First Nations support suspending offshore wind projects

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On February 11th, 2011, the Ontario Government announced that it is ruling out offshore wind projects until further scientific research is conducted. Further, it is suspending current applications and will no longer accept new applications.

The Saugeen Ojibway Nations (SON) commend the Ontario Government for adopting a precautionary approach to the development of off-shore wind resources. Off shore wind projects are an unproven technology in environments like the Great Lakes, and any decisions on their technological acceptability will require a substantial foundation of scientific data and research.

More importantly, SON, like many other Ontarians, rely heavily on the continued health and integrity of the Great Lakes. There are tremendous cultural and economical interest that could be impacted by industrial developments in our Lakes which must be understood and respected.

We are very pleased that Ontario is following a path that responsibly balances the goal of increasing renewable energy production with protecting our natural and cultural landscapes.

According to Chief Akiwenzie, Chippewas of Nawash Unceded First Nation, "We applaud the Government for its decision to suspend off shore wind development – with this decision, they have taken a responsible step to ensuring the protection of our Lakes and their ability to continue to sustain us physically, spiritually and economically.”

Chief Randal Kahgee of the Chippewas of Saugeen First Nation, also a renowned specialist lawyer in 'treaty rights', says that that the Ontario Government has taken a principled and precautionary approach to the issue of off-shore wind development.

"While the goal of increasing renewable energy generation is laudable," he says,  "it must be balanced by other considerations – including protecting our most sensitive and critical environments from mass industrialization. Ontario’s decision shows that it is listening .”

The Saugeen Ojibway Nations (SON) are collectively the Chippewas of Nawash Unceded First Nation and the Chippewas of Saugeen First Nation.

In January, 2010, SON signed an historic agreement with Ontario that addresses energy development throughout SON’s traditional territory, including the Bruce area and Peninsula, extending as far south as Goderich and east of Collingwood, and is inclusive of the waters surrounding the Bruce Peninsula to the international border with the United States.

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Wednesday, February 23, 2011