Ontario environment commissioner recommends wind clamp-down

CANADA: Ontario's environmental watchdog says the provincial government is not doing enough to protect bird and bat populations from wind project development.

Gord Miller, the province’s independent environmental commissioner, used his annual report to recommend more areas of the province be off-limits to wind turbines.

"I fully support wind power," said Miller. "However, the use of wind power must be balanced by the equally important goal of protecting birds and bats. To accomplish that goal, we need to be smarter about where we place wind power facilities."

While the province has guidelines in place, he says, they lack any criteria for identifying and avoiding bat migratory stopover areas and any prohibition on development in designated important bird areas. Approval processes also give no consideration to cumulative effects.

In response, the Canadian Wind Energy Association said the industry has a "strong track record" of understanding and mitigating wildlife impacts. Ontario has some of the most stringent mortality thresholds in the world.

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