Category Archives: Property Rights

Samsung Files Legal Action Against Protesters

Has Samsung SLAPP’ ed  back at protesters of its North Kent Wind project?

“Strategic litigation against public participation (SLAPP) has been defined as a lawsuit started against one or more people or groups who speak out or take a position on an issue of public interest. The purpose of a SLAPP is to silence critics by redirecting their energy and finances into defending a lawsuit and away from their original public criticism. Concerns have been raised that SLAPPs also act as a warning to other potential critics. The effect of SLAPP suits is to discourage public debate.”

Read more about SLAPP lawsuits

Council of Canadians slams heavy-handed Samsung Energy legal tactics

Media Release
October 11, 2017

Chatham, ON – The Council of Canadians is condemning Samsung Energy for filing a million dollar plus statement of claim against Chatham area residents who blocked construction at one of 34 wind turbines the company is erecting as part of its North Kent One* wind power project.

Many of the people who took part in the 11 day blockade have filed well interference complaints against the developer, citing the vibrations from the company’s pile driving activity as the cause of the sudden influx of black silt in their wells. At least thirteen well interference complaints have been made since the company started pile driving for the turbine foundations last June.

According to the developer’s Statement of Claim, the impact of the construction delay caused by the blockade “amounts to costs ranging from $50,000 to $100,000 per day, covering only the current amount of labour and equipment idle.”

The Statement of Claim names Water Wells First spokesperson Kevin Jakubec and Cindy Soney as defendants. It also includes “other individuals who have been involved in the unlawful conduct….who have not yet been identified and have been named as John Doe and Jane Doe.”

The well water on the Jakubec family’s farm became polluted with black silt shortly after pile driving began nearby.

“Our well water was crystal clear for decades before the pile driving started,” said Jakubec. “Now, Samsung is claiming that we damaged them to the tune of millions of dollars. I wonder how they sleep at night because I sure can’t.”

In 2016, Kevin Jakubec challenged the government’s approval of the North Kent One project at the Environmental Review Tribunal where expert witnesses warned specifically that vibrations from pile driving could cause the pollution problems seen in the last few months.

“Million dollar lawsuits are usually meant to intimidate,” said Mark Calzavara, Ontario Organizer for The Council of Canadians. “But people don’t back down when it comes to protecting their water. The evidence clearly shows that the construction is causing the pollution. Samsung must stop this project now.”

* North Kent One Wind is owned and developed by Samsung Energy and Pattern Energy.

For more information or to arrange interviews:

Dylan Penner, Media Officer, Council of Canadians, 613-795-8685, dpenner@canadians.org. Twitter: @CouncilOfCDNs

Water is Life

Developers of North Kent Wind were granted an injunction to stop unlawful protests. Impacted residents meanwhile wait for Ministry of Environment and Climate Change (MOECC) responsible for issuing the approval of the project to take meaningful action over rising number of reports of disturbed and dirty water wells (current count: 13 wells impacted since construction for the wind turbines began).

Water Wells First Told To Play Nice

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North Kent Wind located in Chatham Kent- Ontario was granted an injunction against unlawful protests at its construction sites

BY PAUL PEDROOCTOBER 2, 2017 5:23PM@PaulPedroNews
Water Wells First cannot continue unlawful protests at North Kent Wind sites.

Justice Kirk Monroe made the decision at an injunction hearing on Monday afternoon, saying trespassers and law breakers will be arrested.

He agreed with North Kent Wind that an injunction to stop blockades and the occupation of the turbine sites is the only remedy to continue the work.

Water Wells First spokesperson Kevin Jakubec says lawful protests will continue around North Kent Wind sites and Ministry of Environment offices, adding that the injunction ruling doesn’t weaken their resolve.

“To say that Samsung has been done irreparable harm, I understand where they come from, but then turn around and say these families have had no harm done to them. I think that’s scandalous and an injustice,” says Jakubec.

North Kent Wind isn’t seeking any damages for, what they call, “irreparable harm.”

Water Wells First claims that wind turbine pile driving is causing well water to go murky with sediments, clogging filters and stopping the flow of water into homes….

READ REST OF ARTICLE

Call for Action over claims of water well contamination

Multi-Municipal Wind Turbine Working Group

MEDIA RELEASE
14-September-2017

“Rural residents near Chatham Ontario have accused Samsung Renewable Energy, (a division of the Korean trans-national) of contaminating their drinking water wells.
The contamination is believed to have resulted from continuing pile driving for a 36 turbine development in North Kent on Bush Line near Highway 40. The Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change (MOECC) approved the North Kent Wind project even though it is situated on an important aquifer. Residents say the MOECC has ignored their concerns and refused to test their wells for heavy metals or even tell them whether their water is safe to drink……”

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Court Order Bans Defenders of Clean Water

 A Blessing in disguise. Time to take the evidence to Court.

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Defenders of clean water chained themselves at the North Kent Wind Project construction site.  Blockades continued as reports of dirty water (*11 wells & counting*) continued to rise. All adverse effects said to occur after construction began for the project located in Chatham Kent, Ontario.

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….

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Don’t Buy Near a Wind Project

Recent posting spotted on an online sell & buy website:

Don’t buy anything in a wind farm (Everywhere)

Lots of problems with wind turbines in these wind farms. The noise causes sleep interruptions and sleep deprivation. The noise and shadow flicker “strobe” effect is not tolerable. The noise is thumping like heavy bass inside your house. It does not seem like a big deal outside, but INSIDE the house is terrible. Don’t make the mistake of purchasing a home near any wind turbines.
house and turbine 1

Immediate Action promised over dirty well water after turbine construction

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Members of Water Wells First, a water advocacy group in Chatham-Kent, blockaded several wind turbine construction sites on August 18 to protest government inaction on pile driving they believe is pushing sediment into their drinking water. (Yvonne Profota)

Chatham-Kent officials say ministry promises ‘immediate action’ on water well issues

‘They took our concerns very seriously and committed to working to deal with the issues’

CBC News Posted: Aug 25, 2017 11:31 AM ET Last Updated: Aug 25, 2017 12:11 PM ET

Staff from Ontario’s Ministry of Environment and Climate Change will be meeting with well owners in Chatham-Kent after the municipal government demanded construction of wind turbines be stopped until water quality concerns could be answered.

Officials in Chatham-Kent sat down with ministry representatives after reports five water wells near the North Kent Wind project had become clogged with sediment residents claim are caused by pile driving. The government maintains it requires pile driving companies to complete vibration testing and water quality monitoring while work is going on.

Members of Chatham-Kent’s council said the ministry will take “immediate action” after the Thursday meeting….

READ ARTICLE

Oops it has happened again!

Wainfleet has a turbine missing its blade or what the wind industry likes to call “a rare event” or in fanciful terms, a component liberation.

Turbine 5 haunts the horizon in the  Wainfleet Wind Energy project.  The installation  is comprised of 5 Vestas V100-1.8 MW which have a hub height of 95m and a rotor diameter of 100m.   This smaller project began commercial operation in 2014 and  is one of many wind projects for the rural area of southern Ontario. Only three years old and a broken blade already needing to be removed.   Nothing new to see here, just a whole lot of useless mess to get rid of.

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Wainfleet Wind Energy turbine 5 missing a blade, 3 years after being erected. Ontario, August 2017

Protesters Block Turbine Sites

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Honk: if you agree Clean, Safe Water matters!

Protesters blocked the entrances to three wind turbine construction sites near Chatham Thursday morning.  Five families are now reporting dirty water in their wells after pile driving for the construction of industrial wind turbines began.

Source: Fight to save water wells

“At the press conference were the people whose wells have been affected in the North Kent Wind 1 project area – Theresa Pumphrey, Paul and Jessica Brooks, Valerie and Wayne Brooksbank, and a representative for Mark Moir (Countryview Line).

Visibly upset, the property owners talked about the impact on their families’ health and fear about the black shale that is visible in the water that is known to carry arsenic, mercury and other harmful chemicals in it.”

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Source: Protesters block turbine construction

Public need all the facts on well water

Aug 14 • Letters to the Editor •
Sir: Mayor Hope, you and Chatham-Kent council are playing a game. A very dangerous game that is affecting the life style as well as the very livelihood of some of your constituents.

Mayor Hope, you and most of your councillors do not know what is going on within Chatham-Kent, especially in regard to the wind farm sites in the former Dover and Chatham townships. This is proven by the fact that most of you have never visited any of the reported problem sites to see firsthand what the affected families are experiencing. You are making decisions based on what you hear from the wind companies, their associates and the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change – all of whom have biased opinions based on profits or their lack of willingness to admit that they made errors.

In addition, you as mayor and council, who have invested $8 million of the Chatham-Kent taxpayers’ reserve fund, are in conflict of interest with regards to any decision made on wind farms or any conflicts arising form them.

You, Mayor Hope, indicated that, “the group (WWF) had a chance to meet with the MOECC ‘and they turned it into a circus.’” You were not there!

Do you recall that the MOECC, having been given a list of questions over one month before the meeting and not answering one of them being a circus? Do you consider the MOECC not giving WWF a promised copy of the minutes of the meeting that they promised part of the circus? Would those minutes have exposed their incompetence?

You indicate that you do not release all of your correspondence to the public. Perhaps you should. How many things are you hiding? Did you ever think that in the letter, received by Freedom of Information, that Mr. Murray’s reply might have been important information? In Mr. Murray’s reply letter it states, “The measurement of turbidity is a key test of water quality because it captures the potential impact that a vibration from a wind turbine could have on a water well. The ministry is aware that some residents are concerned that wind turbine vibration may shake sediment loose in a water well. These particles could have a chemical make-up of heavy metals that are naturally occurring in the area; however any existing heavy metals in the rock particles do not dissolve with vibration. Should a wind turbine vibration cause elevated turbidity in a water well, the wind farm company would be required to implement a contingency plan that is to include, as a minimum, remedial measures to be undertaken by the company, at the company’s expense, to resolve any impacts to wells or well water resulting from the construction, operation, or decommissioning of the facility.”

Mayor Hope, don’t you want your constituents to know that there can be heavy metals in their well water?

All of the affected wells in Dover were once clear water producers and now carry particles that the MOECC refuses to analyze for chemical content. Particles of 30 to 40 microns in size or larger can be seen by the human eye. Particle smaller than that cannot be seen.

In tests done to date by well owners in Dover Township, it indicates that almost half of the particles carried in the water are less than one micron in size. These particles can penetrate skin and walls of body organs. Approximately another 25 per cent of the particles are less than two microns in size.

These particles may carry the heavy metals, to which former Minister Murray refers, such as uranium, arsenic and lead. This is why, Mayor Hope, you should have released Minister Murray’s letter to the public, so the public could have been made aware.

According to the MOECC turbidity measurement, on which the MOECC hangs its hat, this water should be safe to consume. Why do they not take a total analysis and find out what is dissolved in the water and what are the particles carried by the water and if it is safe to drink.

I strongly suggest that the mayor and all of council visit one of the affected sites. If you find it too humbling to visit with one of your constituents, then go without using any of your water for drinking or cooking and think about what effect contaminated water could have on you when you bathe or wash your clothes. Perhaps all other people who are not sure of the effect of not having potable water should also try this for a period of time.

Water wells have gone for decades producing clean, clear water. Common sense would indicate that after the wind farms drove piles in Dover Township and ruined wells there, we would stop building wind farms. We now have piles being driven in Chatham Township and wells are now being ruined there as well. Obviously, there is a direct correlation between pile driving and a negative effect on water wells.

When will those with some authority ever wake up?

Is the solution bigger turbines in the Otter Creek Wind Farm? What would you expect to happen there?

Water security, Mayor Hope, is not a circus or a game. At the Windsor meeting with the MOECC, which you did not attend, it was the citizens of Chatham-Kent that were trying to protect the water security of the municipality, not you.

Mayor Hope, in the future when you receive information about public health, share the information with the public.

Peter J Hensel

Dover Centre

Published: The Chatham Voice.com

randy hope

The Definition Of ‘Nuisance’

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.”

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The Falmouth Enterprise  August 11, 2017

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.”barry funfar

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