~What happens when decisions concerning build out of electricity generation infrastructure has already been decided and public consultation done just for show?
~What happens when new extensions of the grid appear linked to facilitate the rapid and contested build of industrial wind turbines while ignoring cumulative environmental impacts?
Members of the RTS Substation Action Group in Ireland are taking action to protect their communities and have exposed the involvement of EirGrid. A huge substation is planned capable of accepting multiple wind facilities to the Irish electrical grid. A substation that if built could impact clean drinking water for well over 8 000.
Ratheniska residents are claiming that they have exposed Eirgrid’s litany of failures and systematic corporate sharp practice.
The Ratheniska, Timahoe, Spink (RTS) Action Group, when briefing Minister Denis Naughten, made a number of extremely serious allegations, which they backed up with a dossier of painstakingly accumulated evidence: 20170118 – Presentation to Ministers-For Issue
Aside from the long standing issues of site unsuitability, water source destruction and planning process corruption, the RTS Action Group claimed to have unearthed very serious transgressions by Eirgrid’s board of the code of practice for semi state bodies.
The evidence indicated that EirGrid had created “a short cut on the board“. RTS Action Group explained that four members on the EirGrid Board had formed a “sub-board” and were “filtering information going to the board where they are now rubber stamping projects and funding on the basis of recommendation by this four member sub – board.”
If these allegations prove to be true, and the RTS Action Group are adamant that they are, then this constitutes an extremely serious breach of the code of practice, which should lead to a mass resignation of the EirGrid Board of Directors.
In a statement released after the meeting with the Minister, the RTS Group said:
“The RTS Group believe that Minister Naughten, who was accompanied to meet the delegation by his Cabinet colleague and local TD, Charlie Flanagan, had his eyes opened and was astonished by the import, nature, scope, scale and seriousness of the information being placed before him, for the first time.
This meeting arose from a promise made last June in the Dáil by Minister Naughten to visit the site of Eirgrid’s “unauthorised development” and the community who alerted the authorities to Eirgrid’s illegal building activities.
Our greatest concern is that the construction of Eirgrid’s unnecessary energy hub project will destroy and pollute the very necessary and only source of clean water for not just this community but for 8,000 Laois people. All of the evidence of how Eirgrid have conducted themselves up to now points to this eventuality, and we just can’t allow that to happen.
The political fallout from this semi-state operating with such a cavalier attitude to planning law, sustainable development, professional best practice, and corporate responsibility was that all three local TD’s and all Laois County Councillors were unanimous in calling for Eirgrid to cease the development.
We set out some of the evidence for the Ministers as to how Eirgrid have been deliberately deceiving us, the planning authorities, the other arms of state, and even the Dáil from the very outset of this ill-conceived project. This is not due to a few mistakes, or a few individuals making errors, but systematic deception through every phase of this development from its inception to illegal commencement. This evidence has been collected through in depth research and forensic examination. The community could not rely on what Eirgrid were telling us in the public domain throughout their sham consultation process. This damning dossier has been given to Minister Naughten, who as line Minister is ultimately responsible for Eirgrid, their conduct and corporate transparency and accountability.
The buck stops with him. He is now in full knowledge of the scale and scope of Eirgrid’s deception and disgraceful behaviour, we expect the Minister to reel Eirgrid in, to finally make them accountable for their actions on site and in their boardroom. He must move to scrap the project. On foot of today’s new revelations it is incumbent on the Minster to act, act promptly and decisively”.
The last word goes to the current Minister of Justice, who made the following statement after being briefed by the RTS Group:
“There has been a clear breach of law. The breach is sufficiently serious to abandon the project. I don’t believe there is any way back for EirGrid. They should pack up their machinery and should not come back.”
Source: The Law is My Oyster
Credit: By Erika Doyle | Wicklow Times | Tuesday 23rd January 2018 | wicklowtimes.net ~~
Richard Hobson from Ballycumber is fearful for his children’s future after a huge wind turbine was installed right above his house. Ballycumber Wind Farm consists of six wind turbines near Tinahely in South Wicklow.
Richard says the light flicker and noise levels are the “worst possible things” for his two small boys with autism, one of whom has epilepsy and the other hypersensitivity. He says his story is a warning to others that companies can ‘quietly put plans in place to build crazy things…uncontested and at odds with the local communities’ wishes.”
Richard’s story began some years ago when he bought a run-down property on Ballycumber Lane. He applied to Wicklow County Council for planning permission for a 6 metre house but this was refused on the grounds it was ‘dominant and intrusive or incongruous in the landscape or an area of special amenity value’, something he says he finds particularly galling as “they have now allowed a 50-storey turbine to be built above my head.”
Richard and partner Elaine spent all their savings trying to get planning permission, “I was put through the ringer for reports on my house but Wicklow County Council refused on a “height” of 6m. Then when the banks collapsed, I refurbished the house on my week to week wages.
“My home was sold to a vulture fund who pulled every trick in the book but I fought them. We were just moving out of negative equity and now I see above me six skyscraper industrial turbines of 131m each.” Richard says his home has now been devalued to the tune of 40% and he has been left with no choice but to pursue his legal options.
Partner Elaine is devastated by the turn of events. As full-time carer to sons Sean and Daniel, both of whom have severe health conditions and special needs, Elaine feels the full impact of the turbines on a daily basis.
“The children want to be outside,” she said. “But after being out there for a while and being exposed to the noise, between 30 and 45 decibels, they get very stressed and upset. A lot of the time now I bring them elsewhere to play. It breaks my heart as we moved here to have space. We used to live in a housing estate in the city but it was too busy and dangerous. We thought we would have the space and tranquility of the countryside here. I’m heartbroken that this has happened. We have so many medical appointments with our boys and should be able to retreat into our safe quiet home. People who don’t have children with special needs can’t understand the effect something like this has on them.”
“The natural beauty is now gone”, adds Richard. “The peace and quiet is gone for the next 25 years and my home is now seriously and permanently devalued by a Windfarm company, a government body Coilte and a consortium of business people that live far from me and I guarantee wouldn’t tolerate a wind farm above them. It seems as though County Councils and politicians bend over backwards for big business and laws are only for little people not the big boys.”
Ballycumber Wind Farm consists of six wind turbines near Tinahely in South Wicklow and is owned by a consortium including local businessmen. It was granted planning permission by Wicklow County Council in 2013 and appealed to An Bord Pleanala who upheld the permission.
For the past five years the South Wicklow Wind Action Group (SWWAG), led by Richard More O’Ferrall have fought against the introduction of wind farms to their and other rural areas saying they should be located offshore. Mr More O’Ferrall told Wicklow Times that he was well aware of health issues arising from living in proximity (considered to be within 2km) of a wind turbine. “In many cases people must leave their homes. This is what happened in one case in Cork and the court case resulted in the wind farm admitting liability (a landmark High Court action taken by the Shivnon families against Enervon Wind Farm Services. The family claimed their health had been affected by noise from the turbines and Enervon admitted liability).
Mr More O’Ferrall also referred to a quote from Colette Bonner, Deputy Chief Medical Officer at the Department of Health who said, “There is a consistent cluster of symptoms related to living in close proximity to wind turbines which occurs in a number of people in the vicinity of industrial wind turbines. These people must be treated appropriately and sensitively as these symptoms can be very debilitating.”
SWWAG have not given up their battle and say they will work with Mr Hobson while he considers his options.
Source: By Erika Doyle | Wicklow Times | Tuesday 23rd January 2018 | wicklowtimes.net
A call to action!
Your presence is requested in the seats at the upcoming Environmental Review Tribunal hearing against White Pines Wind and circumstances surrounding the IESO contract for the renewable energy approval.
Upcoming Court and ERT dates/times/locations:
APPEC legal action against the Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) and WPD White Pines Wind Inc. will be heard on January 29, 2018 at the Belleville Court House starting at 2:00 pm.
Additionally, the hearing dates for the APPEC appeal to the Environmental Review Tribunal (ERT) have been confirmed as follows:
January 24, 2018 at 10:30 a.m. at the Sophiasburgh Town Hall, 2771 County Road 5, Demorestville.
The purpose of the Pre-hearing Conference is for interested persons who would like speak at the hearing to apply for status either as a Party, a Participant or a Presenter. Please click here if you are interested in finding out more about seeking status at the hearing and click here to view the ERT Notice of Pre-Hearing Conference.
ERT Main Hearing
February 12, 2018 at 10:30 a.m. at the Sophiasburgh Town Hall.
The most effective way of showing the Superior Court and the Tribunal of the level of community concern with the White Pines wind project is with your presence.
*To confirm dates and venue locations for any changes please contact the Environmental Review Tribunal *
Turbine snaps in half in Chatham-Kent, MPP calls for halt of wind projects
‘The blade is wrapped around the bottom of it and the engine is on the ground’
By Dan Taekema, CBC News Posted: Jan 19, 2018
A wind turbine in Chatham-Kent, Ont. has snapped in half, leading to calls from one area MPP to halt area wind projects.
The turbine in Raleigh Township, near the corner of Drake Road and the 16th Line, collapsed on itself Friday.
“As we were getting closer you could see in the distance that it was snapped in half .. it’s actually one of those ‘Oh my goodness [moments],” said Chatham-Kent Ward 2 councillor Karen Herman. “I was so surprised to see something like this. The blade is wrapped around the bottom of it and the engine is on the ground.”
No injuries reported
The Turbine is owned by TerraForm Power. The company confirmed one of its turbines collapsed Friday and that crews are investigating the cause.
“The issue did not cause any injuries or impact to the broader community,” wrote spokesperson Chad Reed in a statement emailed to CBC News.
Chatham-Kent’s Fire and Paramedic Chief Bob Crawford said the turbine has been disconnected from the grid.
“With safety being a priority, workers are currently putting up safety fencing around the broken turbine and Chatham-Kent Police are also present,” he added.
Lambton-Kent-Middlesex MPP Monte McNaughton shared a photo of the mangled turbine on Twitter and used it as an opportunity to renew calls to stop two upcoming wind projects in the area.
“The Liberal government should put a halt to the Otter Creek and North Kent projects immediately, put a moratorium on them so we can look into the safety issues of turbines,” he explained.
Minister of Environment & Climate Change, @ChrisBallardMPP: 17 families in Chatham-Kent cannot drink their well water and today, this from one of your local wind turbine projects. I again call for an immediate moratorium on North Kent & Otter Creek wind projects. #onpoli #ckont pic.twitter.com/AEXsXmDwld
— Monte McNaughton (@MonteMcNaughton) January 19, 2018
The Chatham Voice|January 15, 2018| Letter to Editor
Sir: This wind-water issue in north Chatham-Kent has been dragging on – it seems like – forever. Is it just me, or does it feel like there is a lot of crap going on around the issue that is successfully distracting people from a real and serious issue. The ‘crap’ I am referring to is the politics (of wind power), the personalities (of Randy Hope and Kevin Jakubec) and the lame excuses getting in the way of meaningful action.
First is the excuse that the windmill projects are not to blame for the water quality issues. The only thing I can say to that is to please stop insulting our intelligence! It is NOT a coincidence that these wells, which have produced clean water for years and years, suddenly and en masse became spoiled at the same time that the construction of these mega-project windmills started.
The second excuse is the sediment in the water, and whether it should be tested, how it should be tested, and whether it is harmful to human health. My answer to this is quite simple: if you don’t know for sure, err on the safe side. Test it for everything you can, and if there are potential risks that exist, consider them real.
Mayor Hope wants to argue that the residents are not drinking the sediment, but perhaps he was sleeping through the science class that taught us sediment is made up of particles ranging in size from those you can see to microscopic ones that are essentially dissolved and part of the solution that can pass through filters and be consumed.
What if 20 years down the road it is found out that the black shale sediment in these wells is the root cause of widespread health issues among the rural population in these wind turbine areas? Is council blessed with some crystal ball that allows them to foresee the future? Is council willing to take the risk of being wrong? Do they want that on their conscience?
Behind all this smoke and mirrors is a real issue about water, and the rights we all have to water. More importantly, and what should concern every citizen in C-K, is the obvious and deliberate disregard our elected leadership in Chatham-Kent has towards this right. Those council members that are not giving their all to defend the water rights of those citizens in Dover and Chatham Townships are the same members that the rest of us across C-K are going to be counting on to look after our best interests when/if our need arises, whatever that need may be. How does that make you feel? How much confidence do you have that they will do the “right thing” when your time arises?
Here is the bottom-line: Water security is a principle where no exception should be made and no ground be given. It’s one of those hills that are worth dying for and something community leaders are elected to valiantly protect. We cannot let these wind companies walk away making millions off C-K’s wind resources and leave behind a trail of spoiled wells and plastic water tanks. If they are going to leave here and benefit from C-K for years to come, the least they can do is leave CK the way they found it!
We should all be paying attention and contacting our local councillors, demanding that they do their job, do the right thing and stand up for the basic rights of their fellow C-K citizens. This is not about wind any longer, it is about water – a basic human requirement and right! And we should be judging our elected leaders by their actions on this important community issue. Municipal elections are less than a year away – let’s hope this issue has a solution in-principle by then.
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.
Stewart Halliday, Deputy Mayor Municipality of Grey Highlands, Chair
Mark Davis, Deputy Mayor Municipality of Arran-Elderslie, Vice-chair
Reposted from Wind Concerns Ontario
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.