Ministry of Environment & Climate Change Misleading the Public

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January 17, 2018

A group of municipal officials sent a formal letter to the supervisor of the Owen Sound office of the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change (MOECC) following a presentation by the MOECC on the subject of wind turbine noise, noise reports, and adverse health effects.

While thanking manager Rick Chappell for his presentation, Stewart Halliday and Mark Davis, deputy mayors speaking on behalf of the group, said it was disappointing, and designed to mislead the public into thinking there are not problems with wind turbine noise in Ontario.

It’s time to stop denying the health effects, the Multi-Municipal group said, and get on to the business of alleviating the real suffering.

The letter follows.

M U L T I – M U N I C I P A L W I N D  T U R B I N E W O R K I N G  G R O U P

11 January, 2018

Andrew Barton, District Supervisor Andrew.Barton2@ontario.ca

Rick Chappell, District Manager Rick.Chappell@ontario.ca

Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change

101 –17th Street East

Owen Sound, Ontario N4K 0A5 Dear Mr. Barton and Mr. Chappell,

RE: Your presentation to our meeting of 14 December, 2017

Thank you for taking the time to make your presentation to the Multi-municipal Wind Turbine Working Group.

As councillors, we have had ongoing complaints from a significant number of residents living near wind turbines in our area who are suffering harm to their health. The video we presented to you documents the experience of some of those affected. It will also help you to understand the widespread anger and disillusionment with the MOECC’s failure to act on their behalf.

Much of the suffering could have been avoided had the local MOECC offices identified to their standards division that the public were adversely impacted (as confirmed by complaints and field monitoring) even when the turbines might have been compliant with the A weighted limits, since those limits were not appropriately corrected for the cyclical nature of the sound that is unmatched in nature, the tonality, the frequency spectrum, and the dominance of the sound above the local environment, and the other special characteristics of the wind turbine sound.

As recently revealed in FOI disclosure, there have been hundreds of complaints. Failure to resolve them, declining to shut down problematic arrays, and relying on proponent estimates of noise emissions only creates growing distrust of the MOECC.

Your presentation was disappointing. It appeared to be designed to mislead the public into thinking there are no health problems. You presented a rosy picture of a government that is busy working  on our behalf. But our experience shows that it is not.

You admitted at the meeting that you are aware that some people living near wind turbines are getting sick. You agree that IWTs cause annoyance and that leads to health issues. It is time to accept this and move forward— to protect the public so that they are not adversely impacted.

The urgent need for action is confirmed by the recent decision of Australia’s Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) that declared: “We accept that the evidence points to an association and a plausible pathway between WTN and adverse health effects (of a physical nature) mediated by annoyance, sleep disturbance and/or psychological distress”.

The Ministry’s commitment to the Statement of Environmental Values (SEV) under the Ontario Environmental Bill of Rights (EBR) (1994) stipulates that it will use “a precautionary, science-based approach in its decision-making to protect human health and the environment” and that “it will place priority on preventing pollution [in this case harmful noise emissions] . . . minimizing the creation of pollutants that can adversely affect the environment. . . . The Ministry will ensure that staff involved in decisions that might significantly affect the environment is aware of the Ministry’s Environmental Bill of Rights obligations”.

You can no longer justify continued inaction by falsely assuming that “components of wind turbine sound including infrasound and low-frequency sound have not been shown to present unique health risks to people living near wind turbines”.

Scientific, peer reviewed work carried out on infrasound and wind turbines by NASA under the direction of the highly respected Dr. Neil Kelley between 1981 and 1988 demonstrated the infrasound component of wind turbine emissions and its adverse effect on nearby residents. The World Health Organization has issued warnings that “the evidence on low frequency noise is sufficiently strong to warrant immediate concern”; “low-frequency noise . . . can disturb rest and sleep even at low sound pressure levels”; “other primary physiological effects can also be induced by noise during sleep, including increased blood pressure; increased heart rate; … vasoconstriction; …cardiac arrhythmia”.

Ambrose and Rand (2011, 2012), Basner et al. (2014), Cooper (2014), James (2013), and Nissenbaum (2012) all related measurements of wind turbine emissions (including infrasound) directly to diarized symptoms reported by those living nearby. Thorne’s study (2013), which took place over seven years, collected acoustic data at a number of homes so that cumulative exposures could be estimated. It concluded that health is “seriously and adversely affected”. Swinbanks paper presented in Glasgow in 2015 did not support your position. The MOECC failed to refer to  published peer reviewed documentation by Tachibana and Kuwano in the Noise Control Engineering Journal 62(6) 503-520 (2015): “Wind Turbine Noise (WTN) generally has dominant low frequencies and is easily transmitted into buildings, causing residents psycho-acoustical annoyance and sleep disturbance”.

We would be happy to provide you with these documents.

How did it get to this state of affairs that local residents have a greater understanding of the problems than the people whose salaries are paid by the taxpayers to protect us? We await some timely, responsible, diligent enforcement action from your office to alleviate the suffering of our residents.

Yours truly,

Stewart Halliday, Deputy Mayor Municipality of Grey Highlands, Chair

Mark Davis, Deputy Mayor Municipality of Arran-Elderslie, Vice-chair

Reposted from Wind Concerns Ontario

IN MEMORIUM- Stephana Johnston

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Wind Warrior- Stephana Johnston

CLEAR CREEK, Ont. (20/11/14) -Stephana Johnston looks out her window at the wind turbines surrounding her home in Clear Creek, a hamlet on the shores of Lake Erie.  Johnston has been a fierce opponent of wind farms and believes they have plagued her with an array of heath problems.  When asked why many of her neighbours did not suffer from the symptoms she described, Johnston replied, “When a ship hits rough waters there’s always a few passengers that get sick, but no one doubts or ridicules them…All I’m asking for is that same respect.” Photo by Zachary Prong.

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Noise Pollution & Birds with PTSD

Impacts of new noise from industrial wind turbines in our environment have created “habitat degradation” and have been an overriding issue in the fight to protect our families and environment. The response to the sound emitted from wind turbines is much more complex than how loud it is. There are reports globally of negative impacts due to exposure to wind turbines causing some families to abandon their homes for respite and relief. The following article highlights the impact of  industrial noise on birds resulting in measurable stress markers. Some birds become so stressed by noise pollution their response is similar to what is found in PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder).

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A western bluebird searches the ground from a perch. (Dave Keeling/California Polytechnic State University)

 

“The body is just starting to break down,” Lowry said.

To Lowry, the fact that humans respond to stress in the same manner as animals as distantly related as birds suggests that this response is ancient and deeply ingrained. And it raises questions about how humans handle exposure to unrelenting noise. The mother bluebird that nested near a compressor and was unable to leave when the sound became unbearable may not be so different from a low-income human family forced to rent an apartment near a flight path or loud industrial site.

The Washington Post|January 9, 2018|By: Sarah Kaplan

Some birds are so stressed by noise pollution it looks like they have PTSD

The bluebird didn’t realize what she was getting herself into when she chose her new home, about 75 yards from a natural gas compressor. It was only as the days and weeks wore on that the low whine of machinery started to take a toll. It was harder to hear the sounds of approaching predators, or even the normal noises of the surrounding world, so she had to maintain constant vigilance. Her stress hormone levels became skewed; her health deteriorated. She couldn’t resettle elsewhere, because she had a nest full of hatchlings to tend. Yet her chicks suffered too, growing up small and scantily feathered — if they survived at all.

Scientists couldn’t ask the bluebird what she was feeling. But when they sampled the bird’s blood, as part of a study of 240 nesting sites surrounding natural gas treatment facilities in northern New Mexico, they found she showed the same physiological symptoms as a human suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.

“Noise is causing birds to be in a situation where they’re chronically stressed . . . and that has really huge health consequences for birds and their offspring,” said Rob Guralnick, associate curator of biodiversity informatics at the Florida Museum of Natural History.

Read Article

New Year & No Relief for families impacted by North Kent Wind

The Chatham Voice|January 10, 2018

Water tanks freeze up

The new year isn’t bringing any hope for a better situation for 12 families issued water tanks in the North Kent 1 Wind Farm project (NKW1) area north of Chatham.

The recent unseasonably cold weather resulted in water in the tanks and lines being frozen solid, according to Water Wells First (WWF) spokesperson Kevin Jakubec.

At a press conference last week at the home of Jessica and Paul Brooks on Brook Line, the family shared their continued frustration with the lack of action by the wind farm company and the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change to fix their well, which was contaminated with black sediment back in the summer.

“This morning (Jan. 5) the Brooks family at 9597 Brook Line woke once again without water,” Jakubec said. “It was July 29 when they filed their complaint with the MOECC and the report showed their well had 30 times the turbidity of their baseline testing results before NKW1 started pile driving. They met the burden of proof of contamination.”

“Earlier in the week, the water was frozen solid inside the water tank supplied by Samsung & Pattern. The water tank was part of a requirement on the developers in the North Kent Wind REA Permit issued by the MOECC requiring that water tanks be installed when any impacts occurred to a water well.”

Jakubec said his group, Water Wells First, advocated for months and incurred substantial legal costs to see that measure was put in place to protect families in case their wells experienced the same sediment and flow reduction that happened in the former Dover township.

While the bitter cold hasn’t helped, Jakubec asked why Samsung and Pattern Energy aren’t providing a practical water source for the affected families in this extreme cold, and why are 12 families still on water tanks six months later?

Also, a big question Jakubec said is what has the MOECC been doing to find practical solutions to the loss of so many wells in such a short amount of time in Chatham township and where are the reports they have been promising for months that look at conflicting results from well testing AECOM has done on the affected wells and MOECC testing on the same well?

Spokespersons for the MOECC have said previously they are still working on the report but give no firm timeline and when it will be released.

The lack of action by the province to find out how and why the groundwater is contaminated is also a source of frustration for WWF members.

“This is highly unusual. Brownfields and industrial sites that have contaminated the groundwater beneath them have to go through extensive clean up measures or face severe court fines by the MOECC,” Jakubec noted. “Why does the MOECC not impose those requirements on Samsung and Pattern, the developers of the North Kent Wind farm?”….

Read rest of article

Frozen Water Tanks & North Kent Wind

Chatham Daily News| January 2, 2018|By: Trevor Terfloth

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Jessica Brooks, who has had issues with her water well, is shown with her frozen tank on Tuesday. (Trevor Terfloth/The Daily News)

Residents dealing with frozen tanks

Due to the bitter cold temperatures, residents near the North Kent Wind project found themselves without their temporary water source over the holidays.

Several water wells in the project area, currently under construction by Samsung Renewable Energy and Pattern Energy, have been clogged with sediments shortly after pile-driving took place for constructing the turbines.

Jessica Brooks, who lives on Brook Line with her husband Paul, had been dealing with a frozen exterior tank, which had been installed as an interim solution in the summer.

“New Year’s Eve, we had friends who were watching the house call us and say the water stopped running,” she said while her metal tank was being serviced on Tuesday.

Brooks said she was under the impression the tank wasn’t going to be needed for so long. She said there were problems with freezing at the outtake in the beginning of December.

“When I contacted both the Ministry of the Environment and Pattern Energy, nobody got back to me. We got it moving ourselves,” she said.

She had a bucket of well water with sediment in it that the family uses to flush the toilet.

“It’s just been frustrating,” she said. “We’ve been saying this (freezing) was going to happen.”

Kevin Jakubec, spokesman for the grassroots organization Water Wells First, said he’s aware of five households dealing with frozen tanks.

He said the problem could have been far worse if there was more snow.

“Imagine if we had a foot of snow,” he said. “If we have a blizzard, you are not going to get these trucks down these roads.”

In an e-mail to The Daily News, Pattern Energy stated it “received one report of a frozen tank this morning and the issue has been resolved.”

The company has maintained that the evidence doesn’t support the idea that pile-driving vibration has an impact on well water.

The Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change stated that North Kent 1 proactively supplied an alternative water supply to any complainant that had requested one, including bottled water for consumption and a water tank for all other domestic use.

“The company is responsible for addressing any concerns with the water supplies that have been provided, including addressing any issues related to freezing or access during snow events,” the ministry said.

“The ministry is continuing its review of well water assessment reports submitted by the company related to complaints over impacts during wind turbine construction. The ministry anticipates communicating the results of the ministry’s review directly with the well owners over the next few weeks.”…..

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Zoo Poo & other important connections

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Zoo poo and food waste to fuel 500-kilowatt plant

Important connections in the world of energy in Ontario

Credit: Parker Gallant Energy Perspectives

Reading an article recently about Greenpeace trying (apparently unsuccessfully) to create a solar-powered town in India several years ago reminded me of a project in the GTA proposing to use “zoo poo” to create a 500-kW biogas plant.

The project is a co-op known as Zoo Share Biogas Co-operative and plans to use methane from animal waste to produce electricity in a biogas plant. The chatter about this project goes back to June 3, 2011 and those behind the project applied for a contract with the OPA (since merged with IESO).

So where is it now? A visit to the website shows the OPA advised them early July 2013 they were granted the contract. A PDF file titled “Construction Plan Report” on the site reveals “Construction of the facility is scheduled for summer 2014 with completion and grid connection expected in the fall of 2014.”

Needless to say, the plant is still not functioning but nevertheless has taxpayer support and some $4 million raised from individuals and others who purchased bonds that carry a 7% coupon on a project estimated originally to cost $4.8 million.

Curiosity further led me to look at the members of the Co-op’s Board of Directors and I noted Chris Benedetti was a Board member.  Benedetti is a principal with the Sussex Strategy Group and the head of its Energy and Environment Practice.  Some will recall Mr. Benedetti was involved in a major fundraising event for the Ontario Liberal Party as reported in an article in the Globe and Mail in March 2016 headlined:  “For $6,000, donors get face time with Kathleen Wynne and Bob Chiarelli”.

That article contained the following attributed to Mr Benedetti: “The evening is being promoted by Sussex Strategy Group, one of the country’s top lobbying firms. In an e-mail encouraging energy industry insiders to attend, Sussex principal Chris Benedetti wrote that the soirée will be a ‘small event with a limited number of tickets,’ giving all attendees face time with Ms. Wynne and Mr. Chiarelli.”

Previously, the Sussex Strategy Group’s name was connected with what the Toronto Star noted in a November 2010 headline as:  “Group plans to ‘dupe’ public about green energy costs: Tories”.  The article also noted: “The Oct. 18 document, drafted by consulting firm Sussex Strategy Group, lays out a plan — complete with a $300,000 initial budget — to change the channel on the current green energy debate, which is largely focused on cost.”

The Benedetti/Sussex connection led me to visit the Sussex website; the page titled “Our People” shows Kim Warren’s name and picture of Kim Warren under Sussex’s “Affiliates.”. Mr. Warren was, until January 1, 2017, the COO of IESO; if you check the “Sunshine List” for the 2015 year you will note he was paid $577,000.04 — not too shabby for a public servant!  When he was employed at IESO he spoke about integrating renewable energy. Due to his positive tone the short video of his speech was posted on the CanWEA website; he was clearly supportive and claimed wind energy “was a big part” of shutting down coal.  (Many grid operators around the world would dispute his claim.)

Searching on Google again using Mr. Warren’s name and his IESO affiliation turns up other relationships.  One that pops up is NRStor:  a press release dated June 20, 2017 announces he is the newest addition to NRStor’s Board as a Director and states:  “The insights and experience Kim Warren brings to our board as previous COO of the IESO is significant,” said Annette Verschuren, NRStor’s Chair and CEO. “He is a world expert on power systems and his extensive understanding of the electricity market will help NRStor grow and develop our energy storage business.”

Coincidentially, NRStor has been awarded contracts by IESO with the first one on July 22, 2014 announced by then Energy Minister, Bob Chiarelli: “Today, the Minister of Energy, the Honourable Bob Chiarelli, announced the commencement of commercial operations for NRStor Incorporated’s (NRStor) 2 megawatt (MW) Temporal Power Limited (Temporal Power) flywheel energy storage facility in Harriston, Ontario.”   Now assuming the 2MW of storage was called on to replace Ontario’s generated power it would be capable of supplying demand for half a second, or less.

The second contract awarded to NRStor by IESO noted:  “NRStor will build a fuel-free compressed air energy storage facility that will provide 7 MWh of storage capacity to the IESO.”

For those who wonder who is NRStor, the following comes from their website: “NRStor is a market leader in understanding energy storage technologies, their costs, and the benefits they can provide customers across the energy supply chain. As a project developer, we develop, own and operate industry-leading energy storage projects in partnership with progressive stakeholders and leading technology providers.”

NRStor was founded by Ms. Annette Verschuren, former CEO of Home Depot. Ms. Verschuren spoke to the Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs May 19, 2015 in respect to Bill 91, Building Ontario Up Act. One of the notable comments she made was,  We are a developer of energy storage technology, so we build projects. We are working on about 20 projects at the moment and we see the introduction of energy storage really making a big difference in terms of how we get electricity to market in a cheaper way. NRStor recently announced a partnership with the Tesla Powerwall, which is very exciting, to be introduced. We want to start in Ontario. We see that movement towards, again, using excess energy to improve costs and make it easier for customers.”

Ms. Verschuren also offered her “Congratulations to the Ontario government for its announcement on cap-and-trade policy.” and: “The privatization of Hydro One is also something that I’m very supportive of.”

While Ms. Verchuren is very accomplished and informed, from my perspective, she has missed the effects on hundreds of thousands of Ontario ratepayers/taxpayers from the Green Energy Act, and the “cap and trade” tax.    Ontario’s “excess energy,” as she puts it, represent a huge cost to ratepayers, which seems to have escaped her thinking.

The conflict in Ms Verchuren’s testimony is exacerbated by adding Kim Warren as a Director of NRStor.   The fact that NRStor has benefited from IESO’s contract awards should have triggered the question of how the media and public would view his appointment.   As a director he would be required to be a shareholder in NRStor which seems to fly in the face of IESO’s “Post-Service Restrictions” contained in their Code of Conductwhich states: “It is expected that the restriction against purchasing or holding any Prohibited Financial Interests continues until 6 months following the end of your employment or association with the IESO.”

Worth noting is Ms. Verchuren is registered as a lobbyist with the Office of the Integrity Commissioner as is Chris Benedetti (lobbyist for NRStor and 55 other companies), but Kim Warren is not.

The Ontario Ministry of Energy seems to have created a tangled web that benefits select companies and individuals.

Parker Gallant,

January 7, 2018

 

Cherish Your Suffering

Rex Murphy: Cherish your suffering, Ontario; Premier Wynne’s green gods know of your sacrifice

Those outside the faith, and mere loitering agnostics, see nothing here but a catalogue of burdens. Shackles of an alien god. But to those within the covenant, they are the way stations on the hard and stony path to delicious rewards reserved for the elect.

National Post| January 6th, 2018|Rex Murphy

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Premier Kathleen Wynne

It cannot have escaped the attention of many that Ontario is most unsettled these days. That its industries are anxious, its debt colossal, its citizens not in a pleasant mood. Ontario is in a lot of pain. But let me assure readers outside Ontario that it has not all been for nothing. There are rewards. They are subtle, intangible, but they are real. Let me explain.

Those who share the faith and endorse the morality of global warming derive very much the same satisfactions that attended fidelity to the less demanding dogmas of earlier and less ambitious creeds. The carbon regime, tax hikes on gasoline, failed or failing long-term contracts, fear and trembling in the manufacturing sector, the gnashing of teeth in poorer (and now colder) households, Ontario Hydro’s ever-swelling levies, the despoliation of rural vistas by towers of whirling, bird-bashing windmills: These, each in itself, and all in combination are the acknowledged costs of the Great Greening.

Those outside the faith, and mere loitering agnostics, see nothing here but a catalogue of burdens. Shackles of an alien god. But to those within the covenant, they are the way stations on the hard and stony path to delicious rewards reserved for the elect. This is the true chemistry of belief. What appear as obstacles to heretics, appear to believers as smooth escalators to a higher state. Accepting, embracing what must be done supplies them with a sense of inner sanction, endows them with that peace of mind which a lesser scripture records, rather churlishly, as passing all understanding……

Read article

Unexpected impact from wind turbine projects

Wingham Advance Times|January 5th, 2018|Letter to Editor

Dear Editor,

Issues with wind turbine projects continue to impact municipalities and residents in unexpected ways. In the early summer I attended a drainage meeting in Ashfield-Colborne-Wawanosh council chambers. This meeting concerned a drain extension for the Glenn municipal drain. The drain crosses road allowances that have underground electrical lines for the K2 Wind project. At this meeting the drainage engineer stated that a larger culvert would be required because the presence of these underground lines meant that work could not be done as deeply.

As a landowner affected by the proposed work, I asked the engineer how many crossings were involved and how much more this larger sized culvert would cost. No answer was provided. I then questioned why anyone else other than K2 Wind should be paying for this extra cost. Again, no answer was received.

At a second meeting on this project in December 2017, the engineer reviewed the final plans and stated that for the crossing of power lines on Tower Line, a larger culvert would be installed due to the depth problem. In the question period, I again asked how much extra cost this would add to the project. The engineer explained that the crossing was on road allowance so the township would be picking up the cost, not the individual landowners. But who does he think the landowners are, if not taxpayers who will all have to pick up the extra cost? So, yes, I am paying for this extra cost and so is every landowner in the township.

Our council brags about how they got community benefit money from the K2 Wind project. Yet, when they accept extra cost on projects like this, the township is essentially subsidizing the wind company from the general coffers. This undermines the benefit of any money received. Once again, the taxpayer gets shafted.

When a municipal council allows extra costs for such things as drainage works to be loaded onto the ratepayers, you have to wonder who they are really working for. So ratepayers in municipalities with wind turbines need to be on the alert for the hidden costs with these projects. Taxpayers already subsidize the wind turbines through inflated hydro rates. They shouldn’t be shafted twice with more hidden subsidies.

To date, my questions about additional costs and who is footing the bill for the extra work on this drainage project remain unanswered.

George Alton Kenruth Farms

Concerned Resident of Ashfield-Colborne-Wawanosh

Samsung “K2 Lake”: Water& drainage impacts during construction of K2 Wind Project in 2014

 

Protecting our children from Industrial Wind Power Emissions is our first priority!

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