Nature Canada Supports Senate Motion for Moratorium on Wind Projects in Important Bird Areas
November 28, 2011 (Ottawa) - Conservation group Nature Canada today announced its support of a Senate motion calling for greater protection of Important Bird Areas in Canada’s Upper St. Lawrence-Eastern Lake Ontario region.
The motion, announced today by Senator Bob Runciman, calls for “a moratorium on the approval of wind energy projects on islands and onshore areas within three kilometres of the shoreline in the Upper St. Lawrence-Eastern Lake Ontario region, from the western tip of Prince Edward County to the eastern edge of Wolfe Island, until the significant threat to congregating, migrating or breeding birds and migrating bats is investigated thoroughly and restrictions imposed to protect internationally recognized important bird areas from such developments.”
Nature Canada joined Senator Runciman in making the announcement at a press conference on Parliament Hill. Also participating were Cheryl Anderson from the Prince Edward County Field Naturalists and Rosemary Kent from the Prince Edward Point Bird Observatory.
“We believe in good things in good places,” said Ted Cheskey, Nature Canada’s manager of bird conservation programs. “To achieve wind energy’s greatest promise – a clean alternative to fossil fuels that helps, not harms wildlife -- wind turbines should not be located in Important Bird Areas.”
In some cases, when wind projects are poorly located, the benefits of renewable energy are offset by a terrible cost to wildlife. TransAlta's Wolfe Island Wind Energy plant, near Kingston Ontario, for example, is one of the most destructive for birds and bats in North America. The casualty rate for birds at this site is seven times the industry average.
Wolfe Island, and other areas in the Eastern Lake Ontario basin, are found within what are known as Important Bird Areas, or IBAs. IBAs are literally the most significant sites on earth for birds, places where they breed, feed, and rest in great numbers. IBAs are recognized according to strict international scientific criteria. These are places birds depend on for survival.
“We have an opportunity to get this right, now,” said Cheskey. “Clear standards are needed to ensure that projects are more carefully sited to exclude wind energy plants from Important Bird Areas, and that’s why we support Senator Bob Runciman’s motion announced today.”
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