A Blessing in disguise. Time to take the evidence to Court.
North Kent Wind agrees to cease construction at turbine site until matter returns to court
By Ellwood Shreve, Chatham Daily News
Thursday, September 7, 201
Construction will cease at one turbine site for the North Kent Wind project, but a court order is prohibiting anyone from blockading, obstructing or impeding access to any other construction sites for project.
However, the matter will return to court at the end of the month, when the grassroots citizen group Water Wells First plans to be ready to make its case for stopping the project, due to the impact vibrations from constructing the turbines have had on area water wells.
In a statement released Thursday, North Kent Wind stated it appeared before the Superior Court of Justice on Wednesday seeking injunction prohibiting blockades and other interference with the construction of its wind project.
“We respect the rights of citizens who disagree with wind energy or the project to have their voices heard,” the company stated.
“The motion for injunctive relief became necessary because some protestors were engaging in what we believe was unlawful conduct, raising serious concerns about the safety of workers and protestors alike,” the statement added.
North Kent Wind said it sought the assistance of the court to enforce the rule of law and keep the peace.
“At the request of the court and out of respect for those who oppose the project and wish to be heard, we agreed to cease construction at one turbine site, which is currently blockaded and occupied by protestors, until the motion is heard by the court on Sept. 28-29.”
The court has granted an interim order restraining and preventing anyone from blockading, obstructing, or impeding access to any of the construction sites for the project.
Kevin Jakubec, spokesman for Water Wells First, called the upcoming court appearance “a blessing in disguise.”
He said when the matter returns to court, this will be the first time, that he is aware of, that evidence will be brought before a court in Ontario regarding the damage a wind farm has caused to the environment and a water resource….
Protecting clean water from wind turbine construction has seen residents chaining themselves together in protest to stop further damage of reported turbid drinking water that occurred after the pile driving for turbine foundations in Chatham Kent. What is it going to take? It is time to halt the wind project!
In In an effort to halt construction of a wind turbine project in North Kent, three protesters chained themselves together in a show of solidarity on Tuesday.
Sheltered from the rain, but weathering the elements, Rick Ball, Lee Montgomery and Yvonne Laevens were at the entrance to the site on Bush Line, near Highway 40 in the former Chatham Township.
“It should have never have gone this far,” Laevens said. “We have to (do this). We’ve tried just about everything else.”
Several water wells in the North Kent Wind project area, currently under construction by Samsung Renewable Energy and Pattern Energy, have been clogged with sediments shortly after recent pile-driving took place for constructing industrial wind turbines.
Tuesday’s protest was peaceful, with Laevens adding that Chatham-Kent police have been “congenial” with the group.
Ball said he appreciated the members of the public who were on hand and hopes the government takes notice.
“Start paying attention to what we’ve been saying for a year and a half,” he said.
Last week, Chatham-Kent council passed a motion asking the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change to halt the project until water well concerns were dealt with.
Ball said a halt would allow everyone involved to work together on a solution.
Also part of the council motion was to implement independent water testing for the wells currently experiencing problems.
In a media release, the municipality stated that residents near the North Kent One wind farm project whose wells have water-quality issues will be contacted by Chatham-Kent officials this week to allow them to select a firm to test their well water at no cost.
Municipal chief administrative officer Don Shropshire said the municipality, working with public health officials, have identified 17 labs in Ontario that are licensed and accredited by the Canadian Association for Laboratory Accreditation to test drinking water for microbiological agents, organic chemicals, inorganic chemicals, and other particulate matter.
Shropshire said in the release that residents will have the option to choose any of the accredited labs.
“We want to ensure there are no concerns about who does the testing,” he said. “We’ve provided the list but the choice will be up to the residents.”
At a meeting last week between municipal officials and ministry representatives, the province also committed to contact owners of wells which have experienced issues and review those concerns with Samsung Renewable Energy and Pattern Energy.
As for the request to halt the project, the municipality’s release stated “that request is still before the premier’s office.”
In a statement e-mailed to The Daily News on Tuesday afternoon, the company said it was aware of the water well concerns.
 As described in greater detail below, the Approval Holder has proposed an amendment to the REA to include additional curtailment measures designed to reduce little brown myotis mortalities. The Tribunal finds that these additional measures, provided they are amended to require that they be implemented from sunset to sunrise, is likely to significantly reduce little brown myotis mortality over the life of the Project. However, as neither the Approval Holder nor the Director has proposed effective means to mitigate the serious harm to human health, as found by the Tribunal in its October 2016 Order, the Tribunal concludes that the decision of the Director should be revoked. As such, an amendment to the REA to address harm to little brown myotis via an amended mitigation plan is rendered unnecessary.
Words and their meanings have powers that can impact our very well- being. Judge Cornelius J. Moriarty II, of the Justice of the Superior Court ordered the cessation of the operations of the wind turbines in Falmouth, Massachusetts. In giving his judgement he discusses findings and reasons while interpreting and applying the meanings of the words injurious and nuisance.
“Despite the Town’s insistence that Barry Funfar is hypersensitive to sound, it is clear that he is no lone voice crying in the wilderness. Other residents of the neighbouring area have registered similar complaints which was the very reason the Town commissioned the HMMH study in the first place.”
A neighbor of the town’s turbines e-mailed us last week to say that we have been misleading the public by stating in recent stories that Judge Moriarty ruled that the turbines were a nuisance to the Funfar property. A nuisance, he wrote, is generally thought of as a neighbor mowing the lawn on a Sunday morning, whereas Judge Moriarty defined nuisance not only as an inconvenience but also a danger. He attached a copy of the judge’s decision for our reference.
In fact, Judge Moriarty went into a good deal of detail in a five-page discussion of his findings and decision.
First, he pointed out that the Zoning Board of Appeals’ decision that the turbines constituted a nuisance could not be overturned, as the board would have had to have been unreasonable or on legally untenable grounds. The appeals board found that the turbines were a nuisance to the Funfars’ property because, based on a DEP sound study, they directly affected the health and well-being of the Funfars. “The decision here was hardly arbitraray and capricious,” Judge Moriarty wrote.
But the issue here, of course, is the definition of nuisance. Judge Moriarty pointed out that nuisance is difficult to define and, as much testimony as there was about sound levels, none of it applies to the definition because there are no numerical standards. “The issue is,” he wrote, “whether, on the facts found, the operation of the wind turbines was offensive because of injurious or obnoxious noise or vibration, a nuisance in violation of the by-law.”
He pointed out that, while the town argued that Mr. Funfar was hypersensitive to sound, “it is clear that he is no lone voice crying in the wilderness. Other residents of the neighboring area have registered similar complaints…”
The judge discussed the definition of “injurious,” at some length and concluded that “the physical effects of the turbine-generated sound upon Mr. Funfar have been certainly harmful and have tended to injure him.”
There should be no mistake among the residents of Falmouth; when the appeals board and Judge Moriarty called the town turbines a “nuisance,” they did not mean it in the way of ants at a picnic or a dog barking in the night.
Judgement Town of Falmouth vs Falmouth Zoning Board of Appeals et al
“The common enemy of humanity is man.
In searching for a new enemy to unite us, we came up with the idea that pollution, the threat of global warming,
water shortages, famine and the like would fit the bill. All these
dangers are caused by human intervention, and it is only through
changed attitudes and behaviour that they can be overcome. The real enemy then, is humanity itself.“
– Club of Rome; The First Global Revolution (page75)–
Not many things bring together a community like an Industrial Wind Energy Installation. In Illinois, the Concerned Citizens for the Future of Clinton and DeKalb Counties have banned together to fight Industrial Wind. Their lawyers took NextEra and the wind industry’s parade of “experts” to task in sworn testimony.
In Michigan’s Thumb, their “Wind Capital” has their own group of citizens calling themselves the Interstate Informed Citizen’s Coalition who helped to discover that townships could call for a referendum vote on whether or not they wanted any more wind energy. 12 townships, 12 votes, 12 times the answer was a resounding NO.
Vermont is working on enacting a much stricter IWT noise ordinance as well as setbacks 10x the height of the turbine. Minnesota has a similar bill in the works.
Oklahoma ended its wind subsidies early because of the overwhelming cost of Industrial Wind. Their former Governor Frank Keating released a statement saying that he regrets his part in funding Industrial Wind.
There are over 300 groups that have been formed for the singular reason of opposing Industrial Wind in North America alone. Europe and Australia have many groups of their own. They are people who may have thought that Industrial Wind was good or at least benign until they educated themselves, or where educated by their close proximity to turbines. There is well over a decade of testimonials, documentation, expert witness accounts and research into the negative impacts of Industrial Wind. The wind industry also has come up with its own testimonials, documentation, expert witness accounts and research that seeks to reframe or refute all the opposition’s evidence just as tobacco companies have done. Why are these negative impacts still listed within their contracts if there are not major problems?
People like to say that landowners can do whatever they want to on their own land but you know that is not true. If what you are doing (or not doing) negatively impacts your neighbor whether it be the length of your grass or the number of vehicles in your yard, it is not allowed. In our townships where the wind development is being proposed only a few people were willing to sign over land where they actually live. 4-5 people alone were responsible for signing over of the land for the proposed installation. That leaves 100s of people directly impacted but left with no choice to opt out.
Lastly people equate turbines with CAFOs. If they are allowed to annoy neighbors then Industrial Wind should get the same right is how the thinking goes. Our Planning and Zoning Board asked for mile setbacks for IWT, same as CAFOs but the wind companies said that they would leave. Our Supervisors shortened the setback to bring in revenue. Their first consideration needed to be people impacted, not the money to be made. Though industry supported with tax money is like cutting off the top foot of a blanket and sewing to the bottom to make it longer.
Bats are being killed at a rate by wind power plants that have experts raising the alarm about sustaining population levels (in blunt terms for some bat species- extinction level threat). In Ontario 3 of our 8 species of bats are considered critically endangered and are facing possible extinction. Kills by wind turbines add to existing pressures for their survival. Evidence mounts daily and it has the wind industry on the defensive. It is more than convenient that a recently study of a woodlot being steward by an Ontario landowner was reported not to have any bats detected. Bats which are so numerous that Theo Heuvelmans has had to hang a bamboo curtain over his home’s entrance to stop them from flying into his home. What other industry is allowed to kill, harm and harass endangered species? Wind power is allowed to not only self evaluated risks but once the projects are built they employ the clean- up crews to collect any found bodies and self report the deaths. Time for being polite and time to say it out loud- bull! It stinks.
Study says winged critters not detected in woodlot near where turbines to be erected
DRESDEN – To put it politely, Theo Heuvelmans doesn’t believe the results of a yet-to-be-seen study that says there are no bats in a 36-acre woodlot on his property near here.
As of Friday, Heuvelmans still hadn’t heard or received any information about what biologists found after they went through his woodlot several times last spring and summer ahead of the North Kent 1 industrial wind farm project which is about to be built nearby by Samsung Renewable Energy and Pattern Energy.
However, he was astounded when The Chatham Daily News informed him on Friday that the newspaper had received a response that no bats were found in the area.
“They’re telling me there’s no bats here? I can’t believe it,” Heuvelmans said.
“The study found there were no bats detected on his property,” according to an e-mail The Daily News received from Pattern Energy’s media spokesperson.
The e-mail also noted the firm that completed the study will be reaching out to Heuvelmans to discuss their findings with him.
The Daily News has requested a copy of the study or to be able to speak with someone about it.
Heuvelmans recently contacted The Daily News after growing frustrated that repeated calls to try to get information about the study have not been returned.
For the past five years he has had to put up a bamboo curtain and a screen to the entrance of the alcove that is part of the entrance to his home, because it attracts so many bats.
“This is the only way I could keep them out,” Heuvelmans said.
He initially refused a request by the wind farm developers to have his woodlot be studied. However, he noted company officials with AECOM Canada, an engineering consulting firm hired by the wind developers to study his woodlot, persisted and told him if bats were present it could impact where the turbines are built.
Heuvelmans agreed, hoping the presence of the bats would result in the wind turbines being constructed further from his woodlot.
However, judging from roads recently built on nearby fields, it appears two turbines will each be constructed within 300-400 metres of the woodlot – one on the west side and another to the north.
Heuvelmans said he put up several bat houses in the woodlot and nearby meadow about a year ago, with the hopes of moving the bats away from his home. He also admits he hoped it would help ensure the turbines would be built farther from the woodlot.
Heuvelmans also said he was told if bats were found in the woodlot, the turbines could be shut down at night to accommodate that.
He is worried that the turbines will negatively impact the wildlife living there, noting great horned owls are regularly seen flying from the woodlot to another nearby bush.
Heuvelmans questions why the turbines can’t be built farther way from woodlots. He would also like to see the Municipality of Chatham-Kent, which is purchasing a 15 per cent stake in North Kent 1, take a more active role in protecting these kinds of areas.
However, the approvals for industrial wind farms are provided through the Green Energy Act, which is under the jurisdiction of the province of Ontario.
Back in the 1960s, Yale psychology professor Stanley Milgram conducted a research experiment whose results shocked the nation.
Participants were told that they were taking on the role of ‘teacher’ in a study of methods to improve learning. An authority figure told the ‘teacher’ to administer increasingly powerful electric shocks to a ‘learner’ in the next room whenever a question was answered incorrectly. There actually were no shocks and the learner was part of the research team, but the ‘teacher’ heard increasing cries of pain with each ‘shock’ administered. Even as the intensity of the shocks approached the maximum of 450 volts, the authority insisted that the shocks should continue – that the anguished screams, the banging on the wall, the pleas about heart conditions, and ultimately the ominous silence from the other room should all be ignored.
It was believed that most people would defy the authority figure once they became aware that the shocks were seriously harming another person. But that was not the case: almost 2/3 of participants continued to obey the authority figure, administering ‘shocks’ until the very end.
I was reminded of the Milgram experiments recently while attending two Public Service Board hearings on new proposed sound limits for industrial wind facilities. Because there have been problems, a lower standard of 35 dBA, (down from 45 dBA) has been proposed. (The World Health Organization recommends 30 dBA.)
Those who live close to Vermont’s existing industrial wind facilities have described a range of symptoms that include sleeplessness, headaches, ringing ears, and nausea. For fifteen months, Shirley Nelson, who lived less than a mile from the Lowell wind project, kept detailed recordings of decibel readings (from a monitor installed at their home by the developer, Green Mountain Power) and the health effects she and her husband were experiencing. Entries from her ‘noise diary’ clearly demonstrate the sustained and cumulative adverse effects of living near the turbines at the previous standards.
The Therrien family, who lived near the turbines in Sheffield, pleaded for years for relief – from the PSB, the wind developer, the town of Sheffield, former governor Shumlin and other state officials – to no avail. Their symptoms? “Disturbed sleep, headaches, tinnitus (ear ringing), sense of quivering or vibration, nervousness, rapid heartbeat, high blood pressure, nausea, difficulty with concentration, memory loss and irritability.”
At the Montpelier hearing, the lawyer who represents the proposed Swanton Wind project told the Board to ignore these symptoms – dismissing them as coming from “complainers” and “outliers” whose testimony was just “anect-data”. Instead, he said, the Board should focus solely on submitted peer-reviewed studies that show no health impacts from proximity to industrial wind facilities
In other words: trust authority; ignore the pleas from the other room; continue administering the shocks.
What about other peer-reviewed studies showing that infrasound from industrial wind turbines does affect human health? And it’s hard to dismiss as mere “anect-data” the fact that deteriorating health forced the Therriens and their two young children to abandon a home they loved.
At the hearings, several residents of Lowell (perhaps believing that new standards would threaten their cash cow) not only implied that their neighbors were lying about the health impacts they’ve experienced, but claimed to live much closer to the turbines – with no ill effects – than they actually do. And the few supporters drummed up by VPIRG and industry promoter Renewable Energy Vermont callously waved off the impacts on humans, wildlife, land and water. Some actually called for raising the noise standard to make it easier on the industry.
Reading from talking points generated by VPIRG, someone commented, “There are only eight families complaining….”
What is the magic number that will elicit empathy from VPIRG? Thirty families? A hundred?
In the Milgram study, the pain the ‘teachers’ believed they were inflicting was justified by the supposed benefit of a better understanding of human learning. In Vermont, the justification from developers is that industrial wind is a ‘clean’ solution to climate change. And there are politicians, ‘environmental’ celebrities and non-profit organizations willing to put on a white coat and hold a clipboard to pose as the ‘authority’ on the industry’s behalf.
But for those who find clear-cutting, blasting, and bulldozing mountain ridgelines, degrading water sources, eliminating wildlife habitat, and killing birds and bats ‘clean’ and ‘green’, take a look at before-and-after photos of entire valleys in China destroyed by the mining of rare earth metals, a critical component in industrial wind turbines. Where there were once thousands of acres of carbon-sequestering grasslands there are now mountains of toxic sludge. Four thousand tons of material must be mined to produce the two tons of metals needed for each 3-megawatt turbine.
Production tax credits, the sale of renewable energy credits, and the requirements of state renewable energy portfolios have made the buildout of industrial ‘renewables’ very profitable for corporations, even when the climate benefits are marginal or non-existent. Utility law professor Kevin Jones at Vermont Law School describes all this as a ‘shell game’ that has actually led to an increase in Vermont’s greenhouse gas emissions.
Clever marketing has induced some of us to engage in moral relativism, ethics without substance, and environmentalism at the cost of its soul. If you find yourself arguing in favor of throwing someone under the bus because your favorite pop-‘environmentalist’ says it’s necessary, ask yourself what you would have done in Milgram’s lab.
You have to see it to believe it. You have to see it to understand the intrusive severe nature of trespass for residents whose homes are now adjacent to industrial wind turbines. You have to see it to gain an idea of the damaging effects of being exposed to strobing shadow flicker in the most private of places your home.
““As it stands, shadow flicker is annoying and annoyance is a serious health issue under the World Health Organization.”
Wind facilities are NOT good neighbours.
Dashwood couple’s problem with shadow flicker raises ire
Filmed April 28 and then uploaded, the video of the shadow flicker his parents live with at their RR 1, Dashwood home has been viewed over 44,000 times and has been shared 740 times.
Metzgar filmed and then shared the video to draw attention to the conditions in which his parents have had to endure from a nearby wind turbine. The turbine is placed 667 metres away from their home, but the shadows from the rotating blades reach their home on County Rd. 83 in Huron County.
“Most people admire a beautiful sunset, my parents not so much,” Metzgar says in the video.
The video has drawn comments from around the globe, but more importantly for Metzgar, it’s also drawn the attention of Northland Power, which owns and operates that wind turbine and others. Northland has promised to investigate, and has even offered to provide some blinds for the occupants “until a permanent solution” can be found.
The senior Metzgar have lived with the flicker problem – without complaint – since the turbine became operational in 2016. They didn’t want to be interviewed about the situation.
But their son believes the flicker needs to be corrected. Indeed, he said his parents can’t watch television without their viewing being interfered by the movement of the turbine blades.
“My parents have never been complainers,” Metzgar said. “And they don’t wish to be seen as such. They don’t have any hope that complaining will get them any results. I, however, have heard them mention the shadow flicker numerous times but never experienced it until last month. I was under the impression that the flicker is the same as what I’m experiencing at my home. That flicker lasts for about 45 minutes, and since we are not using the east part of my house in the morning for prolonged times, I just took notice of their complaints and never thought it was this extreme.”