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Thursday, November 22, 2018

LLG: Continuing wind development threatens environmentally sensitive grassland areas


Livingstone Landowners Group - In a bold move, the Municipal District of Pincher Creek this month denied development permit approval for the proposed 50MW Windy Point Wind Park northeast of Pincher Creek.  The decision follows numerous concerns raised by area residents and landowners about the environmental risks posed by this project and other wind-related infrastructure development.

"We applaud the MD of Pincher Creek Municipal Planning Commission for taking the widespread concerns of so many people to heart," said Bill Trafford, President of the Livingstone Landowners Group (LLG). "We need to consider the cumulative impact of all this development, including the proposed transmission infrastructure tied specifically to new wind projects in this region."

"While the MD has historically supported renewable energy, the Pincher Creek area now has a disproportionate share of wind development in the province. Each new development adds to the fragmentation of our native grasslands and increases the threat to many species at risk," he added.

The LLG is a group of area landowners and concerned Albertans whose purpose is to promote responsible planning, use and protection of the rare and irreplaceable land and water resources between the Livingstone Range and the Porcupine Hills in Southwestern Alberta.

"We are becoming extremely concerned about the impact unfettered wind and transmission development is having on this region's natural biodiversity assets, watersheds and ecosystems," Trafford added.  "Every project is looked at as if it is a standalone development. But we are starting to see the cumulative impact and if action isn't taken now, it will be too late. Once you destroy this unique landscape it can never be recovered."

Submissions to the MD requesting the Windy Point development application be denied also highlighted concerns previously raised by Alberta Environment and Parks (AEP) with respect to this project. The AEP Review and Reassessment (2017) document for Windy Point "identified a significant change in risk from the original 2011 assessment for multiple species of wildlife and wildlife habitat." Based on updated wildlife assessment data, the project is assessed to have "high, unmitigated risk" to wildlife and wildlife habitat.

"Renewable energy targets are intended to protect the environment ­ not destroy it. We need to act now to preserve the beauty and biodiversity of this unique region from the cumulative impact of the wind and transmission projects now proposed for this area," Trafford said.

1 comment:

  1. Some people seem to think what is the harm in a few windmills. If only that were true! The infrastructure to support these wind energy projects is huge. Miles of massive stanchions, substations and an entire electrical grid has farms and native grassland cut up and looking like an industrial park. Good on the MD. It's time to rethink wind as the only source of energy thing.

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