and share our Petition:  Hydroelectric is NOT a Pathway to Decarbonization.

The increasing role of hydroelectric reservoirs as GHG emitters and negative environmental effects has resulted in thousands of independent peer-reviewed studies laying out the facts. However, the hydropower industry and governments have done a thorough job of promoting waterpower through a powerful disinformation campaign to mislead the world into believing it is clean and non-emitting while turning a blind eye to the growing body of evidence to the contrary.

ORA strongly recommends that OPG begin the use of drone technology to detect, map and measure GHG emissions within the entire zone of influence of its hydroelectric facilities – in the upstream reservoir, turbine intake, spillway and downstream of the dam. This will ensure that those who have purchased clean energy credits from OPG are getting what is claimed – a clean and non-emitting source of electricity. All data should be placed in real-time on the OPG website and made available to researchers and the public.

In closing, the ORA requests that the Minister finally remove the label of clean and non-emitting from hydroelectric generation. Certification will mean nothing if there is no authentic and verifiable science-based method of reducing Ontario’s GHG emissions. Furthermore, it would be unethical and fraudulent to mislead the public and corporations into believing they are paying for clean and non-emitting electricity when they are actually paying to fuel climate change.

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Embro Dam Class Environmental Assessment – Alternatives

Update:  The Upper Thames Conservation Authority went with the most popular, Alternative #4, which is to construct a naturalized channel with offline ponds/wetlands – see photo above.

There are very few thriving Brook Trout populations left in southern Ontario, and it is especially surprising to find them present as far south as London, Ontario. Brook Trout are a sentinel species – the canary in the coal mine. In southern Ontario, Brook Trout populations have seen an 80% decline in their numbers over the last 50 years. Their populations have been under increasing pressure from a warming climate as well as agricultural, urban, rural and industrial development.

Removing the Dam and headpond to create a free-flowing and healthy coldwater Brook Trout fishery would be the perfect place for a family to go for walk, play or picnic in the Embro Conservation Area. It would provide a healthy riverine ecosystem and a beautiful natural environment for the entire community to enjoy!!

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Ministers Guilbeault and Duclos: Expand the single-use plastic ban – Joint

We, the undersigned organizations and individuals, are deeply concerned about the plastic waste and pollution crisis and its devastating impacts worldwide. As responsible ministers for the Canadian Environmental Protection Act – “an Act respecting pollution prevention and the protection of the environment and human health”, we urge you to take bolder and urgent action to tackle the crisis by expanding the single-use plastics ban to include a more comprehensive list of problematic plastics and substances.

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Hydropower is destroying our rivers, biodiversity and fueling Climate Change

Dams and hydropower facilities harm the environment and, when headponds or reservoirs are flooded, can produce carbon dioxide and methane for the life of the dam. Ontario is about to embark on a whole new era of dam building. Ontario has 224 operating hydropower plants and only 3 with fish passage.
By the way, Ontario Power Generation has been selling Clean Energy Credits for hydroelectric since 2013.   
NO MORE NEW HYDROELECTRIC DAMS IN ONTARIO!! 


ERO-019-6177 – Review of A Place to Grow and Provincial Policy Statement

Photo by Al Oman

The province claims that “Ontario needs more housing, and we need it now. That’s why the Ontario government is taking bold and transformative action to get 1.5 million homes built over the next 10 years.”  This Environmental Registry of Ontario (ERO) posting is only one component of a large series of other interconnected ERO postings relating to Bill 23. Due to the short comment period at this busiest time of year for such a complex, vague, poorly considered, and destructive policy and legislative “streamlining”, it is impossible to fully understand the full scope or depth of resulting effects to provide any kind of meaningful input. It is crucial that all ERO postings are well planned, concisely written and defined in clear policy language so the public fully understands what is being proposed and its potential positive and negative effects.

The Ontario government, through Bill 23 and its multitude of complex and interconnected legislation and policy amendments, has:

  • Removed municipal jurisdiction from upper-tier municipalities to make policy decisions on land use planning matters that are based on local community interests.
  • Removed a significant financial source (permits/building fees) in which to help pay for water and wastewater services, sewers, transportation infrastructure, and community parks needed to service 1.5 million additional homes.
  • Prohibited Conservation Authorities all across Ontario from providing practical advice to municipalities, their ability to issue permits, or provide input into environmental concerns.
  • Failed to provide adequate public and Indigenous consultation relating to Bill 23 matters.
  • Is proposing to streamline the qualifications program for Building Practitioners (ERO-019-6433).

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ERO-019-6161 – Conserving Ontario’s Natural Heritage

One prime example of ecosystem services is our fisheries which depend on strong and healthy ecosystems. In 2015 the Ontario Government launched a Provincial Fish Strategy – Fish for the Future, which indicated that Ontario’s recreational fisheries support robust sport fishing and tourism, which are a mainstay for many of the northern communities. It also reported that 1.5 million anglers spend $1.75 billion dollars in the province each year, supporting approximately 1,600 resource-based tourism businesses each and every year.[i]  These are just a fraction of the ecosystem services that must be weighed against the full life cycle costs and benefits derived from any project that will impact our wetlands, wildlife, air, land or water.

[i] Fisheries in Ontario – Information about recreational and commercial fisheries in Ontario. Online: https://www.ontario.ca/page/fisheries-ontario

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Delayed Decision to List American Eel Under the Species at Risk Act (SARA) – Joint

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 We are a coalition of Indigenous Peoples and conservation and environmental non-governmental organizations concerned with the conservation of American Eel and write to ask that the Department of Fisheries and Oceans take all necessary steps to immediately list this important species under the Species at Risk Act (SARA). 

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ERO-019-6216 Proposed Amendments to Greenbelt Plan & ERO-019-6217 – Proposed Amendments to the Greenbelt Area boundary regulation – Joint

West Credit River. Photo by Steve Noakes.

We, the 78 undersigned organizations, are strongly opposed to the Ontario Government’s proposal to remove 7,400 acres of land from the Greenbelt. Opening these lands to development would destroy vital wildlife corridors, negatively impact woodlands, wetlands and watercourses, and result in the loss of over 5,000 acres of farmland. The government’s rationale – that these lands are needed for housing – is unfounded and untrue. We urge you not to proceed with this proposal for the reasons outlined below…

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