The Blade|By:Steve Pollack|August 11, 2018
It is hard to know where to start dissecting the slick spin-doctoringrecently published in The Blade’s Op-Ed pages by LEEDCo, the Lake Erie Energy Development Corp., which wants to erect North America’s first freshwater offshore wind-turbines in central Lake Erie off Cleveland.
So-doing would reach far beyond the scope of a newspaper “op-ed.” Beth Nagusky, LEEDCo’s director of sustainable development, is a master at cherrypicking and parading obscure statements as a fait-accompli. Her contentions about the goodness of the proposed six-unit Icebreaker Wind power-generation project, some seven miles offshore, lie between premature and erroneous.
They are a masterful act of dissembling, distraction, distortion, and deception. Perhaps “MisLEEDCo” would more appropriate.
Ms. Nagusky has posited that Icebreaker’s towering turbines would kill few birds and bats, a claim that simply does not hold up under scrutiny. This is shown clearly for anyone who assesses it thoughtfully.
LEEDCo is betting on the glitter of such buzz-words as “economic impact, jobs, and clean energy” to substantiate its stance that somehow the pre-construction research on Icebreaker’s impact is all said and done and we can gleefully ride off into a lovely green-energy future. Wrong.
It claims that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has declared the project a low risk to birds and bats. Wrong again. The Service ruled that the project only posed a low risk to a few particular endangered species. It rejected the initial Icebreaker environmental assessment (EA), citing several insufficiencies in regard to birds and bats. The final EA has yet to be filed. No one, including LEEDCo, has seen it yet.
Among other unsettled issues, the required technology to monitor post-construction bird and bat mortality simply does not exist. And additional studies, including meaningful radar studies of migrations through the turbine zone, should be mandatory.
In its sugarcoating, LEEDCo ignores saying that the initial six units are just the tip of the iceberg. If the Ohio Power Siting Board and related agencies give the green light, this project opens a Pandora’s Box to hundreds or thousands more turbines on Lake Erie and the other Great Lakes. Any negative impacts would be magnified by orders of magnitude.
The state of New York has issued a moratorium on offshore wind for just such considerations, as has the province of Ontario, which alone has put 1,250 proposed offshore Erie wind turbines “on hold” while it assesses Icebreaker deliberations. Do you think that the giant Fred Olsen Renewables, of Oslo, Norway, would bother with building just six units here? The big money lies in hundreds. A proposed “buildout” after Icebreaker may run to 1,600 turbines.
So this really is not just six little old turbines and a few dead birds and bats. The migratory pathway and wintering grounds of millions of birds, and migratory bats as well, lie in the paths of a potential phalanx of towering 500-foot rotors. Out of sight, out of mind, is no justification.
LEEDCo is counting on the public not bothering with facts. Ms. Nagusky singled out Black Swamp Bird Observatory (BSBO) for its criticism of poor, incomplete science that LEEDCo’s hired-gun consultants have proffered about unknown and likely devastating impacts of arrays of offshore turbines. This in the heart of what the National Audubon Society and BirdLife International has declared a Globally Important Bird Area.
The Ohio Power Siting Board staff has attached a daunting list of conditions to its preliminary analysis. Last October, contrary to LEEDCo pretentions, the USF&WS argued that a still-unapproved environmental assessment is insufficient. Instead a more serious, detailed, environmental impact statement should be drawn. Yet LEEDCo proselytizes incorrectly that a waffling preliminary assessment means that Icebreaker is clean and green.
BSBO’s analysis has been dogged over many months. Its conservation committee includes a professional engineer, an environmental law attorney, and no less than three lifetime professional wildlife and fisheries biologists. Contentions down Cleveland-way that the anti-LEEDCo campaign is an animal of the beleaguered coal industry is just another distraction. The project needs to stand on its own scientific merits, not smoke-and-mirrors……
This project should be stayed unless or until it can assure minimal wildlife impacts based on the most rigorous science. The public should thoughtfully educate itself on the project before forming opinion. Icebreaker is the first small wave in a floodtide. Read the record, not just a “windustry” spin-doctor’s selective fantasizing.
(C) ONTARIO FARMER
July 31, 2018
Report by Tom van Dusen
Finch, Ontario — Sitting demurely and speaking quietly, on July 24 the volunteer president of Wind Concerns Ontario blasted the provincial government approach to monitoring industrial wind turbines, accusing it of ignoring complaints about noise, health and other issues, or deferring them with no subsequent action.
Jane Wilson made her comments while presenting as a witness during an Environmental Review Tribunal hearing into the Nation Rise wind power project planned for Stormont County. The hearing is scheduled to continue through August 2.
Currently engaged in the approval process, the project is sponsored by EDP Renewables Canada and calls for installation of some 33 turbines in North Stormont farm country delivering a total of 100 megawatts of power that, opponents observe, the province doesn’t need.
Headed by local resident Margaret Benke, opponents were hopeful the new Doug Ford government would cancel Nation Rise just as it did the White Pines wind project in Prince Edward County. But that didn’t happen and opponents’ legal fees and other expenses are up to $20,000. Benke noted that, with Ford in place, Nation Rise isn’t likely to proceed and yet opposing residents are still on the hook for costs.
Government not enforcing the law
A registered nurse, Wilson said Wind Concerns represents a coalition of more than 30 community groups across Ontario.
She emphasized that the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change–renamed Environment, Conservation and Parks — has pledged to protect the environment and human health from any turbine side effects.
She cited former Environment Minister Glen Murray congratulating his officials for responding quickly to complaints and enforcing the law. However, Wilson’s review of incident reports obtained through Access to Information indicated the ministry doesn’t respond to all complaints and “does not, therefore, enforce the law.”
No answer to that
Total number of incident reports filed with the ministry between 2006 and 2016 was 4,574, Wilson told Maureen Cartier-Whitney, chair of the one-person panel. Records showed that in more than 50 per cent of formal complaints, there was no ministry response. Another 30 per cent were deferred. “In fact, only one percent received priority response.”
While he asked for some clarification, Paul McCulloch of the ministry’s Legal Services Branch, didn’t dispute Wilson’s basic facts. Representing EDP, lawyer . Grant Worden also offered no challenges to Wilson.
The repetitive nature of various complaints suggests, Wilson continue, that wind power developers are failing to live up to the terms of their approvals by allowing conditions triggering adverse effects including on health, to continue.
“Documented health effects include headache, sleep deprivation, annoyance, and ringing or pressure sensation in the head and ears. Most disturbing was the fact that these health effects were reported many times, and also among children.”
Wilson indicated that 39 per cent of 2006-2016 incident reports referred explicitly to sleep disturbance which is generally blamed for a myriad of diseases and disorders.
“Given the thousands of unresolved noise complaints in Ontario, and given Health Canada results of adverse health effects at distances of 550 metres to 1 km, it is reasonable to question whether the Nation Rise power project will not also engender community reports of excessive noise and adverse effects.”
To help support the appeal, which is bringing forward issues never presented to the ERT before, please send a cheque to Concerned Citizens of North Stormont, c/o Wind Concerns Ontario, PO Box 509, 250 Wellington main Street, Wellington ON K0K 3L0
Article Credit: Wind Concerns Ontario
About: Nation Rise Wind