WADE BABINEAU EDITORIAL CARTOON: Saturday, March 28, 2020
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P.E.I. Energy coastal wind towers would destroy the fragile ecosystem in Eastern Kings County.
With over 100 members, the Eastern Kings Community Association has sent dozens of letters and research documents to Premier King and government ministers pinpointing the detrimental impact of wind turbines in Eastern Kings. Though the most immediate and irreversible threat is the ecological impact other considerations are the negative impact on the local economy, the natural landscape, community wellness and landowner rights.
A well-respected local environmental group refutes P.E.I. Energy’s claim that the proposed wind turbine farm in Eastern Kings is good for the environment. According to the Souris and area branch of P.E.I. Wildlife Federation, spokesperson Fred Cheverie said, "The lack of environmental and community consultation is staggering. We are exceptionally disappointed that our credible organization, was never asked to be involved in the consultation process of this proposed project.
“This is not a case of ‘not-in-our-backyard,’ it’s seven, 600-foot towers in the front yard. Any time a massive construction project destroys a sensitive ecological area it is no longer a green project. In this day and age, it is unfathomable that government plans destroy a fragile ecosystem, they are out of sync with the times.”
P.E.I. Energy Corporation wishes to install 60-storey turbines as close as possible to a small refuge site installed for migratory birds, called the Red Triangle. This site gets smaller through every year by coastal erosion pushing the migratory birds directly into the windmills.
According to the Souris and area branch of P.E.I. Wildlife Federation: “Without question, it is irresponsible to do this when it is well established that our bird population has dropped 40-60 per cent over the past 40 years. It is obvious that this division of the P.E.I. government has no respect for wildlife or ecology.”
The wind turbine project will require vast areas of natural marshland to be filled in. Many benefits of natural marshland, from flood control, water conservation, water purification and of course, incredible wildlife habitat will be destroyed. Destruction of this type of natural feature is definitely not in keeping with modern conservation practice. In fact, it is the very opposite of conservation, and more disturbingly, is irreversible.
Premier Dennis King’s mandate letter upon election made it clear he was “putting people at the heart of every decision.” In spite of this promise, Steven Myers, minister of Transportation, Infrastructure and Energy stated last October about the wind turbine project in Eastern Kings:
"I don't want to leave it in the air that there’s a possibility that we're not going there. Our homework is done and the plan is set.” This statement came at a time when little public consultation had been done, the environmental impact assessment had not been completed and the municipality had not approved the project.
It’s clear the government and P.E.I. Energy are not keeping the promise of transparent decision-making and broad public engagement, and seem determined to plow over any concerns, regardless of the consequences on the people and the environment. Like oil, wind energy is big money and disregards the environment and people.
To read the full submission by the Souris and area branch of P.E.I. Wildlife Federation.
Eastern Kings Community Association