Category Archives: Property Rights

What is wrong with our system?

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Mayor Randy Hope poster boy for CANWEA

Letter to Editor|The Chatham Voice| Published February 12, 2018

Sir: Our illustrious mayor spoke on a local radio station recently responding to the opinion poll, in which the number one local concern was wind turbines and water wells concerns. His conclusion, in essence, was that they were not involved except for taking $1,575,000 in taxes from the 450 turbines with an average tax rate of about $3500 each per year.

I wonder how much taxes would be for an industrial plant that would have been built and cost approximately $2 million to build. Did the mayor, council and administration ever think that there might be a cost to this extra income? Did they ever consider using this money to do a thorough investigation of the effect on the aquifer? Did they ever go to see the difficulties experienced by those families living off water tanks, especially in the recent freezing weather?

Apparently, mayor, council and administration for Chatham-Kent are willing to trade rural water wells for that price. The people losing their wells must prove that there is a problem and then the municipality may look at a solution.

The mayor says that they take concerns seriously. That is the exact same B.S. statement made by Premier Wynne when she was in Chatham a couple of months ago and the mayor was looking over her shoulder. No one in government, provincially or municipally, has done anything constructive for years; when the first complaints were lodged in Dover Township in about 2009 and again in 2012.

What is wrong with this story?
If a bank is robbed, does the bank have to find the criminal and prove his guilt? Isn’t that what police do? If you are in a car accident caused by another person, do you have to pursue and prove the guilt of the offender? Isn’t that what police do? For every injustice, there is a third party whose duty it is to find the perpetrator and proof for the case against them. Since these third parties are no longer doing their jobs, are we reverting to the law of the old west?

In the case of the harm done to water wells and the standard of living for those with now contaminated wells, these agencies are not acting in the offended parties’ interests. There are many directions that fingers can point.

The provincial government, with its Green Energy Act, which is being used as an excuse by everyone as a document that overrules every other law in the land. This is not true as the health and safety of the citizens of this province still rule supreme, if our Ministry of Health, and local public health unit would get off their backsides and study health effects of the Kettle Point Black Shale that infiltrated our water wells.

I believe that somewhere in their health education process they were made aware that lead, mercury, arsenic and uranium are not to be used as vitamins. Why have they never run any comprehensive tests to find out what is in the water now and what are the health effects of those contaminants?

The Ministry of Environment and Climate Change is certainly the ministry that is supposed to protect the citizens of this province from anything that environmentally has a negative effect on the enjoyment and use of property, be that by health effects or any other source of irritation. The trouble with the MOECC is that it is the same ministry that issued the permits to build wind farms and are certainly not going to admit that they did not do “due diligence” before issuing these permits. Were there any studies done on possible problems with the style of foundations used in an aquifer sensitive area?

Then we get to our local mayor, council and administration. What have they done other than become shareholders in wind farms? Do they value the rural wells of Chatham-Kent at $1.5 million per year? Are they going to use this money to replace the water supply that has been lost by several known residents in the former Dover and Chatham Townships?

Are there other townships that lost their wells as well, even before the wind companies went to the pile driving method from spread foot of securing foundations? Was our local government blinded by the visions of a cash windfall without any expense?

I still have three questions that I would like to have answered:

~How much money was paid by the wind industry to individuals, political parties and the Ontario government for the privilege of building turbines in Ontario without interference?
~How much money was paid by the wind industry to individuals, and the municipality to become friendly hosts for turbine construction?
~How much money would it take to stop construction and operation of turbines until their negative impact on environment issues, especially water, are properly assessed by an independent party, since our politicians, local and provincial, obviously have not done “due diligence” prior to signing agreements?
Where can these questions be answered? Are elected representatives not supposed to answer to their constituents?

Peter Hensel

Dover Centre

Niagara Wind Being Sued

Construction dust from a wind turbine project in Niagara is behind a $10 million lawsuit

Newstalk 610 CKTB|Bonnie Heslop| January 31, 2018

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Photo Credit: Stephanos K.

Construction dust from a wind turbine project in Niagara is behind a $10 million lawsuit that is making its way through the court system.

St.Ann’s resident Stefanos Karatopis says he was visiting his sister back in 2015 when cement dust from a nearby Wind Farm project blew into the home sending 5 people to hospital.

Karatopis, who is also a member of the Niagara Land Owners Association says the dust was so bad it was hard to return home.

Lawyer Akradi Bouchelev represents Karatopis and says the dust contains very harmful chemicals that can impact a person’s health.

The $10 million dollar personal injury and damage claim has been filed against the Wind Farm, construction companies involved, the Niagara Region, and West Lincoln.

Bouchele says some have filed a statement of defence and some have asked for a delay.

He says the next stage is the examination of discovery.

Construction dust sends family fleeing to ER (Niagara This Week, July 31, 2015)

Scandal! EirGrid in the Crosshairs

~What happens when decisions concerning build out of electricity generation infrastructure has already been decided and public consultation done just for show?

~What happens when new extensions of the grid appear linked to facilitate the rapid and contested build of industrial wind turbines while ignoring cumulative environmental impacts

Members of the RTS Substation Action Group in Ireland  are taking action to protect their communities and have exposed the involvement of  EirGrid.  A huge substation is planned capable of accepting multiple wind facilities to the Irish electrical grid.   A substation that if built could impact clean drinking water for well over 8 000.   

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Ratheniska residents are claiming that they have exposed Eirgrid’s litany of failures and systematic corporate sharp practice. 

The Ratheniska, Timahoe, Spink (RTS) Action Group, when briefing Minister Denis Naughten, made a number of extremely serious allegations, which they backed up with a dossier of painstakingly accumulated evidence: 20170118 – Presentation to Ministers-For Issue

Aside from the long standing issues of site unsuitability, water source destruction and planning process corruption, the RTS Action Group claimed to have unearthed very serious transgressions by Eirgrid’s board of the code of practice for semi state bodies.

The evidence indicated that EirGrid had created “a short cut on the board“.  RTS Action Group explained that four members on the EirGrid Board had formed a “sub-board” and were “filtering information going to the board where they are now rubber stamping projects and funding on the basis of recommendation by this four member sub – board.”

If these allegations prove to be true, and the RTS Action Group are adamant that they are, then this constitutes an extremely serious breach of the code of practice, which should lead to a mass resignation of the EirGrid Board of Directors.

In a statement released after the meeting with the Minister, the RTS Group said:

“The RTS Group believe that Minister Naughten, who was accompanied to meet the delegation by his Cabinet colleague and local TD, Charlie Flanagan, had his eyes opened and was astonished by the import, nature, scope, scale and seriousness of the information being placed before him, for the first time.

This meeting arose from a promise made last June in the Dáil by Minister Naughten to visit the site of Eirgrid’s “unauthorised development” and the community who alerted the authorities to Eirgrid’s illegal building activities.

Our greatest concern is that the construction of Eirgrid’s unnecessary energy hub project will destroy and pollute the very necessary and only source of clean water for not just this community but for 8,000 Laois people. All of the evidence of how Eirgrid have conducted themselves up to now points to this eventuality, and we just can’t allow that to happen.
The political fallout from this semi-state operating with such a cavalier attitude to planning law, sustainable development, professional best practice, and corporate responsibility was that all three local TD’s and all Laois County Councillors were unanimous in calling for Eirgrid to cease the development.

We set out some of the evidence for the Ministers as to how Eirgrid have been deliberately deceiving us, the planning authorities, the other arms of state, and even the Dáil from the very outset of this ill-conceived project. This is not due to a few mistakes, or a few individuals making errors, but systematic deception through every phase of this development from its inception to illegal commencement. This evidence has been collected through in depth research and forensic examination. The community could not rely on what Eirgrid were telling us in the public domain throughout their sham consultation process. This damning dossier has been given to Minister Naughten, who as line Minister is ultimately responsible for Eirgrid, their conduct and corporate transparency and accountability.

The buck stops with him. He is now in full knowledge of the scale and scope of Eirgrid’s deception and disgraceful behaviour, we expect the Minister to reel Eirgrid in, to finally make them accountable for their actions on site and in their boardroom. He must move to scrap the project. On foot of today’s new revelations it is incumbent on the Minster to act, act promptly and decisively”.

The last word goes to the current Minister of Justice, who made the following statement after being briefed by the RTS Group:

“There has been a clear breach of law. The breach is sufficiently serious to abandon the project. I don’t believe there is any way back for EirGrid. They should pack up their machinery and should not come back.”

Source: The Law is My Oyster

White Pines ERT & The People vs IESO & WPD

A call to action!

Your presence is requested in the seats at the upcoming Environmental Review Tribunal hearing against White Pines Wind and circumstances surrounding the IESO contract for the renewable energy approval.

Upcoming Court and ERT dates/times/locations:

APPEC legal action against the Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) and WPD White Pines Wind Inc. will be heard on January 29, 2018 at the Belleville Court House starting at 2:00 pm.

Additionally, the hearing dates for the APPEC appeal to the Environmental Review Tribunal (ERT) have been confirmed as follows:

Pre-hearing Conference
January 24, 2018 at 10:30 a.m. at the Sophiasburgh Town Hall, 2771 County Road 5, Demorestville.

The purpose of the Pre-hearing Conference is for interested persons who would like speak at the hearing to apply for status either as a Party, a Participant or a Presenter. Please click here if you are interested in finding out more about seeking status at the hearing and click here to view the ERT Notice of Pre-Hearing Conference.

ERT Main Hearing
February 12, 2018 at 10:30 a.m. at the Sophiasburgh Town Hall.

The most effective way of showing the Superior Court and the Tribunal of the level of community concern with the White Pines wind project is with your presence.

Source: Alliance to Protect Prince Edward County

*To confirm dates and venue locations for any changes please contact the Environmental Review Tribunal *

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New Year & No Relief for families impacted by North Kent Wind

The Chatham Voice|January 10, 2018

Water tanks freeze up

The new year isn’t bringing any hope for a better situation for 12 families issued water tanks in the North Kent 1 Wind Farm project (NKW1) area north of Chatham.

The recent unseasonably cold weather resulted in water in the tanks and lines being frozen solid, according to Water Wells First (WWF) spokesperson Kevin Jakubec.

At a press conference last week at the home of Jessica and Paul Brooks on Brook Line, the family shared their continued frustration with the lack of action by the wind farm company and the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change to fix their well, which was contaminated with black sediment back in the summer.

“This morning (Jan. 5) the Brooks family at 9597 Brook Line woke once again without water,” Jakubec said. “It was July 29 when they filed their complaint with the MOECC and the report showed their well had 30 times the turbidity of their baseline testing results before NKW1 started pile driving. They met the burden of proof of contamination.”

“Earlier in the week, the water was frozen solid inside the water tank supplied by Samsung & Pattern. The water tank was part of a requirement on the developers in the North Kent Wind REA Permit issued by the MOECC requiring that water tanks be installed when any impacts occurred to a water well.”

Jakubec said his group, Water Wells First, advocated for months and incurred substantial legal costs to see that measure was put in place to protect families in case their wells experienced the same sediment and flow reduction that happened in the former Dover township.

While the bitter cold hasn’t helped, Jakubec asked why Samsung and Pattern Energy aren’t providing a practical water source for the affected families in this extreme cold, and why are 12 families still on water tanks six months later?

Also, a big question Jakubec said is what has the MOECC been doing to find practical solutions to the loss of so many wells in such a short amount of time in Chatham township and where are the reports they have been promising for months that look at conflicting results from well testing AECOM has done on the affected wells and MOECC testing on the same well?

Spokespersons for the MOECC have said previously they are still working on the report but give no firm timeline and when it will be released.

The lack of action by the province to find out how and why the groundwater is contaminated is also a source of frustration for WWF members.

“This is highly unusual. Brownfields and industrial sites that have contaminated the groundwater beneath them have to go through extensive clean up measures or face severe court fines by the MOECC,” Jakubec noted. “Why does the MOECC not impose those requirements on Samsung and Pattern, the developers of the North Kent Wind farm?”….

Read rest of article

Unexpected impact from wind turbine projects

Wingham Advance Times|January 5th, 2018|Letter to Editor

Dear Editor,

Issues with wind turbine projects continue to impact municipalities and residents in unexpected ways. In the early summer I attended a drainage meeting in Ashfield-Colborne-Wawanosh council chambers. This meeting concerned a drain extension for the Glenn municipal drain. The drain crosses road allowances that have underground electrical lines for the K2 Wind project. At this meeting the drainage engineer stated that a larger culvert would be required because the presence of these underground lines meant that work could not be done as deeply.

As a landowner affected by the proposed work, I asked the engineer how many crossings were involved and how much more this larger sized culvert would cost. No answer was provided. I then questioned why anyone else other than K2 Wind should be paying for this extra cost. Again, no answer was received.

At a second meeting on this project in December 2017, the engineer reviewed the final plans and stated that for the crossing of power lines on Tower Line, a larger culvert would be installed due to the depth problem. In the question period, I again asked how much extra cost this would add to the project. The engineer explained that the crossing was on road allowance so the township would be picking up the cost, not the individual landowners. But who does he think the landowners are, if not taxpayers who will all have to pick up the extra cost? So, yes, I am paying for this extra cost and so is every landowner in the township.

Our council brags about how they got community benefit money from the K2 Wind project. Yet, when they accept extra cost on projects like this, the township is essentially subsidizing the wind company from the general coffers. This undermines the benefit of any money received. Once again, the taxpayer gets shafted.

When a municipal council allows extra costs for such things as drainage works to be loaded onto the ratepayers, you have to wonder who they are really working for. So ratepayers in municipalities with wind turbines need to be on the alert for the hidden costs with these projects. Taxpayers already subsidize the wind turbines through inflated hydro rates. They shouldn’t be shafted twice with more hidden subsidies.

To date, my questions about additional costs and who is footing the bill for the extra work on this drainage project remain unanswered.

George Alton Kenruth Farms

Concerned Resident of Ashfield-Colborne-Wawanosh

Samsung “K2 Lake”: Water& drainage impacts during construction of K2 Wind Project in 2014

 

In your own words

wind turbine shadowGatehouse Media found more than 450 families who have publicly complained about the impacts of living near wind farms. Have a similar experience? Tell your story.

Tell Gatehouse Media about your experience living near an industrial wind farm. 
All submissions will be considered for publication.

Questions? Contact them.
Published stories can be viewed at:
http://gatehousenews.com/windfarms/in-your-own-words/

Big Wind- An Out of Date Solution

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Rutland Herald| Letter to Editor|December 28th, 2017

A recent Rutland Herald editorial, entitled “Powering up,” concluded that we need to move with urgency toward the renewable power of the future. While that is correct, the editorial goes on to complain that “old ways” of thinking dominate the discussion in Vermont. At issue: the editorial then proceeds to propose “old ways” to move us forward.

When it comes to energy development in Vermont, the industrial wind industry leads the “old way” pack. Wind operators and developers have been living off federal subsidies since the early 1990s and have been wreaking havoc in Vermont for just as long. It’s time to boot them out of the state and employ creative Vermontsized energy solutions.

The editorial employs the “old way” strawman tactic when citing the arguments of industrial wind opponents. Legitimate concerns of Vermonters are minimized when the only argument acknowledged against ridgeline destruction is to mock “the exquisite timidity of those who grieve over birds killed by wind turbines.” It’s a cheap shot that does nothing to advance the conversation.

We should instead be talking about the entire range of problems industrial wind development brings to Vermont: mountaintop dynamiting, destruction of intact eco-systems, stormwater runoff, habitat destruction, habitat fragmentation, noise and health impacts to neighbors and wildlife, safety risks, community division, aesthetic degradation, tourism, property devaluation, and, yes, impacts on birds, bats, and even bears.

We should also talk about what does and doesn’t work. As environmentalist Suzanna Jones recently told us, “Despite the platitudes of its corporate and government backers, industrial wind has not reduced Vermont’s carbon emissions. Its intermittent nature makes it dependent on gas-fired power plants that inefficiently ramp up and down with the vicissitudes of the wind. Worse, it has been exposed as a renewable energy credit shell game that disguises and enables the burning of fossil fuels elsewhere.”

The editorial expresses concern about mass extinction facing numerous species around the globe. Bravo! Then let’s protect the ecosystems that will enable those species to migrate, adapt and survive and abandon the “old way” of thinking that allows our ridgelines and forest habitat to be destroyed by energy developers and their energy sprawl. As wildlife biologist Sue Morse tells us: “New England’s ridgelines will play an increasing and integral role as global climate change forces countless species of plant and animals to seek new habitats in which to adapt and survive.”

The editorial call for an improved large-scale infrastructure capable of transmitting intermittent power from remote, industrial-scale wind plants is another “old way” solution; rural areas are sacrificed to enable our unsustainable wastefulness. Treasured areas like the former Champion Lands, once valued for their ecological significance, become collateral damage. Large-scale transmission from rural to urban areas is a misguided “old way” use of our resources.

There is both wind and sun in our urban areas (Lake Champlain Wind Park, www.champlainwindpark.com) anyone?). We should be supporting renewable development in already-developed areas while protecting undeveloped areas.

We should also be emphasizing community scale generation facilities sited in the communities that they serve. This would reduce energy loss over lengthy transmission lines, improve system reliability, and preserve our vital wildlife habitat. This is the Vermont-scale approach that is in tune with Vermont values.

Some view turbines on distant ridgelines as a visible sign of our commitment to climate action. They’re wrong. A closer look shows that those turbines are exacerbating the very climate impacts that we wish to avoid. Industrial wind plants are putting money in the pockets of investors, developers and a few landowners, but they’re not addressing the very real and pressing problem of climate change.

The industrial wind lobby is fond of saying say we need to make sacrifices. We do. But where those sacrifices come from, whether or not they’re effective and, most certainly, who profits and who loses from them should shape our solutions. We need to change the way we live, we need to stop being so wasteful, and we need to support solutions that actually work. We need to invest in unsexy work of weatherization, efficiency and demand reduction. We should support renewable development in already-developed areas and prevent new development in resource rich areas. We should be focusing on the least destructive renewable technologies and develop microgrids around community scale generation.

Yes, we need to sacrifice, but that doesn’t mean sacrificing our natural resources. It means changing the way we live and protecting the earth. All of it.

Noreen Hession is a retired engineer, community organizer and environmental activist who lives in the Northeast Kingdom.