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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
Ontario Rivers Alliance members came together out of shear frustration at the current lack of transparency, cooperation, and accountability on the part of the Proponent, MNR and MOE. It became abundantly clear very early on that the best interests of the rivers and their ecosystems were not being served and protected, and these hydroelectric proposals were not going to be stopped through the normal Environmental Assessment process.
Following are a few comments submitted by ORA to the Canadian Environmental Law Association (CELA) in response to their research project:
Investigating and evaluating the effectiveness of the process based on the following broad criteria – the:
- transparency of information,
- level of public participation that routinely occurs,
- accessibility of both community consultations and project information; and
- existing appeal rights for this process.
The Ontario Rivers Alliance (ORA) was recently formed to create one big voice to raise an awareness of the rash of proposed waterpower projects currently going through the approval process in Ontario. As of June 2011, there were 98 hydroelectric dam proposals on the books, and the 2005 Hatch Acres Report, Ontario Waterpower Potential, lists just under 600potential waterpower sites.
Many of these dams are slated for “modified peaking”, a method of holding water back in head ponds, for release at peak demand hours, and many rivers have plans for a multiple series of dams, which would involve many kilometers of inundated land and forest area. These dams have been labeled as “Green Energy”, but they are not Green, and there are a multitude of research papers and studies by Environment Canada and MNR to back up this statement. Continue reading
The Chute and Third Falls
The Chute is approximately a 30 minute drive from Foleyet, and Third Falls is approximately a 2 hour drive (all bush roads). Both falls have been going through the approvals process with a plan to have these dams erected, and The Chute is the first of many under this new streamlined EA process to reach the Notice of Completion stage in Ontario.
We need to make our voices heard now because The Chute is the stepping stone for future dams to be built. The proponent chose a small northern community first, in the hopes of being allowed to get away with destroying the nature, animal habitats and aquatic species without anyone opposing.
Everyone can help by reviewing the The Chute – EA Report and voicing their opinions to Xeneca. The Environmental Report and other documentation are available on Xeneca’s website – The Chute and Third Falls. Continue reading
Feb 28, 2011:
I was born on the banks of the Sibi Nesswabic (Petawawa River) in unceded Algonquin territory where Xeneca has proposed developments. I still live by the river. I am an Elder of the Algonquins of Pikwàkanagàn First Nation. I am proud of my identity. I have been taught to live my name so you can count on me to work hard to keep the river running freely. I wish to preserve the Petawawa River to be enjoyed by my family and friends now and for the future generations. I ask you to drop all of your plans for developments on the Petawawa River. Continue reading
By Skip Ross:
I have a spirit name, a name that bonds me to the free flowing river that passes by my door. I was born on the very banks of this river. Like my ancestors before me, I know the ways of this river as it flows freely. I know the sturgeon and the catfish. And I am old enough to remember when the eels were plentiful. So I have good credentials to say what I am going to say to you. My personal identity and the identity of my people are tethered to this free flowing river. The sound of the rapids is the united voice of All My Relations. Continue reading
3 February 2011:
Your comments on the importance of balancing the objectives of the Green Energy Act with other legislative mandates are well appreciated. In order to help achieve this balance, MNR will continue to apply existing legislative and policy tools, included those within the LRIA, to ensure that renewable energy projects consider the needs of aquatic ecosystems. Continue reading
May 6, 2011:
However, we are alarmed to have learned that all such elevation requests in the last ten years have been denied. This is totally unacceptable, and indicates that the EA process is broken and is not adequately serving the public’s interest. We therefore request that you intervene as is your power and authority, and vary the Director’s decision. Continue reading
June 20, 2011:
Through my June 15, 2008 public input to MNR re EBR 010-3320 (To establish new regulatory provisions under the Endangered Species Act, 2007 to allow certain activities to continue), I alerted MNR to issues which it could have incorporated into the proposed agreements. For unknown reasons MNR has decided not to follow that advice. I ask that all of my three-year-old public comment to EBR 010-3320 be reviewed and incorporated into any agreement which goes forward. I also ask that my public comments re EBR 011-3334 be reviewed and incorporated into any agreement which goes forward. Continue reading