January 15, 2008

As If There Aren't Enough Issues In the Great Lakes Already...

Ontario to approve Great Lakes wind power - Toronto Star

Don't get me wrong, I'm all for implementing clean energy projects in Ontario however, I can't see the wisdom in building off0shore projects in the Great Lakes. The Ontario government did the right thing when they put a moratorium in place to study this issue but it seems enough pressure has been applied and the Great Lakes will soon be known as the Great Floating Windmill Farms.

There are enough problems, currently, with the Great Lakes that have been created by our lack of care when working in them. There are serious pollution problems caused by sewage dumping and other chemical dumping (i.e. mercury). There are massive problems with indigenous species being on the brink of extinction due to invasive species and over-fishing. Additionally, the Lakes are extremely fragile ecologically from shoreline projects and developments, dam construction and past logging projects. In other words, the Great Lakes are under enough pressure as it is and adding to that pressure, not just by Ontario but surrounding States as well, will only push the problem further. And this doesn't even get into the effects it will have on non-aquatic migratory species, etc.

Ontario, the Canadian Federal government and many US States are already spending hundreds of millions, collectively, to reverse and repair much of the damage that has been caused. There are also agreements in place about care and usage of the Lakes. From where I'm sitting, allowing many massive off-shore windmill projects is counter-productive to those efforts and therefore makes much of the money that has been invested a complete waste. Then again, this just seems to be par for the course when it comes to energy and the environment for this province. I may be supportive of the Ontario Liberals, but I have always had issues with their energy and environmental outlooks. This isn't any different. Taking the short-sited route when it comes energy is typical and unfortunately, I have a feeling it's going to come at a great cost.


Herbie said...

Wow, when you put that way, wind turbines sound like mercury spilling, sewage spewing, bird killing, environmental dumping towers.

Of course, I don't "think" wind turbines are designed to spill mercury or kill birds. At least, the studies in Europe and the United States haven't found that - yet.

Wind turbines (on land or on water) will produce an environmental impact. Solar batteries have an environmental impact, methane gas collection from landfills has an environmental footprint. And we all know that coal has an environmental footprint. I guess we just have to decide what kind of footprint we want to make. This particular government has decided on not making a coal footprint anymore and they are looking at other footprints to make.

Make no mistake - Ontario will make an environmental footprint in its efforts to provide energy to its residence.

I'm of the opinion that wind turbines (both on land and on water) is the less of a footprint than the alternatives.

Kyle said...

I don't disagree with you about the impact. But what I'm talking about is the combination of all of this. I know the impacts that wind turbines make, on- or off-shore. I just don't believe that having off-shore turbines in the Great Lakes is the best policy, given the struggles the Lakes are currently going through. If there weren't pollution, ecological, species problems going on, I wouldn't have such a problem with this plan. Since all those problems do exist and are severe, maybe making more changes and adding more pressure to the Lakes isn't the best idea at this point.

Kyle said...

Herbie, since you accessed my site from Government of Ontario servers, can I trust you posted your response wasn't politically motivated? :)

Look, I'm an involved member of the Liberals. I don't hide that fact and I didn't in my post either. I just don't believe I have to necessarily agree with everything they do. So far, I haven't liked much of our party's energy policy. There are good parts as in the support for citizen initiatives in solar farms, wanting to add more green energy mix, etc. But I sometimes think the big scale ideas are short sited. This is one of those times.

Quotes from people smarter than me...

"If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich" ~ JFK

"Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter. " ~ Martin Luther King Jr.

"Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety. " ~ Benjamin Franklin

"First it is necessary to stand on your own two feet. But the minute a man finds himself in that position, the next thing he should do is reach out his arms. " ~ Kristin Hunter

"When you're a mayor and you have a problem you blame the provincial government. If you are provincial government and you have a problem you blame the federal government. We don't blame the Queen any more, so once in a while we might blame the Americans." ~ Jean Chretien

"Which is ideology? Which not? You shall know them by their assertion of truth, their contempt for considered reflection, and their fear of debate." ~ John Ralston Saul

"It is undoubtedly easier to believe in absolutes, follow blindly, mouth received wisdom. But that is self-betrayal." ~ John Ralston Saul

"Everybody dies, Tracey. Someone's carrying a bullet for you right now, doesn't even know it. The trick is to die of old age before it finds you." ~ Cpt. Malcolm Reynolds (Firefly, Episode 12)