Buying the vote

In Vermont wind power developers are offering direct financial incentives to facilitate the latest proposed industrial wind turbine development.  Critics are very clear that they feel the offering is a mechanism to buy the vote.  Wind proponents spin it as sharing the economic benefits of wind power.   The United States is not alone in having money being used as the carrot on the stick to silence opponents.   vermont ridgeline.png

In Ontario many local municipalities fall silent opposing renewable projects  when their acceptance is facilitated by the payout of Community Vibrancy Funds offered by wind developers.

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Lester Green & Bill Monture (their English names) representing the interest of the Men’s Fire Council appeals against renewable energy approvals at the Ontario ERT

The Haudenosaunee people of the Six Nations located within the Haldimand tract territories are also being engaged via installed governance structures (which are bitterly contested due to historic forced installment under the Indian Act). Six Nation Band Council along side other entities such as HDI have become willing part- owners of renewable energy projects with the promise of big monetary buy outs.  The price tag for good will metered against mandatory consultation about development guaranteed in the Canadian Constitution.  Agreements for project ownership are funded with borrowed monies indebting cash strapped communities along the Grand River. The decision to participate fueled with promises of monies and pay outs totaling in the tens of millions of dollars for some of the renewable projects. The price point rising with each agreement according to  perceived level of threat of facing opposition and fear of direct action being taken against the projects.  Many residents of Six Nations Territories are demanding to be shown the money as questions continue to swirl over the legitimacy of signatory authority of consent on the contracts and in particular alarm is raised over claimed clauses extinguishing sovereign rights for the lands.  Community consensus which is the traditional model of Iroquois government has not been reached. This was evidenced by the appeals from the  Men’s Fire Council from the Six Nation Territories at the Environmental Tribunal. Controversy and division over wind power continues today within the close- knit community.

Community disruptions and harms caused by wind power is not and will not healed by any amount of money.

Vermont: Closing Arguments:  Wind Power not Green vs Financial benefits to the Community



Drennans Continue to Pursue Wind Lawsuit

shawn-triciaTrish and Shawn Drennan are  now self- represented in the latest challenge against the K2 wind project.   The date for the motion to strike and dismiss their claims is currently set for January 19, 2017 in Goderich, Ontario.   Support the fight with seats in the seats or drop a line to the Drennans directly.  Fighting for justice for all who have been adversely harmed by wind power facilities.

Drennan’s Renew Wind Farm Lawsuit

Thursday, October 27, 2016 9:06 AM by Peter Jackson
Ashfield-Colborne-Wawanosh couple proceeds without a lawyer against wind farm.

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(Goderich) -A couple from Ashfield-Colborne-Wawanosh is making another legal attempt to recover damages from K2 Wind, for alleged harm its 140 turbine wind farm is doing to them and their neighbours.

Shawn and Tricia Drennan are representing themselves in Goderich Court.

They filed an amended statement of claim Wednesday in regard to the current operation of K2.

Drennan reminds us that his original claim was filed in the spring of 2013, which was more than two years before the 270 megawatt project was completed.

He says significant facts of the case have changed since then, and that K2 wants to strike down certain provisions of the Drennans’ original claim.

The 2013 claim asked that renewable energy approval be stayed and that K2 not be built.

The document also sought damages.

The Drennans’ Constitutional argument of the original claim was heard by the Environmental Review Tribunal and upheld by the Ontario Court of Appeal.

Drennan admits the process is a challenge since Toronto-based lawyer Julian Falconer is no longer representing the couple.

Superior Court Judge Russell Raikes advised Drennan on the correct way to file the amended claim, and has set January 19th as the date for the motion to strike to be heard in Goderich Court.


Canadian Wind “Farms” deadly to thousands of bats

Canadian Wind Farms Kills Ten of Thousands of Bats

Wednesday October 5, 2016   |    

Hoary bats like this one are the species most often killed by wind turbines in Canada. ©Nessie Grace
A bat lies dead beneath a wind turbine in southern Ontario. ©Mike Anissimoff

Each wind turbine in Canada kills an average of 15.5 bats per year, adding up to a death toll that could someday threaten populations, according to new research. In Canada’s first comprehensive analysis of wind farm casualties, researchers found that turbines were killing about 47,000 bats per year in 2013. That number will only rise as Canada’s investment in wind energy increases.

“We have about 50 percent more turbines now, so, as of 2016, somewhere around 70,000 bats are being killed in Canada per year,” said Ryan Zimmerling, a wildlife biologist with the Canadian Wildlife Service and first author of a recent study in the Journal of Wildlife Management. “It is possible that those levels of mortality, if they’re not already causing impacts to some species now, could be causing impacts into the future.”

Wind energy companies in Canada are required to monitor bat mortality at newly built wind farms, regularly searching the area under turbines for carcasses. The companies report these data as part of post-construction monitoring, but until now, no one had combined them into a single nation-wide analysis. To see the big picture, Zimmerling and his colleagues analyzed carcass counts from 64 wind farms in nine provinces, using statistical corrections to estimate how many carcasses the surveyors missed.

Offshore Turbines in Great Lakes facing International Opposition

Plans to install wind turbines in the Great Lakes is facing international opposition by environmentalists and like minded organizations.  Globally significant flyways intersect and traverse the large lake systems which are located in North America. Wind development sites such as Wolfe Island in Ontario have documented high avian and bat mortalities due to wind turbines. Pressures of development are intensified with proposed multiple wind projects such as those in the Amherst Island area on Lake Ontario.  Next Era’s Summerhaven facility on the shores of Lake Erie has reported deaths of 24.99 bats per turbine in 2014. It is a widely held criticism that death rates are under reported as they are generated by the wind developers.  READ:

The threat of imminent extinction of several bat species in North America due to white nose syndrome ( a deadly spreading fungal infection) combined with high mortality rates arising from turbine operations is raising alarms world wide.  The Great Lakes still supports a strong commercial and sports fishery. The impacts of wind power to fresh water species remains a large unknown.  It is never too late to do the right thing.  Wind generation complexes do not belong in such sensitive habitats.

Offshore wind plan in Lake Erie criticized internationally

By John Miner, The London Free Press


The fight to keep industrial wind turbines out of Lake Erie has become an international effort.

Environmental groups from Spain, France and the United Kingdom have now joined North American organizations in opposing a plan to build a pilot wind farm in western Lake Erie, near the Ohio shore, along the U.S. side of the border.

“I really feel there is a good chance of stopping it. Public outrage can do this,” said Sherri Lange, chief executive of North American Platform Against Wind Power, a Toronto-based coalition opposing wind farm development.

Known as the Icebreaker Project, the wind farm proposed for Lake Erie near Cleveland would involve the installation of six turbines to test the feasibility of building larger wind farms in the lake. It would be the first industrial wind farm in a fresh water lake in North America.

Ontario, meanwhile, has kept a moratorium slapped in place on offshore wind farms in the Great Lakes along its borders with the waterways.

Proponents have described Lake Erie as the Saudi Arabia of wind energy, with the potential for more than 1,000 wind turbines.

But the project has sparked intense opposition from a broad range of environmental groups who say the offshore turbines will disrupt migration routes for birds and bats, damage marine life and pose a pollution hazard.

Lange said she and others thought the Icebreaker Project had been defeated in 2014 after U.S. state officials cited a string of deficiencies, but then the project was given a $40-million grant earlier this year by the U.S. Department of Energy.

David Karpinski, vice president of operations for Leedco, the wind farm developer, said the project is continuing to move forward to gain the necessary government approvals.

“We are continuing to build momentum,” he said. “The detailed engineering is completed and we are moving into the commercial relationships for contractors to source and build what we need here.”

The current plan is to start construction the summer of 2018, Karpinski said.

Last week, the Ontario government said it has no plans to lift its moratorium on Great Lakes wind-farm development that had been imposed five years ago.

Industrial wind farms, with their highrise-sized turbines, have been deeply polarizing in Ontario, especially in the province’s southwest that is home to the largest wind farms and the most number of turbines. Some communities have declared themselves “unwilling hosts” for the projects, which Ontario’s Liberal government embraced with its green-energy law in 2009 as it took away local control over where the projects can be built.

Announced in the run-up to a provincial election, the Ontario government originally justified its moratorium on offshore wind development on the grounds there wasn’t enough scientific information on the potential impact of the turbines in the lakes.

Wolfe Island- One of the highest recorded site for avian and bat deaths due to wind turbines in North America


Hungarian Law that would Kill wind turbines

hungarian-wind“Hungary’s President János Áder has referred an amendment of the electricity act back to Parliament for review for it has practically bans the installation of wind turbines in the country. ”

October 21, 2016, 1:27 pm  english version Hungarian version

The Hungarian government created a series of new regulations with the aim to prohibit the installation of new wind turbines in the country. The amendment of the energy law was worded carefully so it does not explicitly ban wind farms since the EU would most certainly object to that. Instead, the new law bans wind turbines in a 12-kilometre radius around populated areas.

A colleague of the Faculty of Science at the Eötvös Loránd University created a map with a geoinformatics software which illustrates the areas where the law applies. Red marks the banned and white the permitted areas. Cannot see any white spots? Exactly!

Áder referred the bill approved on 11 October back to Parliament for a review, saying it

  • does not help the execution of the Paris climate agreement (At the Paris climate conference in December 2015, 195 countries adopted the first-ever universal, legally binding global climate deal. The agreement, which is due to enter into force in 2020, sets out a global action plan to put the world on track to avoid dangerous climate change by limiting global warming to well below 2°C.)
  • contradicts the action plan on the utilisation of renewable energy for 2010-2020; and
  • implements unjustified administrative restrictions.

 The government secured itself from all sides against wind turbines. Additional clauses in the new law stipulate that wind turbines cannot be installed “within 40 km of Hungarian Defence Force radars, and within 15 km of military airports”, as well as any area where they would “decrease military and defence capabilities”.

According to another clause, the installation of wind turbines on agricultural land is restricted to those which have been officially out of cultivation for at least three years. Additionally, only 2-megawatt wind turbines, i.e. those with outdated technology are allowed and at no more than 100 m height.



Bad Actors

“How did we get here? How did the people of Ontario become the enemy of the state?”


Posted: October 21, 2016 at 8:49 am   /   by

The image remains seared into the consciousness of everyone who witnessed the grotesque spectacle. The full power and fury of the state and its legal might, side by side with one of most powerful law firms in Canada, arrayed against the grey-haired volunteers of the Prince Edward County Field Naturalists. Five Goliaths against one David.

One side funded by taxpayers and corporate interests, the other by donations and the kindness of individuals in this community. One side working to forestall the demise of species at risk, the other side hungrily pursuing profits. Alongside them were government lawyers dispatched from Toronto to defeat the County’s Field Naturalists.ostrander-point-shore

How did we get here? How did the people of Ontario become the enemy of the state?

At a moment in history when liberal democracy looks more fragile than it has done in 70 years, the troubles infecting this province may seem trivial by comparison. It isn’t trivial to the folks of PECFN still working to pay their legal bill. Nor to the folks still battling yet another powerful developer and an unrepentant province in South Marysburgh. Or on Amherst Island.

Yet it is only by understanding how and why governments turn against their people that we see the roots of unrest and decay in democracy. A goodly portion of Americans who despise Donald Trump will vote for him next month, not because they believe he is a better candidate than his opponent, but because they want to throw a brick through the window of a government they believe is working against their interests.

To be clear, this isn’t a defence of their choices, but rather a caution that we are not immune to the illness that has infected American politics in this cycle.

I expect most of the handful of folks who volunteer with PECFN would not describe themselves as political. Their interests lie mostly in the natural world and the beasts that populate it. PECFN didn’t set out do battle with a provincial government indifferent to the plight of its own endangered species, or with a corporation determined to reap profits from industrializing the County’s south shore. They were thrust into this fight because the provincial government shredded its own protections and safeguards to give corporate interests free rein.

But why? What drives elected officials to use the state’s power and resources against those working to protect the natural world it has abandoned?

We got a glimpse last week when Kathleen Wynne defended her government’s cap and trade emmissions scheme. She told a business audience in Niagara Falls that Ontarians are “very bad actors” in terms of per capita emissions of greenhouse gases. It wasn’t a slip of the tongue—or offhand remark. These words were part of a scripted speech.

Fortunately for the wretched folks in this province, we have a premier who understands good and bad—better than we do. She has unveiled the selfish and narrow view through which we see the world around us. Kathleen Wynne will be our better selves.

In this morality play your provincial government has decided it will not work in your interest— but rather what it believes your interest ought to be. It knows this better than you. Kathleen Wynne, and Dalton McGuinty before her, believe they know what is best, and cling to the hope that history will judge them better than Ontario’s weak and myopic voters do now.


But untethered by accountability to its voters and deaf to its ministries’ advice and counsel, provincial Liberals have made a terrible mess of the energy supply system in Ontario. It will take decades to fix. It has squandered billions of dollars chasing schemes unworthy of a Nigerian postmark. It has pushed manufacturing jobs out of the province. And it has rendered electricity bills that are unaffordable for many of its poorest rural residents. Meanwhile, it has made a select group of developers very, very wealthy.

In turn, they have dutifully filled her parties’ coffers— to arm her for the next election.

How is it that the most righteous tend to be the most susceptible to corruption and misdeeds? There is something distinctly Shakespearean in this tragedy.

In 2011, facing an election Energy Minister Brad Duguid announced a moratorium on offshore wind development. Loud opposition was building in Duguid’s own riding at the prospect of industrial wind turbines rising just offshore from the Scarborough Bluffs. The science was unsettled, he said. But it was politics pure and simple. Duguid and the Liberals won the election. This week, taxpayers of this province learned the cost of his calculation.

This is because Duguid’s decision also scuttled a project to build offshore wind turbines near Wolfe Island by American developer Windstream Energy. The company sued. Last week ,a court awarded the company $25 million plus its legal expenses of nearly $3 million. Ontario taxpayers are on the hook for this bill. Furthermore, the developer maintains that its 300 MW contract, worth $5.2 billion, is still in effect.

It is the largest award ever ordered under the North American Free Trade Agreement—yet it is just the most recent cheque written by this government for power that will not be generated.

Ontarians have, indeed, been very bad actors.


Join PEPTBO for their Fall Dinner on October 29 at the Waring House Inn Banquet Hall. Noted ornithologist Jean Iron will be the keynote speaker. For more information visit or call the Waring House at 613- 476-7492 ext. 4220.


Sound of turbines is an ethical issue


Assessing the need for industrial wind farms and their siting requires ethical values. The wind industry repeatedly dismisses the adverse health effects of living close to industrial wind farms. The claims are made on the fact that there have been few “peer-reviewed” articles directly connecting adverse health outcomes to the proximity to wind farms. However there is a plethora of published complaints worldwide linking health complaints to living near wind farms.

As a physician I was intrigued by this discordance. My experience with human disease told me that we all were missing something. I began to research the health impact of industrial wind farms on those individuals living in close proximity. I wish to share my conclusions.

Wind turbines produce audible and inaudible sound waves. Not all individuals living close to wind turbines are adversely affected. Nevertheless a significant number are intolerant in the long term. High levels of audible wind noise are clearly associated with degradation of health, which is improved as the decibel level is decreased. Inaudible infrasound and its effect on human and animal health has not been adequately studied. The lack of scientific information linking infrasound to adverse health outcomes may be because we are just beginning to understand the alterations in human physiology confronted with infrasound. There is a growing body of evidence that infrasound matters and may be the cause of negative health outcomes.

Recent research suggests that the inner ear is capable of sensing infrasound and affecting the way we sleep, learn, problem solve and interpret the environment around us. Some communities have recognized the existence of adverse health impacts and have begun to legislate to protect individuals.

Back to ethics. Why then are we in such a hurry to place wind farms so close to living organisms when there is a potential for an adverse outcome? Corporate and ethical responsibility no longer is a matter of how much money is donated to a person or a cause. Rather, ethical corporations should not adversely affect the environment and degrade human life. Instead of siting industrial wind close to populations, why not look to conservation and other renewables that don’t have associated health complaints? Is it ethical to ask that some suffer while others prosper? I would argue no. I would argue my peers would agree when they review the emerging data.



Published October 19 , 2016  Rutland Herald:

Knowledge Partner in Wind Turbine Health Study

The municipality of Bluewater is now officially a “knowledgeable partner” in the study being conducted by the Huron County Health Unit, the University of Waterloo and Wind Concerns Ontario into the relationship between health problems and wind turbines.

Council approved the motion this week and will issue a letter of support acknowledging that position.

Mayor Tyler Hessel explains the role of the municipality and the Health Unit at this point is collecting complaints from residents who live close to turbines and are experiencing health issues.

He’s adds he’s looking forward to hearing back from the people at the Health Unit working on that, and their analysis of the complaints.  Hessel says that analysis might form future actions of the municipality.


Unravelling of Species at Risk Protections

More bad news for our species at risk as the Court upholds changes to endangered species leaving vulnerable populations and habitats without legal protections.  Note most industrial development such as wind generation facilities is now allowed by exemptions via the Species at Risk Act.


Court upholds changes to endangered species rules

Ottawa Community News,
Liam Casey,
Canadian Press,
October 12 2016TORONTO — Ontario’s highest court has dismissed a challenge to the province’s endangered species regulations, a decision environmental groups say will leave many species without legal protection.The Court of Appeal for Ontario upheld a lower court decision that found the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry was within its rights to grant exemptions to industries such as forestry, oil and gas and mining under changes made in 2013 to the Endangered Species Act.The regulations provide 19 exemptions from the act. One exemption, for example, allows someone to kill or hurt caribou or damage or destroy the animal’s habitat if that person is conducting forest operations, provided the person has an approved management plan.”It’s a terrible day for endangered species in Ontario,” said Caroline Schultz, the executive director of Ontario Nature, one of two environmental advocacy groups behind the appeal.

“It means that the Endangered Species Act doesn’t do what it professes to do.”

 Ontario Nature and Wildlands League argued that in granting the exemptions, the Natural Resources Minister “failed to consider the potential impact of the regulation on each individual species.”

The not-for-profit environmental groups also argued the lower court erred in finding that the exemptions were consistent with the purpose of the act, which they said was “to protect and enhance the recovery” of species at risk and not “to balance such interests with economic interests.”

The appellate court disagreed with both arguments, saying the minister had properly considered the effects of the regulation on each species and that the law was meant to protect biological diversity while also considering social, economic and cultural concerns.

It agreed with the government that “the effect of the proposed regulation is not likely to jeopardize the survival of the affected endangered or threatened species in Ontario or to have any other significant adverse effects on these species at risk.”

A Wildlands League spokeswoman said she was “gutted” by the decision. “No endangered or threatened species in Ontario right now has legal protections not to have their habitat destroyed or the legal right to not be killed,” said Anna Baggio, director of conservation planning with Wildlands League.

The ministry, meanwhile, said it was pleased with the decision and would be assessing its next steps in light of the ruling.

A ministry spokesperson said the regulatory changes “simplified the rules for landowners, municipalities and businesses while continuing to protect endangered and threatened species.”


Taking on the law and winning

val-martin“Congratulations to Val Martin, who took on An Bord Pleanala in the High Court and won. This amazing achievement is testimony to the fact that it is possible for a person, with no formal legal training, but with bucketloads of planning knowledge and guts, to take on the State apparatus in the High Court and win.”   Republic of Ireland


Here is the story in Val’s own words:

“In 2009, the predecessor to Raragh developments applied for planning permission for a wind farm at Kingscourt. Cavan 09/270, It supplied an Environment Impact Statement (EIS) (of sorts). Despite objection from 38 households the Local Council granted permission and it was appealed to ABP. They carried out a sort of EIA and granted planning permission.  As the developer did not know details of the cables at the time, a specific condition was that the planning permission did not include the connecting cables.

In 2015, the developer applied to extend the period of operating time for the wind farm until 2020. He stated that an EIS has been provided with the first application and Cavan Co. granted the application stating that an EIA had been done in 2010.  In May 2015, the developer applied for a declaration under Section 2 of the PDA to declare the 5.5 km of underground cables to the ESB sub-station in Kilnalun, Co. Meath to be development and exempted development.     Cavan Co. Council referred it to ABP (No.RL . 02. 3369).

On the 3rd May, 2016, the Board stated that it was a “development”  and “an exempted development”.  This would have allowed the whole work to go ahead.

I took a judicial review No 2016/460/JR acting as a lay litigant (presenting the case myself). I claimed that the underground cabling was not a “development” but a “project” and accordingly it could never be classed as an exempted development.  I cited the O’Grainne judgment and its ratio decidendi (binding part of the judgment) where the Judge said “In truth I have already concluded the wind farm and cabling are one project”.    I cited a few European cases which proved that a project can be split into phases and that the 2nd or subsequent phases must be assessed under the EIA Directive. In other words, when deciding whether its environmental effects are acceptable, it must be assessed with the cumulative effects of the entire project, and not just the phase currently under consideration.

The Board and the wind farm developer opposed me. They served me with a cart load of documents and I simply wrote in the legal submission that the High Court has no role to play in assessing planning applications, but must confine itself to the law alone.    The Board Lawyers, Philip Lee and Co. caved in and the developer’s lawyers did too.    The Barrister for the Board arrived in Court No 1 before Judge McGovern and said “this is the man who beat Board Pleanala” in a good humoured way.  There was no need for the 2-day trail which had been allocated.

The Judge said he would quash the decision of the Board and award me costs.  

Should anyone want copies my case and legal argument, just ask and I will send to you as hard copies. I acknowledge the help of Pat Swords, David Malone, Owen Martin, Francis Clauson, committee chairman Mike Muldoon, Dublin solicitor (and friend) George McGrath , campaigners all over the country and neighbours at Kingscourt for their encouragement.

Essentially the law is:

1) projects cannot be developments.

2) Projects can be split but all information known should  be provided at each phase.

3)   Projects cannot be processed under the PDA alone.

4) The PDA (part X) is the vehicle for processing an EIA.

5) One major cop,  well spotted by David Malone and used by me is that Article 2(4) of the EIA Directive allows for exemption a project from an EIA in exceptional circumstances.   If this is done government must inform the EU Commission and comply with a number of conditions which are very strict.  I think this would cover situations like where there is some sudden and unforeseen important event where development would have to be done without submissions for the public.   An international summit or the like.  This is the only way a project can be exempted.

The developer’s lawyers indicated that they did not want to remit the application to the Board. I do not know if they will now apply for an EIA for the cables and planning permission, that is for another day.


Val Martin”

Well done Val.  Respect!