Update 2, January 12, 2013: MNR double standards: “Many in Norfolk are surprised that the MNR granted the permit when DeCarolis Farms Ltd. of Simcoe was fined $10,000 more than 10 years ago for chopping down trees near an eagle’s nest north of Fisher’s Glen. The MNR laid charges after an eaglet was found dead in the nest. There have been frequent suggestions in recent days of a double standard”2.
Update 1, January 12, 2013: Coincidentally the MNR upgraded the status of bald eagles from a species-at-risk to a species of special concern several weeks ago. The upgrade, according to MPP Barrett, conveniently coincides with the pending arrival of more than 180 turbines in Haldimand County.
If you don’t like the advice you’re given, ask a different expert. At least that seems to be the way the MNR makes its science-based decisions.
As we explained in our previous post, Not a Prayer, the MNR & NextEra cut down one of only 4 cottonwoods in the county in order to remove an Eagle’s nest that was too close to the site of the company’s proposed IWT.
The MNR claims that it solicited the advice of experts who recommended the removal of the nest – as opposed to relocating the proposed IWT.
“Bald eagles have been known to have alternative nests within their territory,” Jolanta Kowalski, a spokesperson for the MNR, said Monday in an email. “Authorizing the removal of this nest will encourage these bald eagles to relocate farther away from these turbines while allowing the project to proceed as planned.”1
However according to Monte Sonnenberg at the Simcoe Reformer:
“Jody Allair is a biologist with Bird Studies Canada in Port Rowan. He is the chief monitor of the bald eagle nesting program in southern Ontario. The MNR sought his opinion before issuing the removal permit.
Allair became aware of the nest last November. It is a new nest belonging to a young mating pair. Allair told the MNR that the nest should be left alone and the turbines relocated elsewhere. Allair only learned of the nest’s removal on Monday.
Allair said no one can predict with certainty whether this mating pair will skip a year due to habitat disruption. That, he says, remains to be seen. Allair’s email and voice mail is overflowing with outrage over the incident.
“I was very surprised and disappointed by the MNR’s unprecedented decision to remove this nest,” he said. “The bald eagle is no longer listed as endangered. But we have always afforded their nests some measure of protection. There are a lot of people really unhappy with this. People have a lot of questions, and so do I.”
More and more it seems that the MNR sees its role as enabling corporations and not protecting our environment. It seems that, for the MNR, allowing this project to proceed as planned was the priority.
We indeed have a lot of questions.