blanding's turtle Benimoto A\J AlternativesJournal.ca

Blanding's Turtle. Photo: Benimoto \ Flickr.com

It’s dispiriting when newly rival factions of the environmental movement clash over what has become a touchy subject in green circles. Worse when disagreements end up in the justice system.

Yet that’s exactly what played out this week in a Toronto appeals court.

In an issue the media have dubbed "turtles versus turbines," the Prince Edward County Field Naturalists (PECFN), a group often led publicly by outspoken grandmother and wildlife advocate Myrna Wood, found themselves in court this week defending a landmark decision from the Environmental Review Tribunal in July, 2013 which halted a renewable energy project at Ostrander Point near Kingston. The tribunal pointed to the unacceptable impact the development of a 22.5 megawatt wind farm would have on the provincially and federally threatened Blanding’s turtle as justification.

The fact that Wood and PECFN are still in court is a victory in its own right, mind you. Few imagined the tribunal, the members of whom are appointed by the provincial government, would overturn a wind project from developer Gilead Power because of concerns over wildlife impacts. Never mind the proposed wind farm was situated on a globally recognized Important Bird Area – it already had Ministry of Environment approval. It was a done deal. And besides – the tribunal had never rejected a renewable energy approval (REA) for environmental or human health reasons before. Ever.

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Read the rest of the controversial story at The Reeves Report

Andrew Reeves is an environmental writer completing a book about Asian carp in North America. He is a contributing editor at Alternatives Journal and This Magazine’s environmental columnist. His work has also appeared in the Globe & MailSpacing and Corporate Knights.

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