During hunting season, Art Ryan outfits his utility vehicles at his home in Doyles for the influx of hunters from North America and parts of Europe who will visit his outfitting business.
Ryan and his staff take clients on a three-hour trek through the forest to hunt moose at the top of the Angel Mountains, on the west coast of Newfoundland. His father started Mountain Top Outfitters in 1960, and Ryan has owned it for 23 years. He plans to pass the operation on to his son.
But he worries that the business — and all the family history — will soon be gone.
“It’s disgusting, because that’s my dream: to keep doing this,” Ryan said.
He says World Energy GH2’s plan to put up to 164 wind turbines at the top of the Anguilla Mountains as part of a proposed wind energy project in the region will ruin his company’s future.
“It will destroy the fishing trade there. There is no other option,” he said. “You can’t hunt around all those roads and windmills and expect moose. The animals won’t be there.”
150 kilometers of new roads
In an environmental impact statement submitted to the provincial government, World Energy GH2 identified two locations it is considering for the project: the Port au Port peninsula and on Crown land in the Anguille Mountains in the Codroy Valley.
The two wind farms will require a network of new and improved access roads to transport the project’s equipment, including 150 kilometers of new roads in the Angel Mountains. Ryan says building the road will scare away all the moose.
“It’s going to be a road map for New York. Wildlife isn’t going to hang around that,” he said.
“The right-of-way on each of these roads is wide. And then you get a clearing for each turbine, 300 meters by 100 metres, and that’s spread out all over the top of that hill. There’s no way a moose could go.” To hang out there. This doesn’t make any sense.
The project will use wind turbines to produce hydrogen that will be converted into ammonia. World Energy GH2, if the provincial government signs off on the project, will produce hydrogen by the end of 2025 and ammonia in the first months of 2026 through its plant in Stephenville.
The company listed several areas that may witness potential environmental changes if the project continues, such as the amount of groundwater, habitats for fish, birds, bats, and other wildlife habitats, and mortality risks.
The professor says the moose will adapt, if it survives
The initial impact of road construction and wind turbine development will be the biggest issue for the moose population in the Codroy Valley, says Shawn Leroux, a biology professor at Memorial University.
“If they can survive, which is the main thing, they can use that area. It will depend on how much habitat is left there. If we remove too much forest they will have nowhere to return to,” Leroux said.
The professor, who has spent the past decade studying moose and how they react to disturbances in their environment, says hundreds of kilometers of new roads will disrupt their habitat and provide more access for predators and other threats, including poachers.
But over time, he said he believes the moose will adapt to the 180-meter-tall wind turbine, and the evolution will become natural to them.
“I would say that after a few years moose will adapt to this development,” he said. “I think their behavior regarding turbines will become normalized because it has been around for a while.”
Ryan said he doesn’t think there will be any moose left to hunt once the area opens. He said he has been talking to the company about it and hopes they will change their mind and put the windmills elsewhere.
In an emailed statement to CBC News, the company said it is in discussions with outfitters in and near the project to hear their concerns.
“We are doing everything we can to find reasonable solutions to any issues raised,” the statement read.
The company says it plans to implement a systemic system to address impacts on outfitters and their businesses in the proposed areas and take steps to avoid impacting the hunting season, but did not provide details on how the company will do this.
World Energy GH2 says there may be circumstances where compensation is awarded to some outfitters.
But Ryan is not interested in working with them at all.
“I won’t move anyway. I won’t do it anyway. This is part of our identity. I will refuse to move. They might move me, they might take me out of there. They might crush me. But I won’t move.” Willingly.”
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