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Letter to the Editor

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Dear Editor,

Below is a letter I have sent to the Environment Ministerm Lily D’Ambrosio.

Re – wedge tail eagle mortalities at Yaloak South windfarm

In 2010 Pacific Hydro gained approval to build the above windfarm
which has subsequently been built and is fully operational. A
condition of the permit was that they have an agreement in place with
the landowner that no lambs or lambing would take place in the
vicinity of the turbines for obvious reasons. The facility was
constructed despite never having an agreement in place with the
landowner. Pacific Hydro then attempted to have that permit condition
(amongst others) removed by Moorabool Shire Council (the responsible
authority). This was rejected by the shire and again by VCAT in
November 2018. In the period from August to October 2018 the landowner
undertook lambing activities directly underneath the turbines with the
full knowledge of Pacific Hydro. This occurred despite their attempt
to have the relevant permit condition removed already rejected by the
shire.
I have recently discovered that the 3 wedge tail eagles killed in
that period last year were all killed by turbines under which lambs or
lambing was taking place. This information was kept from the public
and also from the VCAT member during the November 2018 hearing which
shows a lack of transparency and is basically dishonest. I find it
outrageous that a company would go to VCAT to have a permit condition
that was designed to protect wedge tails removed knowing that those
very circumstances had already resulted in the death of at least 3
wedge tails that we know of.
Considering all of the above I believe Pacific Hydro should be
subject to the same penalty that would apply to anyone that kills any
of our native protected species. Especially as they were acting in
breach of the permit conditions.
I do understand the importance of renewable energy and am
supportive of a transition to renewables so I’m not interested in a
response stating the government’s commitment to renewables. I do
believe that the transition would be a lot better received by
communities if windfarm operators behaved in a responsible and
transparent manner with, what I believe, ‘rogue’ operators brought to account.
The behaviour outlined above only serves to increase high levels
of angst and distrust that exists in rural communities hosting wind
farms.”

Kevin Ramholdt
Glenmore