ERT decides in favour of APPEC’s stay motion, some reservations — statement by Orville Walsh

April 25, 2016 Borys Holowacz Latest Posts

Today the Environmental Review Tribunal issued a decision on APPEC’s motion for a stay on WPD’s proposed White Pines Wind Project.  The Tribunal has upheld APPEC’s motion in part, finding that vegetation clearing will cause irreparable harm to the Blanding’s turtle.  According to the Tribunal: “the Approval Holder’s vegetation clearing and site preparation activities in spring foraging habitat in the specific locations proposed for work in the Spring of 2016 will cause irreparable harm to Blanding’s turtles.”

While the Tribunal has put a stop to vegetation-clearing in the spring foraging habitat of these turtles it is silent with respect to the potential destruction of other types of habitat that are also critical to Blanding’s turtles, including their over-wintering habitat and oviposition habitat.  The decision does not bode well for these turtle which as we know use many types of habitats across the White Pines project site and depend on all of them for their survival.

For this reason we are disappointed.  We can only conclude that the Tribunal has an incomplete understanding of “significant habitat” and the importance of protecting all significant habitat, not merely one specific type.

The board is discussing the implications of the decision with our legal counsel and giving careful consideration to next steps.  More information will follow.

Regards,
Orville Walsh
President, APPEC


Click here to read the pdf file of the decision

[46] The Tribunal orders that vegetation clearing and site preparation activities associated with the Project in areas identified as Blanding’s Turtle spring foraging habitat in the Stantec Species at Risk Report, dated August 2012, are stayed pending the resolution of the appeals.
[47] The adjournment of the hearing, ordered on March 21, 2016, continues in effect.
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