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McGuinty’s Green Energy Act’s “Mortality Threshold” favours wind developers over Ontario’s natural heritage

Rick Conroy — The Wellington Times — November 16, 2012

How ministry bureaucracy tasked with protecting Ontario’s natural heritage is clearing the way for industrial wind development

What is an Important Bird Area? Does it have any specific meaning or legal weight? Not much, it seems, when it comes to industrial wind factories or solar energy generating facilities, according to the province’s Ministry of Natural Resources.

In response to questions posed in a letter by Milford-area resident Kathy McPherson, an official from the MNR wrote that “IBAs (important bird areas) are nongovernmental designations, and do not constitute a wildlife habitat under the Ministry of the Environment’s Renewable Energy Approval (REA) regulation.”

Eric Boysen, a director of the Renewable Energy Program within the MNR, was only saying what has been evident since the McGuinty government passed the heavy-handed Green Energy Act—that accepted norms of practice, the views of respected conservancy organizations, the public’s expectations about preserving Crown Land and the very primacy of the province’s natural resources are of little consequence to this provincial government, and won’t be allowed to slow down its ambitions for renewable energy.

Boysen goes on to say that IBAs could inform the designation of a SWH (significant wildlife habitat) but only SWHs are protected under the NHA (Natural Heritage Assessment) process.

Boysen’s response provides a window into how ministry bureaucrats, traditionally accused of setting up roadblocks, are actually clearing the path for the developers seeking to build these factories on land that would otherwise be considered off-limits.

(To continue reading, click here)

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