Category Archives: fighting big wind.

Remedy Hearing – Little Brown Bats take centre stage

brown-batWE THOUGHT IT WAS OVER! TURBINE FIGHT STILL GOING! REMEDY HEARING FEB. 28TH!

Wind project developer  (WPD) have been granted another chance that could allow them to install wind turbines at Clearview.  They lost at the Tribunal on the grounds the project would cause serious harm to human health due to the wind turbines interfering and creating risks for safe aviation movements at the adjacent Collingwood airport.  Serious harm to bats was proven.  collingwood_airport_12

ON TUESDAY, FEB. 28. LITTLE BROWN BATS ARE CENTRE STAGE!

A REMEDY HEARING has been granted to allow WPD to present their mitigations measures which need to prove that the mortalities caused by the wind turbines will not cause irreversible  harm to the critically endangered bat population which is facing possible extinction.

Hearing
(28-Feb-17, 10:30 AM)
Hearing
(01-Mar-17, 10:00 AM)

WHERE? Council Chambers, Collingwood, Town Of Collingwood, P.O. Box 157, 97 Hurontario Street, Collingwood, ON

To confirm dates and times look up case number 16-036 under hearings section on the Environmental Review Tribunal website: http://elto.gov.on.ca/ert/hearings/

[220] The Tribunal finds that over the lifespan the Project, it is more likely than not that the Project will cause serious harm to the local population of little brown myotis from which it will not recover and cannot be reversed. Therefore, without additional mitigation measures in place, the Tribunal finds that engaging in the Project in accordance with the REA will cause irreversible harm to little brown myotis.

16-036 WIGGINS V. ONTARIO(MOECC): http://elto.gov.on.ca/ert/hearings/

DECISION:

Boralex faces angry Port Ryerse residents

port-ryerse-protest
Residents protested long and hard to stop the wind turbines in Port Ryerse. The battle now is focused on the newly built and operational project. Disruptive noise and other complaints are being raised about the negative impacts to quality of life in the small tight- knit village. Boralex faces a chorus of similar complaints arising from its larger Niagara Wind project also located on the shores of Lake Erie, Ontario.

An Earful Over Wind Turbine Noise

Monte Sonnenberg.
Simcoe Reformer.
February 16, 2017

The company that brought a four-turbine wind farm to Port Ryerse last year got an earful about noise levels at a community meeting this week.

Boralex officials were on the hot seat Wednesday as 40 people from the Port Ryerse area had at them in a committee room at the Simcoe Recreation Centre.

The occasion was a bi-annual meeting Boralex has agreed to have with its neighbours. Also attending were members of the Port Ryerse Community Liaison Committee.

“It’s very loud and it’s very upsetting,” Port Ryerse resident Shana Greatrex told the gathering. “Our whole village has been affected. This is something we warned about a long time ago and no one did anything about it.”

Village residents were surprised when one of the property owners who agreed to host a turbine said his neighbours aren’t imagining things.

“I’m surprised I can hear them as loud as I do, and I wear an earpiece,” said Wally Faulkner. “They’re louder than I expected.”

Comments at this week’s meeting are consistent with complaints across the province that wind turbines are noisy, disruptive and interfere with the peaceful enjoyment of property.

In telling her story, Gail Lyons started off calm enough. However, the bitterness she feels came through loud and clear in her words.

Lyons told the gathering she lives across the road from “one of these pieces of crap that I hate” and that she is often awakened in the middle of the night because her bed is shaking.

“This is not about business or money,” Lyons said. “This is about people. Put your money where your mouth is. Perhaps you could turn them off at night so we can sleep and sit on our back decks in peace.”

Some Port Ryerse residents dread the arrival of the warm weather and the impact the turbines might have once they open their windows. They are especially upset because a community coalition warned for years that the turbines would have a negative impact on their quality of life.

The firm Aercoustics will conduct a first round of noise tests in the weeks ahead. The meeting heard it could take the better part of a year to arrive at a scientific conclusion about noise levels.

“People’s quality of life is being affected now,” said Port Ryerse resident Scott Pullen. “Why do we have to wait for months? It’s disgusting, and it’s criminal.”

Aercoustics representative Payam Ashtiani said the province doesn’t expect wind turbines to be noise-free. He added the Ministry of the Environment has concerns about ambient noise levels once they reach 40 decibels.

Boralex representative Adam Rosso was on the firing line for much of the two-hour meeting. Acting as a facilitator was Toronto moderator Karla Kolli. Kolli intervened on several occasions to keep the discussion moving in a constructive direction.

“It’s disappointing on my side,” Rosso said after the meeting adjourned. “As a good corporate citizen we’re trying to integrate these turbines into the community. There has been some positive feedback and that gives me comfort. No one would relish a conversation where there is an ideological difference with what we do. But we will continue striving to be good corporate citizens.”

Farmer Chris Van Paassen lives on Radical Road near the turbines. He’s a member of the community liaison committee.

Van Paassen places the blame for the anger in his neighbourhood on the Liberal government at Queen’s Park. The Liberals stripped municipalities of planning authority on green energy projects several years ago.

“One of the first smell tests you do with a development is ask whether it complements the atmosphere of the community,” Van Paassen said. “These turbines do not meet the smell test. You might add that the people in Toronto can’t smell it where they’re from. But that’s where these decisions are being made.”

MSonnenberg@postmedia.com

READ AT: http://www.simcoereformer.ca/2017/02/16/an-earful-over-turbine-noise

Port Ryerse Wind CLC #4 Meeting

Do you hear the wind turbine noise?

How are you affected by the noise?

Are you concerned about the noise in the summer months when our windows will be open?

Please come to the Community Meeting next Wednesday, February 15th.

We are looking for solutions to the noise levels.

We need “them” to understand that we are concerned so bodies are needed to support our concerns

If you have been filling out the Boralex Noise Complaint form please bring that along as well.

Hope to see you there!

snowy-owl
This is the project where the nesting Barn Owls (& Eagles) along with the human residents were denied protection.

Wednesday February 15th, 2017 | 6pm
Simcoe Recreation Centre (Norfolk Room) 182 South Drive, Simcoe, ON N3Y 1G5

The purpose of the CLC is to facilitate two-way communication between Boralex and CLC members with respect to issues relating to the construction, installation, use, operation, maintenance and retirement of the facility. All CLC meetings are open to the general public for observation. Questions can be submitted in advance up until February 8th to Karla Kolli, CLC Chair and Facilitator at kkolli@dillon.ca or by phone at 416-229-4647 ext. 2354. For more information about the project please visit the website at: http://www.boralex.com/projects/portryerse

 

Kafkaesque world of windmill neighbors

despair-400.jpgThe definition of “Kafkaesque”: “Describing something that is horribly complicated for no reason, usually in reference to bureaucracy.” Neighbors of operating and proposed wind projects are watching in disbelief as they witness the Public Service Board (PSB) issue Orders affirming the rights of the wind industry while putting neighbors through expensive, time-consuming legal processes that tramples neighbors’ rights and provide no relief.

Paul Brouha of Sutton lives 6,385 feet from the nearest turbine in the Sheffield Wind plant. He filed his first noise complaint on Dec. 24, 2011, after the wind turbines began operating in October. The PSB dismissed his complaint.

Brouha hired a noise expert who conducted testing and found that instead of the 15 decibels (dBA) noise attenuation between outside and inside projected by wind company experts, the home attenuated 1 dBA.  The expert’s measurements showed “multiple and frequent violations of the CPG noise criteria.”  The PSB ordered the Department of Public Service (DPS) to investigate the complaint early in 2014. DPS hired a consultant who conducted the same test on July 1, 2014.

In January 2015, Brouha filed a nuisance lawsuit in Superior Court in Vermont.

In Sept. 2015, DPS reported to the PSB that Sheffield Wind exceeded interior noise standards 10-14% of the time.

At the end of 2015, the PSB opened an investigation. Sheffield Wind moved to stay Brouha’s nuisance lawsuit which they had moved from Superior to Federal Court.  The Federal judge approved the stay request until the PSB ruled on the complaint.

Brouha’s nuisance complaint has been held hostage by the PSB’s laborious investigation and enforcement process for a year, during which Sheffield Wind, DPS, and Brouha filed written arguments about whether or not a violation occurred.  Brouha argued that the project is in violation.  Sheffield Wind vigorously argued that new monitoring must take place.  The PSB Hearing Officer agreed.  Brouha filed a Motion to Reconsider six months ago.  The Hearing Officer has not ruled.

The parties agreed to have their noise experts meet to try to agree on a new monitoring plan.  They did not come to agreement.

On Jan. 25, 2017, the Hearing Officer held a daylong technical hearing in Brouha’s noise complaint case.  Each expert’s noise monitoring plan was presented.  Sheffield Wind wants an entirely new protocol.  DPS argues for a protocol that would change the noise standard.  Brouha asks to use the protocol originally approved by the PSB.  The hearing did not finish, so three PSB staff, five attorneys and their experts will return to the PSB for another hearing.

Brouha has spent nearly $350,000 so far attempting to get his noise complaint addressed.  No end is in sight.

Melodie and Scott McLane live 3800 feet from the Georgia Mountain Wind turbines. After they filed more than 30 noise complaints, the PSB opened an investigation in Nov. 2015.  In March 2016 the McLanes filed a complaint about the turbines operating under icing conditions.  The PSB opened another investigation.

Attorneys for GMW (same attorneys representing Sheffield Wind), DPS and the McLanes argued on paper about whether an attenuation test at the McLane home should be conducted, and whether the winter operating protocol required the turbines be curtailed under icing conditions.  GMW vigorously argued against testing at the McLane home.

The McLanes also filed a noise complaint along with the icing complaint, because they experienced the loudest noise for the longest period of time since the turbines began operating in 2013.  In every filing in the icing docket, the McLanes reminded the PSB that they also were filing a noise complaint.

Recently, the PSB issued an Order[1] finding GMW violated its CPG by operating its wind turbines under icing conditions in March 2016, and issued a negligible $2000 fine.  The same day, the PSB fined a solar company[2] $17,000 for failing to comply with a condition involving a fire lane.  No one was harmed by the failure of the solar company.  The McLanes sleep is regularly disrupted by the wind turbine noise.  The PSB declined to address the accompanying noise complaint.

In response to the McLane’s 2015 noise complaint, both the PSB Hearing Officer and DPS recommended testing to determine the attenuation of the noise from inside to outside. The Board denied[3] the testing but gave the McLanes and DPS ten days to file paperwork asking to engage in further discovery and cross-examination of GMW’s expert to decide if outside to inside testing should be done.

The McLanes also filed a Motion for Relief in Nov. 2015.  In denying that motion[4], the PSB said, “Nothing in our Order today prevents the McLanes from seeking any individual relief that may be available to them in a forum that has the requisite authority to review their personal circumstances and to take action as may be warranted.”  In other words, they can file a nuisance lawsuit in court and follow Paul Brouha down the path that leads back to – the PSB.

The legislature says it’s the PSB fault.  The PSB says it’s the legislatures fault.   Vermonters are victimized while the wind industry profits.

Annette Smith is Executive Director of Vermonters for a Clean Environment, Inc.  She is the Burlington Free Press’s 2016 Vermonter of the Year.

  1. 8167-memo-and-scoping-order
  2. 17000civilpenalty
  3. 26360527605365onbase-unity_96132205239795106026150
  4. 26365632768515onbase-unity_9630467781853243962494

Published: January 30, 2017  http://vermontbiz.com/news/january/annette-smith-kafkaesque-world-windmill-neighbors?utm_source=VBM+Mailing+List&utm_campaign=4405d9e165-Enews_2017_01_30&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_85838110bc-4405d9e165-285543701 

People vs Wind Turbines

vive-a-la-resistance-2Ontario Superior Court- Goderich  January 19, 2017

Congratulations to Trish and Shawn Drennan!

You put a compelling and sensible case together and spoke with passion and the strength of truth behind your words today.  One comment was that some felt they were witnessing an important step in this fight.  I heard, from a lawyer, that a lawyer couldn’t have done a better job in arguing the case.  Most felt the judge really got it and it was in no small part because of the time, work, expense and personal sacrifice you’ve both given to this to put the facts on the table. 

You told the court the govt has put up an impossible barrier when we have to prove at an ERT that a turbine installation that isn’t built yet, will seriously harm us and that the judicial review confirmed the ERT’s decision.

You declared that the many witnesses who have come forward to testify that they have been harmed by turbines all over this province have not been given the gravity and respect they deserve for putting their testimony forward.  You told them the govt and the wind company KNOWS it will harm people even as the proposals and permits go ahead.  And I note that if the judge had asked, at least half or more of the people in that room today could have stood up and said, I am the evidence of harm from turbines.”

You told them that the difference between then and now, is now the switch has been turned on, the turbines are running and you too are being harmed.

The judge challenged the wind company and the MOE to tell him what remedy the Drennins have besides more time in court and we all watched them try to answer to no avail, because as was pointed out the only remedy right now is to move away. 

When the judge looked at the wind company lawyer and tried to paraphrase what the lawyer had just said to him with, “ So, the Drennins went to the ERT and judicial review, have complained to MOE, and still have no remedy, so it’s tough luck for them?  The wind company lawyer replied, “Yes.” which drew gasps of disbelief from the full gallery of people who attended.  

When it came time to argue about who should be named as defendants; wind company and /or govt., it was interesting to watch the judge watch both try to throw each other under the bus.

I await to hear the decision and keep fingers crossed that you can move forward. 

Thank you on behalf of a whole lot of us.

Lorrie Gillis

 

Constitutional Challenge Court: January 19, 2017

shawn-tricia

On January 19, 2017  Shaun and Trish Drennan  will continue to pursue the Constitutional Challenge against the Green Energy Act.  Self represented this time- they will be bringing before the Ontario Superior Court a revised statement of claim seeking remedy found in the protections guaranteed in Canada’s constitution.  Most importantly the action’s goal is to actively use the law to grant relief and prevention of harm from wind powered complexes.

WHAT: Constitutional Challenge  WHEN: January 19, 2017  10 am

WHERE: Goderich Court House (Ontario Superior Court-Divisional)

Unite The Fight

In 2014  four families (Dixon, Ryan, Drennan, Koplein) acted as the appellants leading the novel case. Falconers LLP acted on behalf of the families.  The Court’s decision failed to move the contested issues towards the desired resolution. Documents from the hearing can be reviewed at: http://www.falconers.ca/casestudy/wind-turbines-drennan/

dscn4286
Ontario Superior Court

The renewable energy approvals for  K2 Wind, Amrow Wind and St.Columban Wind remain in the  sights and cross hairs of law and legal argument. If the action succeeds it will impact statutory authorities enabling wind power.

Mothers Against Wind Turbines joined forces with other community- based interest groups  that formed the Community Coalition (14 groups in total) which was accepted as interveners in the  original hearing in 2014.   (Lambton County was accepted as an independent intervener)

Please show your support to Shaun and Trish.  Your seats in the seats would be appreciated. dscn4290

Lambton County Accepts Wind Money

cedar-point-wind-1
Wind turbines in Cedar Point project

Lambton County, Ontario

On Dec. 7, Lambton County Coun. Bev MacDougall accepted a donation of $50,000/year for four years, on behalf of the county, for Lambton’s Creative County Fund, from the Cedar Point wind project, which is jointly owned by Suncor and Nextera.

To put the total donation of $200,000 into perspective, Suncor/Nextera will receive approximately $700 million from the Ontario government, through our electricity bills, over the life of the wind project contract.

The media announcement came as a surprise to some county councillors, including Lonny Napper, whose municipality was sued by Suncor over bylaws intended to protect its residents.

The historical actions of the county council give context to this issue. Council passed motions to support a moratorium on turbines and to declare itself an unwilling host to turbines. Most importantly, county council became an opposing party in Nextera’s Jericho Wind Project Environmental Review Tribunal (ERT), and in the Suncor Cedar Point Wind Project ERT.

During the Jericho and Cedar Point ERT hearings, David Cribbs, Lambton County’s counsel, argued that the siting of the massive galvanized transmission pylons close to traveled roadways posed a health and safety risk to motorists. Those appeals were rejected by the tribunal.

The county’s media release contained a photo of MacDougall accepting the donation from Suncor representative Jody Hood, who was a witness for Suncor in the ERT hearing against the county. Would that not be considered hypocritical?

One of the stated aims of the Creative County Committee is to improve the quality of life in Lambton County. At every government-mandated public meeting held by Suncor since the Cedar Point project became operational, nearby residents have spoken out about their diminished quality of life because of nearby wind projects. We have also heard from affected individuals outside of the public meetings, including a family that has moved from their family farm because of the impacts of the turbines.

But the greatest detrimental impact this industrial project has had involves the irreparable damage to relationships between family members, and neighbours, in our community. This donation will cause even more divisiveness between the dedicated groups receiving the funds and those suffering because of the project.

We don’t oppose the county funding worthy causes locally. But we do take issue with the warden and the councillor accepting what had to be known as a controversial donation from the wind developers, on behalf of all county councillors and its citizens without their knowledge and without debate.

Warden Bill Weber states that the donation comes “with very few strings attached”. We disagree.

Lambton County now has the dubious distinction of voting itself as an unwilling host to turbines, while taking money from the wind developers through the back door. Accepting the cash could be viewed as tacit support for wind projects. It has damaged the credibility of the county’s “Not a Willing Host” resolution. It has undermined the work done by the county to protect its residents to date, and it will make it awkward for council to voice opposition to further wind projects already planned for Lambton by Suncor, Nextera and others.

These are more than a few strings with predictable outcomes that would not have been lost on Suncor or Nextera.

Audrey Broer, Bob Broer, Mary-Lynn Cooper, Elizabeth Bellavance, Ingrid Willemsen, Louyse Larochelle, Pam Ernst, Floyd Maidment, Lois McKay, Santo Giorno, Kristen Rodrigues, Doug Smith, Ed Vanderaa, Yvonne Vanderbeld, Bill Yates, Sue Wright, Joe Zanyk

Lambton County residents

Published January 10, 2017:  http://www.theobserver.ca/2017/01/10/countys-acceptance-of-funding-awkward

It’s Official- wind farms are a Damned Nuisance

lady-noiseThe link to the posting on The Law is My Oyster seems to be broken- so we have copied and pasted the posting.

The tort of Nuisance – basic principles

The law of (private) nuisance has been around for a long time but it has always been a poor neighbour to the more commonly litigated torts of negligence and trespass.

In a nutshell, a nuisance is “any continuous activity or state of affairs causing a substantial and unreasonable interference with a [claimant’s] land or his use or enjoyment of that land”(Bamford v Turnley [1860] 3 B&S 62).  Private nuisance is a tort or civil wrong, unlike public nuisance, which is a crime.

Something that farmers leasing their land to wind farms might not know is that a landlord can be liable where the lease is granted for a purpose which constitutes a nuisance, as in Tetley v Chitty [1986] 1 All ER 663.

For there to be a claim in private nuisance, the claimant must show that the defendant’s actions caused damage. This can be physical damage, or discomfort and inconvenience. The test for remoteness of damage in nuisance is reasonable foreseeability. In other words, was it foreseeable that a wind turbine will cause discomfort and inconvenience to nearby dwellings?  The test is an objective one: was the nuisance reasonably foreseeable? If it was, the defendant is expected to avoid it.

It is impossible to specifically define what is or what is not unreasonable but factors that are taken into account include the nature of the locality where the nuisance took place, the time and duration of the interference and the conduct of the defendant.

The plaintiff must show that the defendant’s actions have caused an interference with their use or enjoyment of their land or home/property. These interferences are indirect, and almost always the result of continuing events rather than a one-off incident. The courts have allowed cases where the interference causes emotional distress, like continuous noise / infrasound for example.

The granting of planning permission does not constitute immunity from a claim in nuisance.

The families of Shivnen, Whelan/Walsh, Sexton, Sheehan, Duggan, McSweeney and O’Connor, versus Enercon Wind Farm Services  Ireland Limited and Carraigcannon Wind Farm Limited

It was with considerable interest then that we waited for the outcome of the action in nuisance brought by the seven families from Cork who were impacted by noise pollution from a nearby Enercon wind farm. A number of the families had to abandon their homes because of the severity of the noise and some lived up to a full kilometre from the wind farm.

A judgment against the wind farm would have constituted a powerful precedent to be used against the wind industry given the multitude of examples of Irish families living in misery due to unwelcome turbine neighbours. It was for that reason that the defendant settled the matter (probably at the instance of, and financial assistance from, IWEA). Although settlements are always better for the parties concerned as it avoids the huge emotional and financial cost of litigation, it does mean that we do not have that precedent in Irish law (although there are a number of foreign precedents – see https://the-law-is-my-oyster.com/2014/11/16/are-windfarms-torture-farms/).

Although the defendant wind farm admitted liability (nuisance-order-dec-2016) the wind industry will seek to minimise this by arguing that this was a “one-off” situation for any fallacious reason that they can think of: “the unique terrain; the extraordinary sensitivity of the plaintiffs; etc etc.” Expect a carefully worded press release soon in your nearest rag.

There is still one more opportunity to achieve a damning precedent though. The case is listed for ten days in the High Court commencing 25th April 2017 to deal with damages and costs. If the High Court was to make a massive award of damages (i.e. in the millions of euros) that would send a very strong message to the wind industry that Ireland is simply not suitable to build wind farms, due to the scattered population leaving very little wide open spaces, and in they insist on building them next to people’s homes, they must be prepared to pay a lot of money, which is what the wind industry is all about anyway – money. Don’t believe all the “green” rhetoric – if you hit them hard in the pocket, they will leave, our subsidies notwithstanding.

It is for that reason that there will very likely be a financial settlement. Good news for the family involved – they can avoid the ten days of litigation and get on with their lives. Bad news for the Irish rural population, as again there will be no precedent and it is guaranteed that the settlement will come with a gag order that will prohibit any of the families disclosing the details of the financial settlement. One would almost pray for a wealthy benefactor to compensate the families up front so that the ten days’ litigation could continue (assuming that the notoriously conservative High Court would hand down a decent damages award in the millions). Any friendly millionaires out there willing to step up to the plate?

https://the-law-is-my-oyster.com/2017/01/07/its-official-wind-farms-are-a-damned-nuisance

It’s official – wind farms are a damned Nuisance

The Law is my Oyster

The tort of Nuisance – basic principles

The law of (private) nuisance has been around for a long time but it has always been a poor neighbour to the more commonly litigated torts of negligence and trespass.

In a nutshell, a nuisance is “any continuous activity or state of affairs causing a substantial and unreasonable interference with a [claimant’s] land or his use or enjoyment of that land”(Bamford v Turnley [1860] 3 B&S 62).  Private nuisance is a tort or civil wrong, unlike public nuisance, which is a crime.

Something that farmers leasing their land to wind farms might not know is that a landlord can be liable where the lease is granted for a purpose which constitutes a nuisance, as in Tetley v Chitty [1986] 1 All ER 663.

For there to be a claim in private nuisance, the claimant must show that the defendant’s actions caused damage…

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