Category Archives: Environment
A big energy Corporation masquerading as poor little wind energy guys trying to help make our Province greener by hacking down big old Cottonwoods in Haldimand County and destroying an active eagle nest to “save” the birds has made their next bad move….They are suing the proverbial “little guy”.
In this case that is a diminutive mother of two who is fighting to protect her family, their heritage and our natural heritage. Esther Wrightman has been at the forefront of the resistance against industrial wind turbines in Ontario, working by day as a rock garden expert to provide for her family while her off hours activism has included managing two websites http://mlwindaction.org/ and http://ontario-wind-resistance.org and demanding accountability from politicians and industry.
Her statement of defence is an inventory of the series of bungles Nextera Energy Canada, a wholly-owned subsidiary of $57.2 billion dollar U.S. company NextEra Energy Ltd., formerly FPL Group Ltd., and owners of Florida Power & Light Inc., has made in the Renewable Energy Approvals process to earn itself the moniker “Next Error”. It is hard to believe such incompetence from a giant corporation has not been intentional. Read article
Green energy may be good for the environment, but a growing number of scientists are concerned it may not be for waterfowl. A recent study in the Dakotas is adding fuel to those concerns. It found breeding duck densities were considerably lower around large-scale wind farms compared to wetlands with no turbines in sight.
“We don’t know if the decline is a result of the towers themselves, the motion, noise of the blades, or the increased traffic from maintenance workers,” says USFWS biologist Dr. Chuck Loesch. “It could be a combination of all those or something else, but that really wasn’t the focus of the study. We wanted to determine if the presence of wind energy development had an impact on duck breeding densities.”
One nesting site had a 56-percent lower breeding pair density than a similar site with no wind turbines. Overall, the number of breeding ducks using wetlands near the wind farms was 20 percent lower than in wetlands with no wind development nearby.
Ducks are avoiding wind projects, but they may not have many options in the future. Loesch says the push for renewable energy will likely lead to a huge number of large-scale projects in the wind-rich Prairie Pothole Region. The projected footprint of future wind farms will cover more than 15,000-square miles by 2030 if the federal government meets its goal. The Department of Energy wants 20 percent of the country’s energy to come from renewable sources. It’s impossible to say where those new turbines will pop up, but Loesch says it’s inevitable many will be near critical areas. Read article
Billion dollar wind company, Nextera, sues activist Esther Wrightman, Kerwood, Ontario (Bornish project). Esther had the temerity to satirize the Nextera logo, using the term “Nexterror”, and also refused to remove a video depicting the brutal removal of an active eagles nest permitted literally “over the weekend.”
According to Jim Wiegand, a specialist in bird biology and wind turbine bird kills:
“Nobody has a history of killing eagles like the wind energy company Nextera. So if you were an eagle it would make perfect sense that their turbines would be terrifying. If you were an eagle minding your own business and had your wing severed from a slashing blade, knowing you were going to die, this would certainly seem like an act of terror. Thousands of eagles have died this way. If you had just fledged your offspring and while they were learning to hunt, had them butchered by nearby turbines, this would also seem to be terrifying. The charity that Nextera wants to donate any settlement funds to should come out and say they want no part in any of this. I think a better idea would be for Nextera to donate any settlement funds to a truly independent Wildlife Biologist, for proper wind turbine mortality and cumulative impact studies.”
Did Nextera anticipate the flurry of articles and media interest that has occurred by suing Rock Garden specialist, and anti-wind activist, Esther Wrightman? And what is the subtext to the 32 Billion (Market Capitalization) company (with numerous paid lobbyists), lawsuit that on the surface incorrectly mentions being called “terrorists” by the blogger, Wrightman, and an antipathy for satirical use of its logo? (Wrightman did not use the word terrorists, but merely changed the logo to “Nexterror,” which could be read as Terror, or Error. This satiric branding, in both shapes, it should be mentioned, has been used by many activists for some time now. Read article
Sarnia Lambton Independent
NextEra Energy is trying to ease fears about the fate of a pair of bald eagles near Parkhill. Middlesex Lambton Wind Action Group is holding a “celebration” near the nest on Kerwood Road May 25 to bring awareness to the fact the eagles will be living within 187 meters of a substation and 800 meters of two wind turbines if the company goes ahead with its plans for the Bornish Wind project.
Muriel Blair of the Middlesex Lambton group is concerned. “It will displace the eagles, even the construction itself will displace them,” she says. “It’s the noise, it’s the vibration that displaces them.”
NextEra raised the ire of landowners, First Nations, environmentalist and anti-turbine activists this winter when it cut down an eagles nest in Haldimand County to make way for a project. Blair is worried that could happen again if the public isn’t aware of the birds, so the get-together was planned to raise awareness. Read article
Yesterday was a beautiful day at the Bald Eagle Celebration, for so many reasons. But at the very end of the day, as about a dozen of of us were packing up, someone yelled, “Hey, look up!”. One of the Bornish Eagles was flying overhead – he circled around us for about a minute, and then took off in the direction of the proposed NextEra Bornish wind project. Some things you just can’t put words to…. this was one of them.
Gord Whitehead, Age Dispatch Focus
Was it a gesture of gratitude? A bald eagle circled overhead just as wind turbine protesters were wrapping up a Saturday afternoon community awareness ‘celebration’ aimed at sparing the rare bird’s nest from nearby electrical power developments.
“The day was very enjoyable, with good collective spirits shared,” said Esther Wrightman, spokesperson for the Middlesex-Lambton Wind Action Group. “But to top it off, when we were packing up at 5 p.m., someone said, ‘look up!’. One of the Bornish eagles was circling right above us, for about a minute before he headed south, into the Bornish Wind Project area. Some things I just don’t have words for, and that was one of those moments.”
Wrightman estimated 200 persons dropped in during the all-afternoon May 25 event at West Williams Community Centre, southwest of Parkhill. Group members were joined by supporters from Toronto, Haldimand County, Goderich, Clinton, Delaware-Munsee and Kettle & Stony Point.
Matt McEachran, Lambton Shield
I don’t know about you, but I’m one of those people that like to pay a lot more for my hydro; it’s a small price to pay to save the environment. Hundreds of thousands of jobs lost due to Ontario’s high electricity prices? No problem. An economy tanking in part because the government is too busy blowing billions on pet environmental projects? Bring it on. Knowing that the environment is better and animals are safer…. awww crap, there goes my theory.
At least that’s how my imaginary conversation with a member of the Ontario Liberal government transpires, now that a photo of a bald eagle’s nest being cut down to make way for wind turbines has gone viral. Yes that’s right, look again. Cutting down a bald eagles nest to make room for wind turbines. That’s the kind of evil, uncaring, environmentally-callus attitude we’ve been trained to expect from a coal generation plant, isn’t it? Oops.
The truth spills out. That picture speaks volumes about the Liberals’ Green Energy Act, far better than all the newspaper columns and Auditor General reports added together, ever could. I mean, a bald eagle? The only thing that could have been a worse public relations disaster would have been a polar bear. Even people who don’t care about the environment care about bald eagles. Everyone knows that. But then again, the Liberals have shown they will let nothing stand in their way from implementing their environmental ideology. Apparently even the very environment they were trying to save in the first place. This picture encapsulates everything that is wrong with the Ontario government’s attitude. With everything really, but especially the Green Energy Act. Read article
Monte Sonnenberg, Simcoe Reformer
[excerpt] “This wasn’t something we at Nextera were happy about,” spokesperson Josie Hernandez said Friday. “But we had to remove the nest to preserve the eagles. We’re very pleased this has been a success. It’s something we’re very proud of.” Wind opponents reply that Nextera may be tooting its own horn prematurely. “Sure they’re proud of what they’ve done,” says Ernie King of Cayuga, chair of Haldimand Wind Concerns. “But when these blades start turning and an eagle gets cut in half, how much of a success story will it be then? Sure they can pat themselves on the back. But that doesn’t change that they took down a nest that a pair of eagles made themselves to make room for three turbines.”
Fred Ortt of Jarvis, also a member of Haldimand Wind Concerns, continues to question Nextera’s decision to remove the nest. Ortt says the company had ample room across the road where it could’ve situated the turbines. Ortt and others claim to know of another eagles’ nest that has yet to cross Nextera’s radar screen. “We’re not going to tell them where it is,” Ortt said. “The MNR will just give them permission to cut that one down too.”
Nextera speculated about the possibility of relocating the nest to another tree. It has decided against that because the nest is too fragile. The company has shown the nest to students in New Credit and plans to donate it to a school that can take care of it. Read article
Brian Keelan, First Monday
“You got to know when to hold’em, know when to fold’em, know when to walk away, know when to run.” That’s not just a cool line from an old Kenny Rogers song. It’s good advice and it has served me well over the years… in poker and in business. I see a lot of similarities between life and poker: you can win a lot and you can lose a lot but most of the time you just keep watching the ante go up while you wait for a good hand. If you’re smart, you learn how the game is played and you never, ever draw to an inside straight.
A few years ago, I was going for a walk along the old (original) Lakeshore road in Bright’s grove – a beautiful stretch from Brigden Road to Perch Creek. It was a sunny day and there was a north wind blowing so the sky was quite clear and visibility was good. That’s when I saw them; the colossal wind turbine machines up by Ipperwash. As the crow flies that’s eight and half miles or 13.6 kilometers from where I stood. They are highly visible in those conditions and now the Ontario Government want to add forty two more and they have plans for up to 500 more in this area.
Last year I drove up to Tobermory and drove past over a hundred of them. They are huge and they are everywhere, and I began to wonder how the people felt when they had one that close to their property. I wouldn’t want one in my back yard and I sure as heck wouldn’t want one in my neighbour’s backyard. I am quite sure that there is only one reason the neighbour would even tolerate one in his backyard and that (I am afraid) is money. Nobody that I have ever met wants one in their yard, not even if they think it is good for the environment… and I know that on paper you can prove it’s good for the environment… as long as the wind is blowing when you need the energy. You can’t store the stuff in giant batteries, you have to send it somewhere and use it as soon as you create it and therein lies a major problem; the ability to produce on demand. Read article
NexTerror cut down one eagle nest in Ontario already this year, and are eying up another at the Bornish project that was just approved last week.
Please mark your calendar to join the Save the Bornish Eagles Gathering:
Date: Saturday, May 25
Place: West Williams Community Centre, 32217 Kerwood Road, Parkhill MAP (right beside the eagle nest)
Daily Commercial News
Ontario’s concrete industry has been enjoying the benefits of the province’s efforts to construct more wind energy and turbines. Concrete has been the material of choice to use as the foundation for wind towers, according the NextEra Energy, one of the largest wind and solar energy developers in North America.
“Given its durability, resilience and continuously improving environmental footprint, concrete can play an important role in building sustainable infrastructure,” said the Cement Association of Canada in a statement to the Daily Commercial News. “Enabling the deployment of sustainable energy by providing an important building material for wind turbines is one exciting example. Concrete also provides added economic benefits to communities where these turbines are built since concrete is always produced locally.”
NextEra Energy uses over 800 metric tons of concrete for each turbine they construct, with investments worth $1.7 billion and 8 wind projects in Ontario, also adding more jobs in the concrete industry. Read article
I spy with my little eye something that will NEVER AGAIN be removed by a wind developer in Ontario. An eagle nest. Over my dead body, NexTerror.
When the community labels Nextera “NexTerror” and “NextError”, it isn’t for just any old reason. Perhaps parody is ingrained in Canadians, and this is why Nextera has earned itself yet another new name: NESTerror. We watched the take down of the eagle’s nest in Haldimand, and literally vowed never again.
So this weekend some pictures of two bald eaglea and their nest were sent to me by a local resident. This nest is in the Nextera Bornish Wind Project (@ Kerwood Rd & Elginfield Rd), close to wind turbines (634m), and very close (187m) to the massive switchyard for the Bornish, Adelaide, Jericho and Cedar Point Wind Projects— a total of 221 turbines for Middlesex and Lambton counties. The Bornish and Adelaide projects are scheduled to be approved by the MOE this month.
The Haldimand nest destruction was not a ‘one-off’, I’m sure of that, even though Nextera rep Tom Bird told us, “I absolutely don’t want to do that again.” Not even a month after they took down the nest in Haldimand county, they were eying up one in Middlesex county.
Looking through Nextera’s website I came across these recent addendums from February, 2013:
Petition from the Friends of Tundra Swans – Please Sign Now!
The Honourable Kathleen Wynne, Premier of Ontario
The Honourable Jim Bradley, Minister of the Environment, Province of Ontario
Tom Mitchell, President and Chief Executive Officer, Ontario Power Generation
Please stop the multiple wind turbine projects that will spell the destruction of the Tundra Swan migration habitat on the Thedford Bog near Grand Bend on Lake Huron.
March 24 2013- Thedford Bog, Lambton Shores – Nextera Jericho and Goshen Projects (92+64 turbines) will surround the bog.
As you know, every March 10,000-15,000 Tundra Swans migrate from the eastern USA seaboard to the Arctic tundra of Canada and Alaska. On their epic 6,500-kilometer migration the swans stop to rest and feed on the Thedford Bog flats and environs near Grand Bend on Lake Huron. The Thedford Bog area is a unique habitat ideally suited specifically for the migrating Tundra Swans, with its wide expanse of flat fields that feature large areas of ice, water and snow in March, providing safety and undisturbed quiet for resting, and food in the surrounding agricultural corn stubble fields for building strength. Tourists, photographers, bird watchers and outdoor enthusiasts flock to marvel at the spectacle of this annual migration every year. Read and SIGN Petition
By Bob Boughner, Chatham Daily News
[Excerpt] “I know how many good people there are in our rural farm communities and I believe farmers do care about their neighbours,” she said. ‘We can do better together.” Thompson said she considered selling her home in south Chatham-Kent because of nearby turbines but has been told she would have to list it for 50 to 55% of her investment or 30 to 40% of replacement value.
Thompson has also asked the Power Authority and Ministry of Environment to not allow the two closet turbines to her home to be activated until there is proof they won’t interfere with her husband’s ICD heart implant and until her other concerns have been satisfactorily addressed and resolved.
Thompson said she is opposed to any cash payments to municipalities, local residents and community trust funds by wind turbine companies. “If they believe something has to be done to address identified or perceived adverse impacts and feel some obligation to do something, any money made available should be used for physical protection and enhancement of the rural environment and rural family heritage,” she said. Read article
London Free Press
GRAND BEND – With thousands of tundra swans honking in the background, dozens of anti-wind protesters rallied Sunday against plans for giant turbines in the area. “These companies have no concerns for nature. It is just sad,” said Dave Griffiths of Bluewater Against Turbines citizens group. The protesters harvested signatures from more than 50 carloads on a petition calling for a stop to plans to establish the wind farms in the area. The protesters maintain the turbines will disrupt the migratory patterns of the swans and other wildlife. NextEra Energy Canada, which is seeking government approval for the Goshen and Jericho wind farms, has said it will abide by any setbacks required to protect the swans. Read article
Anti-wind turbine group jumps to the defence of tundra swans and area rest stops they covet during migration
By John Miner, The London Free Press
After losing their battle to save a bald eagle nest from the chainsaw, anti-wind turbine activists are turning their fight to the tundra swan. “If we continue to allow industry to displace and destroy our habitat, we are really looking at an environmental disaster in the long run. It is not just the tundra swans, it is the geese, it is the eagles,” said Muriel Allingham of the Middlesex Lambton Wind Action Group.
An information rally is planned for 11 a.m. Sunday, south of Grand Bend at the Thedford Bog, where the swans stop to rest on their spring migration from the Chesapeake Bay area to nest on the Arctic coastline. The Grand Bend area, where thousands of the tundra swans can sometimes be viewed, also falls within two large wind farms planned by NextEra Energy, a subsidiary of U.S. energy giant NextEra, formerly known as Florida Light and Power.
At least one of the 80-metre-tall wind turbines is proposed to be sited within the bog area. Plans for the two wind farms — Jericho and Goshen — call for construction of 169 turbines. Allingham said the turbines will disrupt the swans’ migration route. “This Florida-based company is coming into our province and running roughshod over our wildlife,” Allingham said. Read article
Paul Morden, Sarnia Observer
Tundra Swans fly over farm fields near the Lambton Heritage Museum earlier this month. The swans traditionally visit the area during their annual migration. Members of the Middlesex-Lambton Wind Action Group plan to rally Sunday. 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., along Greenway Road in Lambton Shores to take their message to swan watchers.
Muriel Allingham, with the Middlesex-Lambton Wind Action Group, said some of its members will out along Greenway Road from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. to pass along information to the public. The road, near the Lambton Heritage Museum, is a popular spot to view tundra swans stopping over in the Thedford bog during their annual migration. The wind action group is fighting plans to build wind farms in the area, and says turbines could impede the swan’s migration.
Nextera Energy Canada is seeking provincial approval to build as many as 154 wind turbines in the area with its Jericho and Goshen wind projects. “A lot of people believe wind power is green,” Allingham said. “They don’t understand how it affects the environment, the wildlife and people’s health.” Read article
- February 7, 2013: Letter from Minister of Natural Resources Michael Gravelle Regarding Bird and Bat Guidelines for Wind Power, January 25, 2013
- February 11, 2013: Letter from Monte to the North Middlesex Council regarding Wind Turbines
- March 1, 2013: Letter From MPP Monte McNaughton to the Minister of Energy Requesting Municipalities Have Planning Authority Over Industrial Wind Turbines
- November 13, 2012 Response letter to MPP McNaughton from the Ombudsman of Ontario regarding the Bornish Wind Project
- November 7, 2012: MPP McNaughton’s second letter to the Minister of the Environment about the Bornish Wind Project
- October 25, 2012: MPP Monte McNaughton’s letter to Andre Marin, Ombudsman of Ontario
- October 23, 2012: MPP McNaughton’s letter to the Minister of the Environment
- August 8, 2012: MPP McNaughton’s letter to Minister of Energy Christopher Bentley regarding apparent contamination of well water by wind turbines
“However, biologists are also concerned that leaving the nest in this location may have led to adult eagles being killed or injured due to the proximity of the nest to wind turbines.”
Letter from Minister of Natural Resources:
Thank you for your e-mail to my predecessor the Honourable Michael Gravelle about the removal of the bald eagles’ nest in Haldimand County. I appreciate that you took the time to share your views, and I am pleased to respond.
Expanding clean and renewable sources of energy is key to the government’s plan to phase out coal-fired generation, mitigate climate change, create green jobs and support technological innovation in renewable energy.
The Summerhaven Wind Energy Centre, located in Haldimand County, is expected to produce enough energy for approximately 32,000 homes in Ontario. This project is contributing to the development of clean renewable sources of energy so Ontarians will have a sustainable supply of power now and in the future.
This project has been awarded a Feed-in-Tariff contract by the Ontario Power Authority. It has also received the Renewable Energy Approval from the Ministry of the Environment and an approved Natural Heritage Assessment (NHA) from the Ministry of Natural Resources. No Significant Wildlife Habitat was identified at this location during the preparation of the NHA. Read the rest of this entry
Are you watching the annual spring migration of the tundra swans? Are they flying over areas that will be proposed wind developments, or landing in fields that will soon have turbines? Send your observations and pictures to Ontario Wind Resistance firstname.lastname@example.org to create a visual to illustrate this amazing journey of these birds as they rest and forage on the shores before moving onto their summer nesting grounds in the high Arctic. Displacement of these swans is a serious concern that is being ignored by the wind developers and our provincial government. View all images and reports here
Heather Wright, Sarnia-Lambton Independent
A donation to a conservation authority by one of the wind energy companies planning a massive project in the Grand Bend area is “a violation of public trust” according to anti-wind activist. And officials with the conservation authority which accepted it say it may be time to create a sponsorship policy.
For the past six years, the Ausable Bayfield Conservation Authority has held a golf tournament to raise money to maintain trails in a memorial park in Exeter. Last year, NextEra Energy was one of sponsors of the event. In an interview with QMI Agency, NextEra officials say they have a long history of backing community initiatives and they make the contributions “because it is the right thing to do.”
But the sponsorship drawn the ire of anti-wind activists who say the conservation authority has to approve the projects and should not be accepting money from the companies.
Marcelle Brooks of the Middlesex Lambton Wind Concern isn’t surprised NextEra is passing out cash in the community. “They are specifically aligning themselves with community and environmental organizations in order to appear sensitive,” she says. “Fortunately, residents know all about NextEra and that they are neither environmentally sensitive nor sensitive to the needs of the community.
“It is an absolute conflict of interest to accept any money from a company exploiting its land holdings…NextEra needs to get across the Ausable River (which is under the jurisdiction of the conservation authority). It is a violation of a public trust.” Read article
Margaret Wente, The Globe and Mail
On the morning of Jan. 5, workers with a fleet of heavy equipment mounted a stealth assault on a bald eagle’s nest near the shore of Lake Erie. Their mission was to remove the nest – one of only a few dozen bald eagle nests in Southern Ontario – to make way for an access road to the site of a new industrial wind turbine. As a pair of eagles looked on from a nearby tree, the workers sawed off the limb with the giant nest and took it away to parts unknown.
Ontario’s environmental regulations would usually make this illegal. But the wind company, NextEra Energy, one of the biggest operators in the province, had obtained special dispensation.
Wind power is supposed to be environmentally friendly. But a lot of environmentalists don’t think so. “People couldn’t believe it happened,” says Scott Petrie, a waterfowl ecologist and executive director of Long Point Waterfowl, a conservation group. “Cutting down bald eagle nests flies in the face of anything you would call green energy.”
Wind turbines have invaded many of Ontario’s most scenic and ecologically rich areas. They’re invading coastal wetlands and spreading along major migratory flyways – up the Bruce Peninsula, west to Lake Huron, south to Lake Erie, and east to Prince Edward County, where environmental groups are fighting a major wind development in Ostrander Point, an important bird area. “We have no idea whatsoever of the cumulative impact of these things,” says Dr. Petrie. Turbines chew up birds and other flying things, and they disrupt wildlife habitats. Read article
By Paul Morden, Sarnia Observer
Making the television documentary, Wind Rush, changed filmmaker Andrew Gregg’s point of view about Ontario’s leap into wind energy.
The film, narrated by Doc Zone host Ann-Marie MacDonald, airs Feb. 7 on CBC.
Gregg, a veteran documentary writer, director and producer, spent two years working on Wind Rush after the CBC brought the subject to the production company he works with.
“There was so much in the media a few years ago about opposition to what looked like such a benign and green form of energy,” Gregg said.
Gregg said he started out skeptical of health claims being made by wind turbine opponents.
Plus, he said he grew up on a farm and could see how lease income from turbines could help farmers out.
“There seemed to be a lot of pluses and not a lot of negatives.”
And then, the filmmakers began looking more closely at the issue and found the complaints they were hearing “were surprisingly consistent,” Gregg said.
They also talked to specialists and scientists, including Hazel Lynn, the Grey Bruce medical officer of health.
“She didn’t have a dog in this fight, one way or another,” he said.
But, Lynn saw how consistent symptoms some residents living near turbines were reporting “and then started to think, ‘OK, we’ve got a problem here,’” Gregg said.
“It was a very rational way of looking at things.” Read the rest of this entry
Nextera Energy is questioned at a public information meeting in Exeter on their recent removal of a bald eagle nest, the tree it was in and the surrounding vegetation, in Haldimand County to make way for the company’s Summerhaven Wind Project. In this video Nextera spokespersons try to explain away the removal. They are speaking to residents who will live in their proposed Bornish, Goshen, Jericho and Adelaide projects who are not very encouraged by their responses.