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Letters to the Editor, Nov. 14 (Re: Approved wind farm on Amherst Island)

By Chris Grooms,
Kingston Whig-Standard,
November 13, 2016

Politicians should lead in the ‘right direction’

While I applaud some of Environment Minister Glen Murray’s and Premier Kathleen Wynne’s efforts to reduce Ontario’s greenhouse gas emissions (such as closing coal-fired plants) and to improve our power grid, I am outraged with the approval of a wind farm on Amherst Island and other areas that are clearly environmentally sensitive.

Amherst Island is a globally significant important bird area with high usage by grassland breeding birds, migrating, congregating and wintering songbirds, waterfowl, birds of prey and owls. This includes many species at risk such as Whippoorwill, Bobolink, and Meadowlark. It is plain to see that if anyplace should be off limits to wind or any other industrial development, it is a place like Amherst. It is clear to me that the minister and premier have put aside, for political reasons in a blinkered, mad rush to develop “green” energy, all reasoned and informed argument from all opposed.

The opposition has come from the lower ranking but experienced biologists and ecologists from within the government ministries, from nearly all Canadian conservation organizations like Nature Canada and Ontario Nature, from local organizations like the Kingston Field Naturalists and from birders and local residence. All these knowledgeable people warn of the long-term damage that will be caused to birds and wild habitats by this project. All these objections are trumped by the government and its Green Energy Act. This is a disgraceful and undemocratic abuse of power. I call upon the minister and premier to cancel this project and to look for other ways to truly green Ontario’s economy. The real challenge facing our world and environment is one no one addresses. That challenge is to shape an economy and bring about a cultural change to a zero growth, sustainable situation. Growth in population and economic growth are not green, not good for us in the long term and unsustainable. You can’t keep growing and still have a future for the nature and the environment that sustains us all. That is the real challenge. It is a big one, but the only way forward that does not lead to the degradation and destruction that is the logical outcome of the way we operate now. Why not take a bold step and lead us in the right direction?

Chris Grooms