None of these raise a red flag?

letters to editorWhen you finish reading these comments and events of the past several months concerning wind turbines, ask yourself, “Don’t any of these issues raise a red flag?” If you feel that most, many or even just some of these raise red flags, then why would the present Almer and Ellington Township Board officials even consider installing 500’ tall wind turbines so close to our homes without more research?

  1. Wind lease owners must sign a confidentiality agreement whereby they can’t be critical of NextEra. Why are they required to sign a gag order? What would you think about a doctor who requires you to sign a “gag” order before surgery?
  2. Almer Twp. Board and planning commission (PC) member, Brian Schriber, commented in last week’s Advertiser, “I resent the claims that residents feel they are not being listened to.” This is very disingenuous and deceitful considering he made a motion at the July 13 PC meeting to ignore long time Board member, Patty Witkovsky, and every other citizen who spoke during 35 minutes of public comment. Schriber made a motion before any PC members had a chance to discuss possible changes to the wind ordinance. He wanted the wind ordinance passed “as is” without any of the additional changes suggested just seconds earlier by residents.
  3. Former township official, Art Graff, read eight items at a PC meeting that township officials removed from the present wind ordinance. This is just one of the lines that was inexplicably eliminated:  “The tower shall not be unreasonably injurious to the safety or market value of nearby properties.” At three Almer Township meetings, PC Chairman Bob Braem said, “I ‘think’ some of those items were put back in the new ordinance.” He “thinks” they were put back in? When asked where they specifically appear in the new ordinance, he didn’t, couldn’t or wouldn’t produce proof.
  4. Mr. Braem also decided to hold a meeting in a snowstorm/blizzard that many residents were not able to attend. He evidently also thought Almer Township residents would be adequately informed of a surprise special PC meeting if he simply had a note posted on the township door 18 hours in advance of the meeting.
  5. Mr. Braem also has not included residents in “discussions” at several PC meetings dominated by NextEra, Spicer (the engineering firm) and the township attorney. Being pro-wind does not give him authority to ignore residents.
  6. Mistake or a lie? NextEra official, Mark Trumbauer, said at an Ellington Township meeting that “55 decibels is not loud. After all, the county allows 65 decibels.” Tuscola County doesn’t have any wind turbine sound specifications.
  7. Mistake or lie? When NextEra was asked at a surprise special PC meeting about the number of turbines and locations, a rep said he could “honestly say he didn’t know”. The very next day NextEra’s map of possible wind turbine locations appeared on an FAA website.
  8. Mistake or lie? In late March, Duane Lockwood (Ellington Township Supervisor) was still saying they would not place turbines south of M-81. In mid-March, NextEra had submitted to the FAA a map showing SEVEN turbines installed south of M-81 (including three on the Supervisor’s land).
  9. Mistake or Lie? Ryan Pumford, another NextEra spokesperson has said on numerous occasions that there have been only three “accidents” involving their wind farms. However, an Ellington Township resident personally viewed two NextEra turbine accidents while on vacation in Colorado and found examples of four other NextEra turbine accidents online.
  10. In one breath, NextEra claims there are very few turbine failures and in the next breath, they say how a design was changed because of problems.
  11. One Gilford Twp. official said the biggest issue they’ve faced has been that NextEra has failed to live up to their financial tax promises.
  12. Several farmers have complained some drain tiles have been crushed and land is severely compacted that takes years to resolve. Some areas have been repaired, but one doesn’t know about the damage until later and then it’s hard to prove the cause of compaction. Have our township officials even discussed soil compaction?
  13. Gilford Twp. officials confirm shadow flicker is an issue, including one Board member who had to make adjustments to her house to cope with the annoyance. Our officials dismiss shadow flicker as insignificant.
  14. NextEra spokesperson, Mark Trumbauer, says, “It is clear a small, vocal group of wind energy opponents intend to create delay at every point…” Almost a dozen area townships have passed moratoriums or referendums. Almost a dozen townships? That is no small group!
  15. Almer Board members, Brian Schriber and Charlie Dennis, say they’ve been bombarded with so many people pressuring officials. Which comment should you believe? Mark Trumbauer’s “small group” comment or the Schriber/Dennis “bombardment” comment?
  16. Citizens are worried about the cost of decommissioning/dismantling turbines (estimated today at $200,000 per turbine) at the end of their life span. Mr. Schriber thinks he can take down a 500’ turbine by himself. Not to be outdone, Charlie Dennis said someone could take down a turbine with a few sticks of dynamite.
  17. Township officials have often ignored the fact that approximately 25% of people are annoyed or highly annoyed by the wind turbines. However, Health Canada and the non-participating land owners who are annoyed by turbines admit turbine noise and vibration may not be sensed unless people are subjected to the turbines for an extended period of time. Visiting a turbine for a few hours, as township officials have done, is a waste of time.
  18. According to research by Ellington resident and engineer, Eric Zbytowski, complaints from people subjected to noise from a turbine drop off significantly if the turbine is more than 2000’ away. Yet, township officials dismiss that research as they have dismissed so many other issues.
  19. NextEra claims that a GE turbine safety manual is not available for distribution. No township official has balked at that claim?
  20. NextEra states “research” proves home property values don’t suffer. Wind energy companies use “research” that examines home values five to ten miles from turbines. Does NextEra use a survey of homes 2000’ away or less from a turbine? Of course not.
  21. Research from the Minnesota Department of Health: a minimum setback distance of 2,640 ft. from the home is necessary to not suffer the health consequences of low frequency noise generated by the turbines. Ellington Twp’s proposed ordinance IS HALF THAT DISTANCE at 1320 ft. Almer Township’s setback from the home is three times the 499 ft turbine height which makes that distance less than 1500 ft.
  22. An incredible comment was made by Ellington Township PC AND Board member, Joddy Ehrenberg at a PC meeting: “The trees block most of the sound from the turbines.” Trees? What trees? Does everyone in the township have trees tall enough and dense enough to block the sound of the turbines? And no one else on the Ellington PC questioned that comment?
  23. Officials’ lack of transparency has been trending for years. There was a totally different conflict of interest issue beginning in 2014 whereby the Almer Township PC Chairman had to resign. In October of 2014, the PC tried to rezone an area “quietly” without properly informing citizens. They ignored the pleas of a packed township hall several times in 2014 over that conflict of interest just as they have ignored the wind turbine conflict of inters today. The officials will deny this – just ask them.
  24. And, lastly, here is an example of Ellington AND Almer Township officials’ lack of openness. They have posted special meeting “notices” on the township door several times over the last few years a little over 18 hours before the meeting. If officials were truly interested in our concerns, they’d give someone a “heads up” call. Their 18 hour notice forces residents to check the door of the hall twice a day, every day, 356 days a year.

If wind turbines were placed safely away from people who haven’t signed wind leases, residents wouldn’t be challenging this project. Many of our township officials have continuously dismissed, discounted, distorted, deflected and denied residents’ concerns for months. These issues listed above certainly raise red flags! You can help change that at the upcoming primary election on August 2nd. This primary election on Tuesday is more important for our townships than the November 4 general election.

Almer/Ellington concerned citizens,

Jan Daniels, Andrew DeGroot, Norma Freville, Bonnie Kata, Wayne Koper, Jeri Koper, Shelby Koper, Dirk Lowry, Kris Lowry, Jim Mewhiney, Joyce Mewhiney, Jane Montei, Jerry Montei, Larry Robinson, Sharon Robinson, Rosemary Segroves, Donna Stephens, Norm Stephens, Eric Zbytowski

Published in Tuscola County Advertiser (USA) July 30, 2016:


house surrounded by wind turbines

Robert Bryce has prepared a spreadsheet summarizing activities in the USA relating to municipalities which have stopped industrial wind turbines, required setback provisions or other requirements for wind facilities.



green windWhere does the money go? Global News has presented a series of stories over the past few weeks painting a troubling picture of rural Ontario residents struggling to pay soaring electricity bills. In a particularly telling interview, Ontario’s new Energy Minister, Glenn Thibault, was forced to admit he didn’t know how many residents have had their electricity disconnected because they couldn’t pay— nor was he aware if anyone in his department was keeping track of this information.

Thibault’s suggestion? Residents should conserve electricity. Besides, his government has a new support program designed specifically to help low-income Ontario residents pay their electricity bills. Relief of sorts perhaps, but more along the lines of putting one’s thumb in a dike, rather than addressing the bigger issue.

All it really does is transfer these costs to the taxpayer.

So where is the money going? Many millions, indeed billions, of dollars are being extracted from customers and taxpayers to fund rising electricity costs. Is it paying for research and development into electricity storage so that perhaps one day, intermittent generating sources (i.e. wind and solar) might serve a useful purpose? Is it being used to offset the hardship faced by low income Ontarians? Is it funding Ontario infrastructure development or green transit plans? No, no and no.

Maybe it is funding a network of charging stations across the province, including one planned for the King Street parking lot in Picton? No. Perhaps it is helping to pay the $14,000 subsidy Ontario pays purchasers of electric cars? No.

As it turns out, much of this money is going into the pockets of a few developers, investors, pension funds and corporations. It’s called profit—and a handful of companies are profiting handsomely from your electricity bills.

Scott Luft has been poring over the mounds of data produced by the Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) and other sources for the past six years. Luft’s research and analysis, compiled on his website, is an important resource for anyone interested in understanding what has gone so terribly wrong with Ontario’s electricity market. Luft has methodically revealed, and laid bare, the destructive politically driven management of Ontario’s electricity system and shows why residents will be paying for these decisions for decades to come.

According to Luft’s analysis, Ontario electricity customers have subsidized wind and solar energy producers by $6.4 billion over the past decade. Worse, the rate of subsidization is climbing rapidly. We are on track in Ontario to subsidize wind and solar producers by more than $2 billion in 2016 alone.

This is money going directly from consumers into the bank accounts of producers. This doesn’t include the many millions of dollars Ontario spends, or forgoes, each year offloading excess electricity to New York or Michigan from intermittent wind and solar generators it can’t control. Or the amount we pay smelters and mineral processors to spare them the high cost of Ontario electricity.

How did we get here?

Through the 1990s, Ontario dabbled in renewable energy but couldn’t persuade investors and the capital markets to participate with them. They increased incentives and tax breaks but investors stayed on the sidelines.

Dalton McGuinty’s Liberals came to power in 2003 promising to close Ontario’s coal-fired generating facilities and replace this capacity with electricity generated from renewable sources, including wind and solar. While he successfully closed coal-fired plants, it was gas and nuclear-powered generation, not wind and solar, that filled the gap. (Luft’s charting, based on IESO data, illustrates this clearly).

Still, investors remained stubbornly on the sidelines. So McGuinty doubled down and doubled down again. Eventually, he would agree to pay wind and solar producers as much as 25 times the market price for electricity for up to 20 years—if it appeared to be green. That did the trick. Now, long queues form seeking to join the gravy train each time the wicket opens for the province to buy more power.

Despite a decade of rapid and ill-planned expansion of industrial wind and solar facilities across the province, these generators produce a paltry portion of the province’s electricity—at an extraordinarily high cost. They did, however, provide one important advantage for McGuinty and, later, Kathleen Wynne. The massive turbines and acres of solar panels have proved to be helpful political emblems signalling to urban voters their government is green.

It has won this praise at a very high cost. Sadly, it is Ontario’s rural poor who are paying it.


Water Wells Useless by nearby Turbines

turbines & water

Water wells made useless by nearby turbines

We found the opinion expressed by letter writer Dean de Jong in the July 22 edition of the Sarnia Observer both hurtful and inaccurate.

With research Mr. de Jong would have realized he has misconstrued the situation. There is a problem in Dover Township and a pending problem anywhere in the area where wind turbines are constructed in this manner in this soil and rock composition.

Mr. de Jong did get one thing right; the situation is about water quality. Had the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change listened to the people of Dover and reacted to their complaints, along with writing meaningful precautions into the Renewable Energy Approval for North Kent Wind 1, this situation could be reported differently and there would have been no need to push to an Environmental Tribunal.

The ministry’s approach of “let them eat cake” or in this case providing farmers with livestock “bottled water” is insulting. We’re afraid it shows there is more than one person out of touch with what is at stake here.

Furthermore Mr. de Jong, we assure you the Health Unit would not test this water, as you cannot see through it. It looks rather like chocolate milk but with a lot of grit. Perhaps Mr. de Jong has the time to invent a way to have a shower, do the laundry or run the dishwasher with “bottled water”.

There is no hidden agenda here. Water Wells First has been abundantly clear that it’s not against the wind turbines, or any other type of renewable energy. What Water Wells First is against is having water wells that have been used for generations made useless by wind developers. The blind compliance to renewable energy demonstrated by the performance of the ministry confirms direction from a Toronto-centric ideology and no concept of what goes on in rural Ontario. Not all water comes out a tap fed by a lake, you know.

Perhaps if Mr. de Jong could see past the anti-wind energy neo-Luddites, as he describes them, he might see the countryside where people have sourced clean natural ground water for generations (why would they stay if they couldn’t?) and understand the irony, in that the majority of these folks’ ancestors used wind energy (wind mills) to pump their water for all those generations.

Seismic coupling – no one is making this up! People, especially rural people, have far more to do than fight to protect their wells from the government they pay for.

K.C. Craig Stainton, executive director

Ontario Ground Water Associaton

and Kevin Jakubec, executive director

Water Wells First

Published July 26, 2016 The Observer:

The View from above of Niagara Wind

The visual impacts of the Niagara wind installation have taken over the skylines of West Lincoln, Niagara, and Haldimand in southern Ontario.   Wind projects also include miles and miles of access roads, transmission lines, hydro poles and guardrails.  Even in rural lands they become a dominating industrialization feature of our landscape.

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International Appeal to WHO

download (4)The battle to protect health, our homes and environment knows no border, as renewable energy projects powered by wind globally continue to generate reports of harm.   The WHO is currently reviewing its  European noise guidelines and will include consideration of noise from wind turbines.  Signatories from around the world are calling for careful review of these standards and are uniting those who are demanding protection and prevention of harm to health.

The international letter has been signed by health professionals, researchers and concerned individuals from around the world including Dr Robert McMurtry and Carmen Krogh of Canada, Dr Sarah Laurie of Australia, Dr Alun Evans of Scotland, and acoustician Jerry Punch of the United States, among many others.  Wind Concerns Ontario has signed on behalf of its membership and has sent in a prior letter of comment to the WHO.

The campaign has been picked up by the media in the UK such as the article in the Press and Journal published on July 21, 2016



Its Official Wind Projects Cancelled

Ontario has officially terminated the Ostrander Point wind project.


Trout Creek and Clarington projects are also cancelled by IESO.


Wind Turbines Killing thousands of birds and bats

By John Miner, The London Free Press

Wind turbines are killing bats, including ones on the endangered species list, at nearly double the rate set as acceptable by the Ontario government, the latest monitoring report indicates.bat-killed-by-wind-turbine-blades

Bats are being killed in Ontario at the rate of 18.5 per turbine, resulting in an estimated 42,656 bat fatalities in Ontario between May 1 and October 31, 2015, according to the report released by Bird Studies Canada, a bird conservation organization.

Ontario’s Ministry of Natural Resources has set 10 bat deaths per turbine as the threshold at which the mortalities are considered significant and warrant action.

The bats being killed by turbines in Ontario include the little brown bat, tri-coloured bat, eastern small footed bat, and northern long-eared bat, all on the endangered species list.

The Birds Studies Canada report draws its information from a database that is a joint initiative of the Canadian Wind Energy Association, Canadian Wildlife Service, Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Bird Studies Canada.

Brock Fenton, an expert in the behaviour and ecology of bats and professor in Western University’s department of biology, said the bat deaths are a concern.

Bat populations across North America have been plunging with the emergence of a fungal disease called white nose syndrome.

Birds are taking less of a hit from wind turbines, according to the report, with an estimated 14,144 non-raptors killed by wind turbines and 462 raptor fatalities between May 1 and October 31 in 2015.

The report noted that some wind farms have moved to reduce bat mortalities by cutting their turbine speeds from dawn to dusk in the late summer and early fall.

A spokesperson for the Canadian Wind Energy Association said the association is concerned about reports that are based on limited data that have the effect of boosting estimates.

In response, CanWea is developing its own system that will be released this fall that is designed to improve existing and proposed bat regulations, said Brandy Giannetta, CanWea’s Ontario regional director.

“It aims to achieve this in part by enhancing knowledge of the existing data in order to drive science-based policy decisions and also by providing avoidance, minimization, and mitigation options that we hope operators and regulators alike will find useful in conservation efforts,” Giannetta said in an email.

Wind Concerns Ontario, a coalition of provincial groups opposed to wind farm development, said it is concerned that birds and, significantly, bats are being killed in numbers that were not forecast by either the Ontario government or the wind power developers.

“The population of the Little Brown Bat in particular is now at 5-10 per cent of its historical levels, so, as the Environmental Review Tribunal stated in the White Pines decision in Prince Edward County, even a few deaths will have a serious impact on the species as a whole. And we know for a certainty that bats are killed by wind turbines,” Jane Wilson, president of Wind Concerns Ontario, said.

It is critical to understand that wind power projects shouldn’t be approved without a full and objective assessment of all factors in any given location. The government’s push for wind power has to be balanced with the continuing need to protect the natural environment, Wilson said….


Scaring Children isn’t the Answer

Ontario has been paying for TV ads to promote its policies concerning climate change.  One such ad is where media personality David Suzuki lectures to an audience of children that if action isn’t taken we are all doomed. Wind power generation has been held out as part of the renewable energy solution but it is done without regard to the reported harms to health and harm to the environment. Every time this ad is broadcasted adults should stop and consider if the solutions being offered are the right ones for the right problem. We need to protect our children.  Our government should not be in the business of scaring children.




Ostrander Point Tribunal drags scrutiny of wind and solar projects out into the open


Only when time has passed and the memories of the years long struggle begin to fade, will we know that industrial wind turbines have been banished from Ostrander Point for good. But for now, the creatures who occupy or pass through this bit of land on Prince Edward County’s south shore may do so without the threat of bulldozers rolling across the terrain or 50-story machines whirring overhead. Maybe forever.

The Ostrander Point wind project has been stopped. Its appeal period has expired. There remain scenarios in which the project could be revived, but that likelihood is now remote, according to the lawyer acting for the Prince Edward County Field Naturalists (PECFN).

“There is rarely a final chapter written in these types of sagas,” said Eric Gillespie. “It is fair to say, however, that the odds of this going further are extremely low. To the best of our understanding, the Gilead Power permit is revoked. That decision is not being appealed. The file has concluded.”

The volunteers who form PECFN allowed themselves to exhale on Thursday evening—after the developer’s appeal period had expired.

“It is particularly wonderful to finally realize that the battle is over,” said Cheryl Anderson of PECFN.

The decision by the Environmental Review Tribunal—written by Heather Gibbs and Robert Wright—fundamentally alters the future for Ostrander Point, and has the potential to disrupt other projects involving land where Blanding’s turtles are known to nest, including White Pines and Amherst Island. But it has the potential to reach much further. Indeed, it has the potential to shake the very foundations of the Green Energy Act (GEA).

In 2009, the provincial government, led by Dalton McGuinty, was unsatisfied with the pace of wind and solar energy development in the province. Deadline after deadline had passed and his targets for renewable energy had gone unmet. A panel of experts had reported a year earlier that the regulatory process— the safeguards that protect human health, the environment and even the electrical grid itself—were causing the delays to wind and solar development across the province.

The GEA set out to remove these hurdles—eliminating safeguards in the Ministry of the Environment, Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry, Ministry of Energy and the Ontario Energy Board, among others.

Since the GEA was enacted, industrial wind and solar projects have been reviewed and approved behind closed doors in a mostly tightly controlled process. The only nod to public transparency and accountability was a single Environmental Review Tribunal…..

Published Wellington Times July 15, 2016