I am writing to you and your esteemed colleagues requesting that the new PC majority government repeal the Green Energy Act with the swiftest possible speed. I know you have railed against this misguided piece of legislation. Indeed, your estimate of its low caliber is echoed by Pierre-Olivier Pineau, Associate Professor and Electricity Market Expert, University of Montreal HEC Business School, who opined that “Ontario is probably the worst electricity market in the world.” (https://www.forbes.com/sites/judeclemente/2016/03/30/ontarios-high-electricity-prices-crush-business/#2a8c5ab44587)
As you know, this Act has been a disaster on many fronts – its inability to effect the desired reduced CO2 emissions, its harmful effect on the environment, its negative impact on the economy and our electricity rates, its stripping of municipal planning and zoning rights, and importantly, its deleterious impacts on rural residents who only want a safe and quiet place to enjoy their homes and properties.
1. Tweaking the GEA is folly, as the very Act is based upon faulty foundations – that the wind is free, clean, and always blowing somewhere. This myth fails to take into account that wind is unpredictable, non-dispatchable, unreliable and inherently intermittent. When added to a power grid designed entirely around dispatchable sources, it leads to grave system instability. As renewable energy sources are added into the mix, their impact is exacerbated by an inability to match loads (demand) with supply, as supply would be increasingly and inconveniently dictated by phenomena like the weather (and sunset). The green mantra also fails to acknowledge the requisite concomitant use of fossilk fuels (particularly, gas) run in an open cycle, stop and go, inefficient mode like the Don Valley at rush hour. And it fails to deal with the vast stretches of weather system patterns and the transmission requirements necessary to connect with Dorothy in wind-blown Kansas.
2. Furthermore, mere enforcement of GEA regulations is an insipid approach. The regulations fail to include infrasound, low frequencies, high frequencies, amplitude modulation, stray voltage, vibration, the trespass of shadow flicker, the destruction of prime agriculture lands, disturbances to water wells, impact on livestock and wildlife harm/harassment/ kill/displacement, among other winning features of IWTs. Nor does it address the legality of gagging lease holders from discussing health impacts, thereby precluding public safeguards. Moreover, the existing regulations regarding acoustic testing and monitoring, when implemented at all, are cumbersome by design, rarely feasible, and statistically dishonest.
3. The only honourable approach to addressing the Green Energy Act is to cancel it. In a Financial Post article entitled “Yes, Ontario’s Liberals can cancel their terrible renewable power contracts—and they should do it now”, (Lawrence Solomon, September 2016) argues for “cancelling Ontario’s odious renewables contracts”. He writes:
Mr. Ford, many rural residents have been holding on for a June 7th PC win as their last hope in dealing with the adverse living circumstances imposed upon us by the McGuinty-Wynne dynasties. I encourage you to repeal this disastrous Green Energy Act and return our homes and our pastoral farmlands to their idyllic pre-GEA state.
The mothers and their children took a walk on May 27, 2013 protesting the Summerhaven Wind project that was under construction at the time. We marched together providing a record and demonstration of our non consent to the wind project. It also spiked a lot of interest from the Ontario Provincial Police and wind project security. The police decided they needed to be present with a marked police escort and their undercover members.
Mothers Against Wind Turbines remains firm in giving a thumbs down to industrial wind. We have not remained silent. We will not remain silent. No still means no.
Citizens’ group charges Environment Minister with violation of Environmental Protection Act
May 1, 2018, Toronto, 10:00 EDT – The president of Wind Concerns Ontario (WCO), a volunteer-led coalition of 30 community groups and many Ontario families, has filed a private prosecution against the Honourable Chris Ballard, Minister of the Environment and Climate Change (MOECC), for violating Ontario’s Environmental Protection Act (EPA).
Private prosecutions are important tools in empowering private citizens to hold those persons in power to account.
The EPA prohibits anyone from permitting the “discharge of a contaminant into the natural environment, if the discharge causes or may cause an adverse effect.” Adverse effects listed in the EPA include “an adverse effect on the health of any person,” “harm or material discomfort to any person” and “loss of enjoyment of normal use of property.” (Section 14 subsections 1 and 2)
“We don’t take this step lightly,” says Jane Wilson, WCO President and a Registered Nurse, “but with the MOECC not responding to thousands of reports of excessive noise from wind turbines, which is affecting sleep and health for Ontario families, we had no choice. These are examples of adverse effects that Minister Ballard should not be permitting to continue.”
WCO recently received MOECC documents under a Freedom of Information request that showed thousands of unresolved reports of noise, many with staff notes about sleep disturbance and health impacts. Between 2006 and 2016, there were more than 4,500 recorded reports, 35% of which contained staff notes about adverse health effects; between 2015-2016, the MOECC response rate to the reports of excessive noise was less than 7%.
“Citizens report going without sleep for days, weeks, even months,” said Wilson. “Sleep disturbance is linked to other health problems such as high blood pressure and diabetes. Mr. Ballard, as steward of environmental protection in Ontario, is responsible for allowing this environmental noise pollution to continue.”
On April 30, 2018, Mr. Ballard was served with a summons to appear before the court on May 17, 2018.
Saturday afternoon over ninety members of the public attended an electrifying community information session on “Understanding Stray Voltage and Industrial Wind Turbines” held at Covenant Christian School in Smithville.
The keynote speaker was Mr. David Stetzer an electrician with 30 years’ experience. Stetzer specializes in power control in industry, municipalities, and motor control centers. For the last decade, Stetzer has focused his attention on power quality analysis and troubleshooting. He is a senior member of the IEEE (Institute of Electrical & Electronic Engineers), an expert witness in litigation suits in ground currents and power quality, co-author of peer reviewed papers in journals as well as a producer of the documentary ‘Beyond Coincidence: The Perils of Electrical Pollution’.
Stetzer attributes much of the dirty electricity – frequently referred to as ‘stray voltage’ that exists in Ontario – to the overloading of the single return wire in our power supply. Eighty percent of the power that returns to the substation is “dumped” onto the ground. We do not see, hear, feel, taste or smell electromagnetic energy. Yet the proliferation of electrical pollution creates problems for people who have a biological reaction to the poor power quality that is generated by industrial wind turbines, power transmission lines and distribution lines.
Any power generator in Ontario has an obligation to transmit ‘clean power’. Using an oscilloscope, it is possible to measure the pure sine wave of clean power and determine what harmonics, transients or intermediate frequencies which produce poor power quality or ‘dirty electricity’ are also present.
Tuned filters at the site of power generation prevent some of the distortion. But according to Stetzer the best solutions are to enforce current and existing codes and standards like the IEE519. Stop using the earth as a return circuit for the neutral current, by increasing the size of the utility’s Primary Neutral or utilize a 5-wire system to accommodate power returning to the substation.
Much of Stetzer’s work has been done with dairy cows to identify causes of decreased milk production. Poor production costs time, money and health.
As one member of the audience pointed out – industrial wind turbines are an intermittent power generator and only produce 28% of the nameplate capacity. “It’s like buying a one-titted cow” she said.
The second speaker was Carmen Krogh – a full time volunteer and published researcher regarding health effects and industrial wind energy facilities. She shared her preliminary research on why people in communities with industrial wind turbine generators leave their homes. Community members were invited to participate in a community-based study to explore the circumstances which may influence individuals and families to vacate or remain in their home when living near a wind energy project. Participation was voluntary, and 67 community members shared their experiences.
Based on preliminary results, sleep disturbance appears to be the most common reason people vacate. Other symptoms included: sensations such as pressure in the ears, chest, head, heart, bladder: ear problems such as tinnitus, burning, popping in ears; heart palpitations such as racing heart, increased blood pressure; headaches such as, migraines, stomach aches; nausea, vomiting, dizzy, vertigo; nose bleeds, skin infections, stress, anxiety, extreme agitation/ irritability, depression, cognitive, loss of concentration, and a sense of panic.
Krogh’s next steps are to finalize her data analysis and submit a number of papers for publication in peer reviewed journals. In addition, these findings will be shared with government authorities both domestically and globally.
Barb Ashbee – a member of the panel discussion – provided the victim impact perspective. Ashbee and her husband were happy, healthy involved community members before a wind turbine project started up near their home. The serious adverse health effects drove them out of their community. Testing in their home showed out of compliance noise, infrasound and electrical pollution. It was a battle to get any meaningful information or assistance from the government. After hiring a lawyer, they settled with the company, were able to relocate and their symptoms subsided after moving. Almost 10 years later, the anger and dismay at what the government is doing to citizens has not lessened as the toll rises. Ashbee continues to advocate for resolution for victims impacted by wind energy.
The supper speaker was Mr. Alan J Whiteley, an attorney for over 30 years. He has negotiated government defense contracts and served as counsel for the arbitration of international commercial disputes. Whiteley is legal counsel for the County Coalition for Safe and Appropriate Green Energy (CCSAGE) based in Prince Edward County, and is challenging various aspects of Ontario’s Green Energy Act via a Judicial Review.
According to Mr Whiteley, the Green Energy Act (GEA) has harmed the health of rural residents, the sustainability of the natural environment, water quality, local economies, rural roads, property values, municipal assessment taxes, heritage properties and the safety of residents and communities.
The implementation of the GEA is biased in favour of proponents of renewable energy projects and against individuals, communities and municipalities. In many cases the Ministries improperly delegate their statutory powers to others, and continually grant consent to renewable energy projects without any cost/benefit analysis.
Industrial wind facilities must be placed in rural agricultural areas of Ontario and the result has been an industrialization of rural Ontario. Unwilling host municipalities and their residents can not exercise sound planning principles with respect to industrial uses of land within their jurisdiction.
The Fire Protection and Prevention Act was changed to prohibit owners of abutting lands from claims for damages caused by fires originating from renewable energy projects.
The Assessment Act, deems the assessed value of a $2.2 million wind turbine tower at only 4.6% of the current value of the industrial wind turbine. This discrimination violates section 15 of the Canadian Charter of Rights, which guarantees equal protection and equal benefit of the law to all Canadians. The GEA contravenes several international conventions to which Canada is a party, including the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development.
According to Whiteley, the Canadian legal system faces an access to justice crisis. The Supreme Court of Canada has stated that there must be practical and effective ways to challenge the legality of state action. However, ordinary citizens have unequal access to costly justice that wealth can provide. Huge corporations can bully and manipulate the law in their own interests while ordinary citizens lack the means to begin a legal proceeding. If the traditional cost rules of the justice system are revised, citizens will regain their right to challenge government action.
The day provided information on issues that affects us all – dirty power and limited access to legal justice.
Catherine Mitchell – a concerned citizen
Information event held April 21, 2018 co- hosted by MAWT and WLGWAG
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
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
Wind Concerns Ontario president Jane Wilson says these remarks are either a sign of “stunning ignorance, or a calculated policy by the MOECC to ignore and even demean what is happening to people in Ontario.”
MOECC reps stun audience with views on wind turbine noise
Municipal officials told wind turbine noise no worse than barking dogs, no action planned
December 16, 2017
The Ontario Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change (MOECC) position on wind turbine noise is that they don’t pose a health problem.
That’s the conclusion from remarks made by Owen Sound District Manager Rick Chappell and District Supervisor Andrew Barton, speaking to the Multi-Municipal Wind Turbine Working Group in Chesley this past week.
The two MOECC managers said repeatedly indicated that they are just messengers: the MOECC’s Technical Assessment and Standards Branch is responsible for establishing the Ministry’s position on wind turbine noise and providing “advice” to local District staff when they respond to queries.
Bottom line: we don’t believe you
In their presentation and responding to questions from municipal officials in the Multi-Municipal working group, the MOECC officials outlined key elements of the MOECC position on wind turbine noise.
They agree that wind turbines can cause annoyance. Contrary to medical literature, however, they do not use “annoyance” as a medical term denoting stress or distress. They actually compared annoyance caused by barking dogs to residents’ reactions to wind turbine noise. *
The MOECC managers insisted the literature did not demonstrate any direct health effects from wind turbine noise, when asked about health studies and reviews on turbine noise. Despite evidence of indirect health effects raised, the staff comments repeatedly indicate the MOECC is narrowly focused on direct health effects.
The MOECC takes a one-sided view of the Health Canada study which according to these officials only found that there was no link between wind turbine noise and health impacts. This statement ignores the second half of the findings which confirmed a link between reported health effects experienced over 12 months and wind turbine noise. They also do not seem to be aware of the findings released to WCO which indicated that annoyance starts at 35 dBA, not the 40 dBA used in Ontario.
Their view of the Council of Canadian Academies report was similarly selective. They downplayed the key finding of this review which was that there is sufficient evidence to establish a causal relationship between exposure to wind turbine noise and annoyance in the medical sense. Also not mentioned were the issues highlighted about measurements of wind turbine noise using A-weighted tools which fail to capture low frequency components of wind turbine noise. The Council noted that averaging measurements over time does not convey changes in sound pressure levels occurring in short periods.
In terms of low frequency noise and infrasound, the MOECC representatives relied on a statement from Health Canada that levels of these emissions were found to be below levels that would expect to result in harm to human health. When questioned, however, they were not able to quantify what the MOECC considered “safe” levels of infrasound, or when the MOECC would be acquiring equipment that is capable of measuring emissions at frequencies below 20 Hz.
Members of the Working Group countered by referring to research that conflicted with the MOECC statements. The response from Chappell and Barton was that the Technical Assessment and Standards Development branch reviews emerging research, but limits its assessments to peer-reviewed articles in “respected” journals.
In the MOECC presentation, staff said the 2016 Glasgow International Wind Turbine Noise Conference supported their position on infrasound and health effects. This prompted the Technical Advisor to the group — who actually attended the conference — to inform them that he sent 14 papers presented at this conference to the Ministry, because the conclusions do not support the Ministry’s position.
Chappell and Barton did not seem to be aware of the work of Dr. Neil Kelly at NASA in the mid-1970s on low frequency noise and infrasound from wind turbines, even though it was published in respected peer-reviewed journals and presented at U.S. wind industry conferences.
Residents affected by wind turbine noise were present in the audience. One from Grey Highlands asked when the Ministry was going to respond to the noise assessments at his home that had been provided to the Ministry. No response timeline was provided. Another asked for the position of the MOECC on people who had to move from their homes because of the impact of the noise from nearby wind turbines. The response was that the MOECC has no position except to repeat that there is no direct link between wind turbine noise and health issues.
Members of the Multi-Municipal Wind Turbine Working Group did not appear to be satisfied with the answers provided by the Ministry officials; several follow-up activities are planned.
MOECC failing as regulator: WCO
Wind Concerns Ontario president Jane Wilson says these remarks are either a sign of “stunning ignorance, or a calculated policy by the MOECC to ignore and even demean what is happening to people in Ontario.”
Wilson, a Registered Nurse, says there is a great deal of evidence in the health literature about the range of noise emissions produced by large-scale wind turbines, and growing international concern about adverse health effects.
“Of course there are health effects,” Wilson said. “That’s why we have setbacks between turbines and homes in the first place. This Ministry refuses to acknowledge it has a problem and take appropriate action — it is failing the people of Ontario as a regulator.”
*CanWEA in a 2011 news release acknowledged that a percentage of people can be annoyed by wind turbines, and the trade association said that when annoyance has a significant impact on quality of life, “it is important that they consult their doctor. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency also describes noise-induced annoyance in legislation as a situation that “can have major consequences, primarily to one’s health.”
Kincardine Council asked the MOECC(Ministry of the Environment & Climate Change) on December 6, 2017 what is being done about continued noise reports at the Enbridge wind power project for the past NINE YEARS! MOECC District Manager documents the history of incomplete reports, and reported health effects.
When Premier Kathleen Wynne announced 14 months ago that her government was suspending Ontario’s renewable energy procurement process, she and her Liberal colleagues were caught in the middle of a public backlash against skyrocketing electricity bills. Halting a costly plan that promoted wind turbine farms was a quick, convenient response. Indeed, Wynne’s own energy minister admitted Ontario didn’t need the electricity that would be produced by new turbines.
But there was a problem. Six months earlier, several wind turbine projects had been approved, and the September announcement didn’t mean they would be cancelled. The contracts would be honoured. Ontario would be allowing the development of wind turbines to produce electricity that wasn’t needed.
Among those projects are two in Chatham-Kent and another in Elgin County. One has become an enormous public relations problem for the Wynne government, while the other two have the potential to become the same.
The first project is almost complete; but the others should be halted before they begin.
The North Kent 1 wind project was mired in controversy even before Wynne announced suspension of the renewable program. Construction activity is believed to have fouled or clogged at least 16 water wells because of interference to the area’s unique geology. Residents with damaged wells have made arrangements to have clean water trucked to their property.
The problems at the North Kent 1 project have stirred up fears a few kilometres away, at the Otter Creek project. Work has yet to begin, but residents are worried the same problems will affect their water. They’re also worried proposed turbine towers, the tallest in Canada, will be erected in an important migratory bird flight path.
Local MPP Monte McNaughton (PC — Lambton-Kent-Middleses) wants Otter Creek halted.
“These turbines are being built to generate electricity we don’t need, and they’re only going to contribute to driving hydro prices even higher,” he said.
In Elgin County, meanwhile, residents in Dutton Dunwich continue to campaign against a wind farm that has yet to be built.
Kathleen Wynne may have hoped rural Ontario’s long-held discontent with the Green Energy Plan would be forgotten by the June 2018 provincial election. But that’s not about to happen as the remnants of that multibillion-dollar campaign, and its varied controversies, continue to be revealed.