Too many turbines

A resolution against wind power from a nearby municipality found a receptive audience at Norfolk council this week.

DSCN3152The Municipality of Dutton-Dunwich is campaigning against the Wynne government’s plan this year to invite applications for an additional 300 megawatts of wind-powered electricity generation. It would take about 150 industrial wind turbines to produce this much power.

Dutton-Dunwich is located along the Lake Erie shoreline west of St. Thomas. It fears a large number of these turbines could be imposed on its residents. A green energy firm is lobbying for a wind farm in Dutton-Dunwich.

Naturalists are concerned because Dutton-Dunwich is an important, unobstructed flyway for migrating birds and bats. As well, the Chippewas of the Thames First Nations have not endorsed the project.

Dutton-Dunwich is also concerned because the Wynne government is intent on building green energy capacity at a time of declining demand in Ontario. The municipality says Ontario increased its generating capacity by 19 per cent over the past eight years while provincial demand in the same period fell 7.5 per cent.

And the capacity Ontario has added is expensive. Citing a scathing Auditor-General’s report issued in December, Dutton-Dunwich says Ontarians are paying twice as much for wind-generated electricity as other jurisdictions. The high cost of electricity in Ontario is hurting the province’s ability to compete and create jobs.

“The Ontario Chamber of Commerce reports that the escalating price of electricity is undermining their members’ capacity to grow, hire new workers and attract new investment,” the Dutton-Dunwich resolution says. “Ontario’s electricity costs are among the highest in North America, making the province uncompetitive for business growth.”

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Residents vexed over unexpected turbine construction impact

WAI_woes___ContentWAINFLEET — They knew the turbines were coming, they even knew the fight to stop them was all but over; what they didn’t know however was how construction would impact their lives.

A group of Wellandport residents living on Side Road 42 and Concession 6 recently met with Wainfleet Mayor April Jeffs to go through a laundry list of complaints associated with construction of wind turbines, specifically the transmission lines for the project.

“There is no notice,” said Concession 6 property owner LeaAnne Robins, who has seen construction devastate roadside trees in front of her property.

“They’ve massacred all the 80-year-old oaks on the road,” she said, explaining she expects construction of transmission towers to follow the clear cutting.

She said there was no notice given of how her property would be impacted and added it is hard to see the trees go.

“It’s kind of the reason you live in the country,” she said, adding, “we didn’t buy property out here to stare at metal monsters.”

Robins noted one instance where construction trucks have delayed access significantly to her property.

On Side Road 42 where transmission towers are already going up those delays have become common.

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The state attorney general’s office has opened an investigation into criminal complaints against a prominent champion of Vermonters who are adversely affected by renewable development.

The attorney general’s office is investigating whether Annette Smith, executive director of Vermonters for a Clean Environment, has practiced law without a license — a charge with penalties left entirely to the court’s discretion.

Smith says the complaints that prompted the AG’s investigation are politically motivated.

Attorneys who have argued against Smith’s clients say she gives bad advice, unconstrained by the sanctions licensed attorneys would incur for similar behavior.

Smith says the AG’s investigation “is very intimidating.”

“I don’t know what to do. I think our work’s being shut down,” Smith said. “I believe this has the potential to shut down my organization of 16 years. It clearly falls under the definition of harassment.”

Residents who live near planned and existing renewable projects have claimed she’s their only advocate.

Smith said she represents people who too frequently have nowhere else to turn. Renewable energy developers hire talented attorneys against whom landowners near project sites have no other way of successfully representing themselves.

read more:  AN. 23, 2016, 4:35 AM BY MIKE POLHAMUS

Please join us: Presentations to 2 Councils this week!

Dear members and interested parties,

The fight continues! Executive of WLGWAG and MAWT (Mothers Against Wind Turbines) will be presenting to West Lincoln CouncilMonday and Wainfleet Council Tuesday.  These presentations are further to our presentations in West Lincoln several weeks back where we initiated discussions regarding monitoring of noise emissions.  We will appreciate and benefit from your support in person.  See below for details.

Please also note links at the bottom to interesting articles regarding our efforts.
1.) This Monday, January 25th, 2016 at 7pm: West Lincoln
  • Naomi will present regarding the many changes to the NRWC(F) project
  • Mike will request Council request Ontario cancel the RFP for added wind power generation
  • Debbie will present highlights of Carmen Krogh’s talk at IdeaCity in Toronto
  • Link to the agenda (We should start shortly after 7pm)
  • Township of West Lincoln Hall
2.) This Tuesday, January 26th, 2016 at 7pm: Wainfleet
Your support and interest is greatly appreciated.  (pages 1,2 and 19)

Ontario turbine noise regulations not adequate to protect health: WCO to federal Minister of Health

Wind Concerns Ontario has written a letter to the new federal Minister of Health, the Honourable Dr Jane Philpott, expressing concern about the inadequacy of noise regulations for wind turbine noise emissions in Ontario. Here is an excerpt from the letter, which was accompanied by the British Medical Journal article with the diagnostic criteria for wind turbine noise health impacts by Dr Robert McMurtry and Carmen Krogh, and by the case histories developed by H.A.R.M. (Health Affected Residents Meetings) in 2012.

An excerpt of the letter follows:

Some of our local community groups have worked to document the health issues faced by their residents living wind turbines (see attached document from the Kincardine area). These reports of health issues cannot be ignored or dismissed. We ask that you direct your officials to leverage this information and undertake field work in rural Ontario to validate these reports and gain an understanding of the problems faced by rural residents living among wind turbines. This would also ensure that the design of any future Health Canada research is validated by the real experiences of people exposed to wind turbines, as opposed to simply relying upon computer modelling provided by the turbine manufacturers.

Turbine noise levels are sufficient to disrupt sleep and, as a medical professional, you understand how disturbed sleep can lead to a large range of health effects. Of greater concern than the audible noise emissions are the pulsing sensations reported by people within their homes.  These sensations are linked to inaudible low frequency and infrasound pressure waves that are being amplified inside their homes.  The Ontario regulations do not consider emissions below the audible range and do not set any standards for noise within homes.

The sound power rating of wind turbines being installed in Ontario has increased considerably since the Ontario standards were established. With the newer 3-megawatt (MW) wind turbines involved in the most recent projects, the health issues are surfacing sooner and the symptoms are more severe.

In this regard, we are closely monitoring the Township of West Lincoln project where 77 3-MW turbines are currently being installed in an area with a resident population of 1,900 homes within two kilometers.  Wind Concerns Ontario estimates that, using the most conservative figure possible from research, including Health Canada’s own research, the health of almost 400 people in this area will be affected.

As you may know, Health Canada conducted a study of wind turbine noise from 2012 – 2014. The findings released in November 2014 reported two contradictory findings – first, there are no health effects linked to wind turbines and yes, there are health effects related to wind turbines.  The design of this study was criticized by epidemiologists and health professionals before the project began. A review of the survey instrument design after the project revealed that the finding of “no problems” was based on questioning respondents about a narrowly-defined timeframe — in other words, participants were questioned about symptoms and events during a time when wind in Ontario is low and turbine noise emissions would be less.   Responses to other questions that covered the whole year showed that problems existed.  This second result was confirmed when physical samples from the people reporting complaints showed the physical indicators of stress.

Data specifically provided to Wind Concerns Ontario by Health Canada indicate that respondents to this study reported that wind turbine noise was worse than the road, rail and airport noise that formed the basis of the World Health Organization’s night-time noise standards. The study showed that problems begin at 35 dBA which provides research data confirming that Ontario’s noise standards are insufficient to protect human health.   While the science around wind turbine noise is still developing, this information alone should be sufficient for the Health Canada to act by establishing tougher standards based on the Precautionary Principle.

In a stakeholder meeting with Health Canada, Wind Concerns Ontario was promised that the raw data from this study would be made available for follow up by qualified academics. In practice, however, under the previous government, Health Canada put barriers in front of groups seeking access to that data.  With your government committed to openness, hopefully you will instruct Health Canada staff to make the data available to qualified researchers.  Only by working with the raw data, will it be possible to assess why the study generated the two conflicting conclusions. …

We hope that these health issues will be a key concern for your Ministry as the federal government as it moves to implement its Climate Change agenda. As Health Minister, it is our hope that measures supported by your government will not add further to the problems faced residents of rural Ontario.

There is time to work to get this situation right. An assessment of the situation in Ontario by the Society of Professional Engineers shows that the contribution of wind turbines to addressing climate change is limited.  In fact, as Ontario’s electricity system is dominated by nuclear and hydro generation facilities, expanding the role of wind turbines will actually increase carbon emissions.  Power output from wind turbines is intermittent and requires standby back up by gas-fired plants and the emissions from these sources exceed the emissions from the nuclear and hydroelectricity being displaced by wind turbines.  Other provinces can also learn from the Ontario experience where the elimination of coal-fired generating plants was not as a result of intermittent power generated by wind turbines, but rather  by the return of refurbished nuclear power stations to production.

We are pleased that your government is committed to science-based policy. Some much of what we have experienced with the wind turbine program in Ontario is more based on ideology than science.  The results are becoming clear both here in Ontario and in other jurisdictions.  The new federal government has an opportunity to learn from past mistakes as it moves forward on addressing climate change.


Jane Wilson, President

Wind Concerns Ontario

The full letter is here: MinisterofHealthLetterJan12

Groups ask council to collect noise data

With some of the largest industrial wind turbines in North America rising from the rural West Lincoln landscape, two citizens groups are asking the local government to begin monitoring noise.

“We want the township to appreciate the scope of the risk we are about to run with one of the largest wind projects in North America next to such a densely-populated area,” said Mike Jankowski, chair of the West Lincoln Glanbrook Wind Action Group (WLGWAG), which made a joint presentation to West Lincoln’s planning, building and environmental committee Monday with Mothers Against Wind Turbines (MAWT). “There are some risks that aren’t mitigated and we require the township to start collecting data both before and during the turbines.”

Jankowski, who said he has personally experienced health effects related to the HAF Wind Energy project already in operation in West Lincoln, said it’s a matter of when, not if, those living near the Niagara Region Wind Farm currently under development will experience adverse health effects. The groups say the noise data will help establish a clear picture of what residents are dealing with.

“This data can be used for a number of things,” explained Jankowski. “First and foremost, it can be used to aid in a response if necessary. To indicate what people are being subject to.”

What began as a mild ringing in the ear turned into dizziness and decreased mental capacity for Jankowski. His teenage daughter has also suffered debilitating migraines with stroke-like symptoms. The problems have been ongoing for the past year and a half.

WLGWAG and MAWT came before committee with several asks Monday, the main of which was for a commitment from the municipality that it will protect the community.

“The township should act immediately to manage risks by collecting measurement data about noise emissions in our community,” Jankowski said. “We need to monitor full range noise on an ongoing basis to provide an understanding of what people are subject to in their homes.”

The groups are requesting the township immediately look into ways of establishing and collecting noise data, to establish an advisory committee to hear turbine-related concerns and that it presses the government to purchase more sound measuring devices.

Coun. Joanne Chechalk, vice chair of the planning committee, said she was all for collecting noise information but wanted to take the request one step further.

“My concern is that if we do all of this, we monitor all … the municipality can’t do anything, as we all know,” said Chechalk. “There is no mechanism, nothing to say or do. It’s akin to drinking water. After Walkerton happened, we now have policies in place and councils have been trained. So now when water levels are unsafe they are declared that way and we have boil water advisories. There is nothing for wind turbines. If this says that we get to 40 or 60 decibels, what do we do?”

read more: Jan 13, 2016 By Amanda Moore

Update from OPAF

On Friday Jan 15 Heather Gibbs and Robert Wright the Environmental Review Tribunal (ERT) panel, convened yet
another day of hearings into PECFN’s appeal of the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change (MOECC) Renewable Energy Approval (REA) of the Gilead Power Industrial Wind turbine project at Ostrander Point Crown Land Block. We were in a smaller room at the ERT offices in Toronto this time, with only about 8 desk spaces and 20 chairs available for spectators. All the chairs and desks were full. About 15 PECFN and SSC supporters from Prince Edward County made the trip to Toronto.
This hearing was held to hear final oral submissions from Eric Gillespie, representing PECFN, Chris Palliere representing
SSC (intervenors supporting PECFN), Douglas Hamilton, representing Gilead Power and Sylvia Davis, representing
MOECC. This so – called re – hearing was brought about by the Court of Appeal decision last year which confirmed the original ERT decision , but sent the matter back to the ERT for consideration of
Gilead’s proposed remedy to serious and irreversible harm to the Blanding’s Turtle – that is , to install gates on the turbine access roads. Arguments about this issue were heard throughout the late summer and fall and were remarkable for the admission from the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF) Blanding’s Turtle expert, Joe Crowley’s, admission that he had recommended
against the project when it was first proposed due to the danger it would cause to the population of Blanding’s Turtles at the site.
The final submissions of the Gilead Power legal team included two issues that began the hearing. One wa s the assertion that the time for making any decision about the remedy to the project had expired. The other was that the panel, specifically Mr. Wright was biased and that as a result the panel should recuse itself. This assertion was based on the fact that after giving the decision on Ostrander, Mr Wright was on the panel for another appeal
where the ruling quoted from the Ostrander decision. On that panel with him was the ERT vice chair Jerry DeMarco ,spouse of Anne Bell,
Ontario Nature’s direct or of Conservation and Education. In contrast to the usual, Ms. Davis did not agree with Mr. Hamilton in
these two matters. Eric Gillespie and Chris Palliere spoke, also disagreeing with Mr. Hamilton. The panel reserved their decision (they will let us know later what they have decided).
We then came to the main arguments for the day which were oral presentations which essentially set out again all the reasons that PECFN (Eric Gillespie) and SSC (Chris Palliere) had for denying the remedy. This evidence relied on and reiterated the information given by Dr. Fred Beaudry and Ms. Kari Gunson at the hearings in the fall. Arguments were presented against the position of the
approval holder (Gilead) and the MOECC that gates on the roads would save the turtles from serious and irreversible harm.
After lunch Mr. Hamilton and Ms. Davis had their turns to respond to the arguments presented by PECFN and SSC. This was, as expected, a reiteration of the written material which was sent before Christmas. Both commented that by installing gates serious and irreversible harm to the Blanding’s Turtle will be reduced to merely ‘universal’ harm and therefore the project should be approved. However, in her written sub mission Ms. Davis had introduced a new issue which she now emphasized. That is, the MOECC is asserting that it was acting in the public interest
by approving the Gilead power project because it involves renewable energy. There ensued a “discussion” between Mr. Wright and Ms. Davis regarding the MOECC’s Statement of Environmental Values (SEV). Mr. Wright has required Ms. Davis (and all other legal representatives) to submit to the Tribunal by Wednesday January 20 the arguments she is using to support her contention that approving the Ostrander Point project satisfies (or doesn’t) the Statement of Environmental Values of the MOECC.
Eventually the Tribunal will issue a decision on the issue of timing and bias. The final decision on the remedy issue will follow. I will try to keep you up to date as get information.

Cheryl Anderson

1916 Migratory Bird Treaty: a centennial anniversary of progress

This year marks the 100-year anniversary of the historic Migratory Bird Treaty. Environmentalists find much to celebrate, but challenges remain for migratory bird populations.

The Migratory Bird Treaty will reach its centennial anniversary this year, leading many wildlife experts and organizations to reflect on its international success.

Signed in 1916 between the US and Great Britian (acting on behalf of Canada), the  Migratory Bird Treaty is the first major US legislation that protects birds that migrate across international borders. The two countries agreed to stop hunting all insectivorous birds, such as bluebirds and hummingbirds, and to establish specific hunting seasons for game birds.

To better enforce the Treaty, Congress passed the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA) in 1918, declaring it “unlawful to pursue, hunt, take, capture, kill, possess, sell, purchase, barter, import, export or transport any migratory bird,” as well as any nest or eggs belonging to such birds, the US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) explains.

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Wind project would be ‘fatal’ to Collingwood Regional Airport: study

The location of wind turbines in close proximity to the Collingwood Regional Airport would be “fatal” to the facility, according to an economic impact study.

The report, prepared by Malone Givens Parson at the behest of Clearview Township and the Town of Collingwood as part of their case against the turbines proposed by WPD Canada, determined the turbines would have a “significant negative impact on the operations” of the local airport.

The study is part of the two municipalities’ submission to the Minister of Environment and Climate Change and is intended to provide a thorough look at the potential economic impacts of WPD’s Fairview Wind project, including the perception of the economic viability of the future of the airport for those looking to invest in the airport. The document was submitted to the ministry on Jan. 8, and released publicly on Monday.

“We conclude that the Collingwood Regional Airport is fulfilling its intended function as an economic engine and is attracting business expansion proposals that would deliver very substantial economic benefit to the South Georgian Bay region” Malone Givens Parson principal John Genest wrote in the letter to preamble the executive summary of the 190-page report. “Approval of the current WPD turbine project would be fatal to business expansion, such that, on balance, the offending turbines should be moved or WPD’s Renewable Energy Act Application denied.”

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