Lakeland Residents Employ Legal Help in Fight Against Big Wind

In a swell of grassroots support, some 50 families in the Elk Point, Alberta and Lakeland Region have contributed to a legal fund to combat a wind turbine project slated for construction in 2024.

The Endangered Whooping Crane ‘summers’
in the Northern Valley

“This is a huge statement and provides notice to the Alberta Government, its regulators, and Elemental Energy that these so-called “green” projects that actually destroy the environment and trample on human rights have to stop,” says Wind Concerns Editor in Chief, Mark Mallett. Representing the families, Wind Concerns will be acquiring the services of the prestigious environmental law firm Willms and Schier. This is the same firm that confronted the Northland Power project that sought to erect a massive 35 wind turbine plant just north of Elk Point. But that project was subsequently cancelled after citing certain environmental obstacles.

The project proposed by Elemental Energy (EE) faces its own serious hurdles in their attempt to erect a windfarm in a designated “Wildlife Sensitivity Zone” south of Elk Point in the Northern Valley. In fact, the company just lost its bid to install a massive solar panel project near High River, Alberta. The Alberta Utilities Commission (AUC) ruled:

…the potential for the project to result in high bird mortalities, and the impacts of the project on the Frank Lake IBA and the social and environmental values that it represents are unacceptable.

AUC, The Calgary SunApril 21, 2023

“As it turns out,” says Mallett, “the Northern Valley where EE wants to install these wind turbines is not only directly in the migratory path of the Endangered Whooping Crane and many other migratory species, but new data from Environment Canada shows that the crane actually uses this very region as ‘summer grounds’. And that’s a big problem.” The reason is that Canada’s “Species At Risk” act clearly states:

…no person shall destroy any part of the critical habitat of any listed endangered species or of any listed threatened species.

Section 58(1)

“The latest data from ECCC shows that the summer grounds for this Endangered species would be destroyed by these massive turbines. There’s less than 600 of these beautiful birds and so, from our viewpoint — and from a legal standpoint — this project should be stopped immediately.” While preserving this endangered species is important, Mallett says this in no way diminishes the human element of known health dangers when turbines are placed too close to residences. “Recent studies show that the bigger the turbines, the worse the health effects. And these turbines they want to use are some of the world’s largest — 200 metres tall. And when placed within 15km of people’s homes, according to a Finnish study, they can create adverse health events in both people and animals. Not to mention that numerous evaluations show that property values can drop by as much as 40%.”

Jamie Houssian, EE

Wind Concerns also points out that the Principal of Elemental Energy, Jamie Houssian, is also on the Board of Directors1 of the Pembina Institute — the very same thinktank that has lamented the possible demise of the Whooping Crane due to the oilsands.2 “The question now is whether Mr. Houssian will apply the same standards to his wind project that unquestionably will put the Whooping Crane and other species at risk — and cancel it,” says Mallett.

“We’ve learned a lot from the Ontario experience and a mountain of new studies. The people in this region know the stakes are high — and are ready to fight to the end.”

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Mark Mallett is a former award-winning reporter with CTV Edmonton and an independent researcher and author. His family homesteaded between Vermilion and Cold Lake, Alberta, and now resides in the Lakeland region. Mark is Editor in Chief of Wind Concerns.

One Comment

  1. Darcy fischer

    Hey this is awesome news!!! Keep up the fight and let’s help other areas as much and as fast as we can!! We have an election in less than 2 weeks! We need them to know how albertans feel about being blind sided with all these turbines and solar farms coming in asap!

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