MOECC’s Statement of Environmental Values — analysis by Myrna Wood

January 21, 2016 Borys Holowacz Latest Posts

South Shore Map FinalPrince Edward County South Shore Important Bird Area (IBA) is outlined.

During oral submissions held in Toronto on January 15, 2016, MOECC lawyer Ms. Davis emphasized the MOECC was acting in the public interest by approving the Gilead power project because it involves renewable energy.

A “discussion” between Mr. Wright and Ms. Davis regarding the MOECC’s Statement of Environmental Values (SEV) took place. Mr. Wright has required Ms. Davis to submit to the Tribunal by Wednesday January 20 the arguments she is using to support her contention that approving the Ostrander Point project satisfies (or doesn’t) the Statement of Environmental Values of the MOECC.

The MOECC’s SEV explains:

How the purposes of the EBR will be applied when decisions that might significantly affect the environment are made in the Ministry;

They quote the Ontario Environmental Bill of Rights (EBR)’s founding principles as:

  • The people of Ontario recognize the inherent value of the natural environment.
  • The people of Ontario have a right to a healthful environment.
  • The people of Ontario have as a common goal the protection, conservation and restoration of the natural environment for the benefit of present and future generations.

The SEV continues to describe how the EBR purposes will be applied ‘when decisions that might significantly affect the environment are made in the Ministry’. The ministry will adopt:

  • An ecosystem approach to environmental protection and resource development
  • Consideration of cumulative effects
  • Consideration of the effects of its decisions on current and future generations, consistent with sustainable development principles
  • A precautionary, science-based approach

Further,

In making decisions, the Ministry will use the best science available. It will support scientific research, the development and application of technologies, processes and services.

The Ministry will encourage energy conservation in those sectors where it provides policy direction or programs…

The Ministry of the Environment believes in the wise use and conservation of natural resources. The Ministry will support Government of Ontario initiatives to conserve energy and water, and to wisely use our air, water and land resources in order to generate sustainable environmental, health and economic benefits for present and future generations.



 

The SEV repeatedly refers to conservation of energy and natural resources.  The industrial development of the Prince Edward County South Shore, which would necessarily destroy much land, would not be a wise use of Ontario’s natural resources for present and future generations of people or wildlife. All the evidence produced by scientists about the South Shore attests to its irreplaceable importance to wildlife species.  It is the staging area for millions of migratory birds, bats and insects.  The biodiversity of its wetlands and alvars provide the habitat to sustain these migrating species and its hundreds of resident species, many of whom are Species at Risk such as the Endangered Blanding’s turtle, Bobolink, Swallows, Whip-poor-will, King Rail, Least Bittern, Black Tern, among others.

The MOECC’s priority responsibility should be the protection of these species and their habitats. Secondarily, its commitment to conserve energy and water through sustainable development requires retrofitting of energy consuming buildings and vehicles, protection of wetlands, and the conservation of our natural resources.

If new generation of renewable energy is required then the most sustainable siting of these projects will be on Ontario’s brownfields, not its declining wildlife habitat.

 

 

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