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Senator Robert Runciman>
OTTAWA, January 10, 2014 – It will be a dereliction of duty if the Ministry of Environment allows a major industrial wind turbine project to go ahead on Amherst Island, Senator Bob Runciman said today.

Runciman was responding to the news that the Ontario government has deemed complete a Renewable Energy Approval application by Windlectric for up to 37 giant turbines to be installed on Amherst Island, just west of Kingston. The government is now inviting public comment on the proposal until March 8.

The senator, who introduced a motion passed unanimously by the Senate two years ago calling for a moratorium on such projects in Important Bird Areas such as Amherst Island, has written the Ministry of the Environment objecting to this latest project. He noted that a similar project on Wolfe Island, also an Important Bird Area, has proven to be one of the deadliest for birds and bats in North America.

“The government is riding roughshod over local objections, including by the duly elected council of Loyalist Township, and ignoring that this is one of the most critical areas for birds in North America, and home to 34 species at risk,” Runciman said.

“If anyone came along with a proposal posing this kind of threat to birds and other wildlife in such a sensitive area, but it didn’t have the words ‘Green Energy’ stamped on it, there would be no question this government would put a stop to it,” Runciman said. “And if they didn’t, the environmental lobby would harass them until they did. But because it’s green energy, the environmental movement seems content to ignore the despoiling of the environment and the wanton killing of birds.”

The situation is even more tragic, considering that the expansion of renewables, which typically provide power at times when there is no demand, has resulted in a huge over-supply of electricity, meaning it is being sold to places like Michigan, Minnesota and Quebec at a fraction of the cost of generation.

“We are destroying the quality of life in rural communities to produce power we don’t need and then giving that power away to neighbouring jurisdictions at roughly 25 per cent of the cost we’re paying to generate it. Then those jurisdictions use that cheap power to compete with Ontario industries. Is it any wonder Ontario lost more than 39,000 jobs last month alone?” Runciman said.

For more information or to arrange an interview, please contact:
Barry Raison, Policy Advisor, Office of Senator Bob Runciman
(613) 943-4020 (office) or barry.raison@sen.parl.gc.ca