Land clearing to resume on part of the White Pines project area
Astay of activities on the White Pines industrial wind turbine project was extended, but only in part of the project area, by the Environmental Review Tribunal reviewing the appeal brought by the Alliance to Protect Prince Edward County (APPEC) and John Hirsch.
Early in March, the Tribunal ruled the project would cause serious and irreversible harm to little brown bats and Blanding’s turtles. But it refused to stop the developer from clearing the site until another hearing is conducted to determine if remedies proposed by the developer will be sufficient to mitigate the harm.
A frantic series of appeals and court appearances followed until the Tribunal issued a temporary stay on April 8. More appearances followed by APPEC’s lawyer to extend the stay of activity, including land clearing until the remedy hearing is completed and a decision rendered.
Instead, the Tribunal ruled that the developer may not continue brush clearing in areas identified and defined by the developer’s consultant as spring foraging areas for the Blanding’s turtle. It has, however, allowed brush clearing to be carried out around several of other turbine sites.
“We are disappointed,” said APPEC president Orville Walsh in a statement. “We can only conclude that the Tribunal has an incomplete understanding of “significant habitat” and the importance of protecting all significant habitat, not merely one specific type.”
He added that APPEC’s board will meet with legal counsel to consider its next steps.