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 →
The Snapping Turtle is a special concern species under Ontario’s Endangered Species Act. A management plan will be prepared. The Snapping Turtle has also been assessed nationally as a special concern species by the federal Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC). Status: special concern provincially and designated special concern federally.
The following is an important development with regard to the 4 Vermilion River hydroelectric proposals currently going through the approvals process. In March of 2011 I was asked by Mark Holmes, of Xeneca Power Development Inc. (Xeneca), if I would sit on a Vermilion Stakeholders’ Committee (VSAC), and early in 2012 I eventually agreed, on the grounds that if the VSAC were to find these projects were not environmentally and ecologically viable that the project would be dropped. The following correspondence clearly sets out why I am no longer a member of the VSAC Committee.
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.
The Green Energy Act and Green Economy Act do not allow municipalities to have a say in green energy proposals, however, the Township of Nairn and Hyman, through this Motion, are sending a strong message to the public, developers, and the government that these hydroelectric proposals carry with them significant environmental, ecological, economic and social costs; present unnecessary threats to public health and safety; and are not wanted in this area.
The Vermilion River Stewardship was formed to deal with several challenges that are presently facing the Vermilion River and its Watershed.
Four proposed Run-of-River Waterpower Projects
9 Waste Water Treatment Facilities, 3 holding ponds, 1 tailings pond, and lift stations dumping treated, undertreated and untreated effluent into the Vermilion River Watershed.
Mining development creating effluent discharge and pollution
Algae and Cyanobacteria
Invasive Species, such Eurasian Watermilfoil
As you can see, the Vermilion River Stewardship is dealing with several challenges, however, the most pressing and urgent at the moment are the four proposed waterpower projects presently going through the Environmental Assessment (EA) process. This report will focus on these challenges. Continue reading →