Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘coal pollution Ontario’

In advance of our public information meeting, Sunday January 23rd at the community centre in North Gower, co-hosted with the South Branch Wind Opposition Group and the Beckwith Responsible Wind Action Group, we offer the following review of wind power in Ontario. Speakers are Ian Hanna who has launched a lawsuit against the Ontario government, Wind Concerns Ontario president John Laforet about the effect of the Green Energy Act on democracy in Ontario, and Wolfe Island resident Janet White on life in the middle of an industrial wind “plant.”

The truth must be told about industrial wind power development

Last fall, a strategic communications document prepared by a government relations and communications consulting firm was leaked to the Ontario Progressive Conservative Party.  It outlined a  campaign for a coalition of renewable energy developers to fight  opposition to renewable power projects. The writers noted that Ontario residents are expressing “fury” as a result of escalating electricity prices and concern about the cost of renewable energy projects. “It will be critical to ‘confuse’ the issue,” the strategy stated, and referred to “noisy activists” and “editorial positions” to be countered with a coordinated media campaign.

Why are the lobbyists for corporate wind developers worried? Because people in Ontario are mad as hell and not going to take this anymore. As more and more Ontario communities are facing industrial wind turbine projects (often romantically called wind “farms” or wind “parks”) there is rising public opposition to these sprawling industrial installations. To date, more than 50 Ontario municipalities have passed a resolution or bylaw seeking to restore the local planning powers that were removed by the Green Energy Act – the Act that notoriously superceded 21 pieces of legislation such as the Heritage Act and the Greenbelt Act in order to pave the way for renewable projects.

Also last fall, more than 1,000 residents gathered in Fergus, Ontario to protest a planned wind development, and last spring hundreds gathered on the lawn at Queen’s Park. In fact there have been about two such protest meetings occurring every week in Ontario, in towns such as Meaford, Orangeville, in Prince Edward County and the Niagara area. In Ottawa, hundreds of North Gower and Richmond residents signed a petition asking for a halt to wind developments, and for independent health studies.

People have reason to be concerned. As physicians and scientists addressing the recent First International Symposium on the Global Wind Industry and Health Effects noted, there are health effects being experienced around the world by people who are forced to live near the turbines, due to noise and infrasound.  Results from a case-control study of residents in two Maine communities will soon be published, which show a significant relationship between proximity to turbines and impacts on health, using validated health measurements. Ontario’s setback of 550 metres is increasingly at odds with the rest of the world, and was branded by Dr. Alex Salt, a researcher in ear physiology, as “insane.”

We’re being told that closing coal-fired power plants is because coal is dirty and Ontario’s air pollution is “killing people.” The truth? Ontario’s air pollution has been declining steadily for decades. Moreover, more than 90 per cent of air pollution in Ontario comes from the United States and from cars and trucks in southern Ontario. Closing Ontario’s two coal plants will make little difference to air quality.

There is more truth to be told. Wind power is expensive and unreliable, producing power mainly at night when it isn’t needed. And wind isn’t “green”—the construction of these 50-storey monster turbines has significant environmental impact for very little return. The European experience with wind power is also not as advertised: both Germany and Spain now report a net loss of jobs and a negative effect on the economy as a result of their experience with subsidized wind development. The chief benefit is not to the community, but to the bottom line of the corporate wind developers.

Ontario already has renewable power in the form of hydro and the technology exists to improve the effectiveness of existing power generation. As of today, without considering the current IWT plants that are sometimes operating in Ontario, we are one of the cleanest power generating jurisdictions in the world. We don’t need to jeopardize the health of thousands of rural residents and scar Ontario’s beautiful countryside with turbines. It’s time for the truth about wind power.

Meeting: 2 p.m January 23rd, Alfred Taylor Centre, 2300 Community Way, North Gower

northgowerwindactiongroup@yahoo.ca

Read Full Post »