Posts Tagged ‘John LaForet’

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bylaw seeking to restore the local planning powers that were removed by the Green Energy Act – the Act that notoriously superceded 21 pieces of legislation such as the Heritage Act and the Greenbelt Act in order to pave the way for renewable projects.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


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Here from the Orangeville Citizen is a story in advance of a protest scheduled for Orangeville, Ontario, Saturday November 27. People in Orangeville are quite aware of industrial wind turbines and their effects, as they are surrounded by them in Shelburne, Amaranth and Melancthon, with hundreds more planned.

Note that CanWEA is now taking a different approach: instead of disparaging protesters, they seem to be saying, This shouldn’t happen! This is GOOD for you!

Here is the story by Wes Keller.

Protest march Saturday

2010-11-25 / Front Page
Experts divided on wind turbines’ effects
By WES KELLER Freelance Reporter

Whatever the reasons, the gloves are off in the fight for and against industrial-scale wind turbines, but the Canadian Wind Energy Association (CanWEA) is urging its membership to work closely with communities to gain back a broad base of public support and the Ontario Government is forging ahead in its support of the turbines as a key element in a greener energy future.

The provincial commitment is evidenced by a Long Term Energy Plan announced Tuesday. Although nuclear energy would provide 50% of electricity under the new plan, wind, solar and biomass sources would provide 18%, with most of it from wind.

Perhaps nowhere is the fight more visible than here in Dufferin County, where a group calling itself Whittington Coalition for our Right to a Healthy Environment (WCORHE) has organized a second protest parade from Orangeville’s Rotary Park along Second Avenue and Broadway to MPP Sylvia Jones’s office at 10 a.m. this Saturday.

Oddly, perhaps, what is turning into a major issue locally is born out of a relatively minor installation, at least in respect of scale. But it has raised a number of considerations, not the least of which might be the adequacy of setbacks as defined under the Green Energy Act (GEA).

Betsy Collin, whose million dollar residence on the Mono-Amaranth Townline would fall under the shadow of the three 2.3-megawatt turbines in Amaranth, questions the GEA’s standard minimum setback of 550-metres without reference to the size of the turbine.

It isn’t the first time the role of the GEA has come under scrutiny in Dufferin. Not long ago, Melancthon council learned of a farmer’s co-operative by way of a news release from the proponent.

It is the sort of thing that CanWEA president Robert Hornung says shouldn’t happen. The GEA, he said, “does clearly contain requirements and provisions,” he said, but those are the minimum standards of engaging in consultation.

To overcome that problem, CanWEA has been drafting a document, Best Practises for Community Engagement and Consultation, a principle of which would be to “consult early and often.”

Consultation, however, is not going to overcome perceptions of adverse health effects from industrial wind farms, the other thrust of WCORHE’s opposition to the Whittington project’s setbacks, and Wind Concerns Ontario’s (WCO) opposition generally.

CanWEA, along with its U.S. counterpart, a year ago had established a seven-member panel, including experts in the fields of medicine, audiology, acoustics, environmental and public health from Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom and Denmark.

That panel, in a report co-authored by Dr. Robert McCunney, based on a review of a large body of scientific literature on sound and health effects, and specifically with regard to sound produced by wind turbines, concluded that sounds or vibrations emitted from wind turbines have no adverse effect on human health.

“The panel’s multi-disciplinary approach helped to fully explore the many published scientific reports related to the potential impact of wind turbines on people’s health,” said Dr. McCunney, an occupational/ environmental medicine physician and research scientist at Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

“There is no evidence that the sounds, nor the sub-audible vibrations, emitted by wind turbines have any direct adverse physiological effects on humans.”

More recently, a WCOsponsored panel conducted what it called The First International Symposium on the Global Wind Industry and Adverse Health Effects in Picton, Ontario.

“It brought together American, British and Canadian acousticians, physicists, physicians, and medical researchers. The audience came from across Ontario and the United States and from as far as Australia,” says WCO.

Briefly stated, that panel disagreed with almost all the findings of the one assembled by CanWEA.

Now, if WCO can’t win on the battlefield of health it will fight on the financial and political fronts. In a harshly worded letter to Premier Dalton McGuinty, WCO president John Laforet says: “Over 70 municipalities across Ontario, representing more than two million people that have moved motions of moratorium in support of Wind Concerns Ontario’s position are being ignored.

“The government is already being sued over the Green Energy Act, and now you’re setting yourself up to be defeated at the polls because of it.

“We are developing a list of vulnerable rural ridings held by your party for our members to target in 2011 if your government continues to ignore these 70 municipalities and Wind Concerns Ontario members concerns.” Mr. Laforet said.

WCO and its allies, meantime, are circulating a study by one professional engineer, William Palmer, which says Ontario householders cold be faced with increases in electricity costs of about $4,000 annually.

Under Tuesday’s LTEP, home energy costs are expected to rise by 3.5% annually over the next 20 years – effectively doubling them – and industrial costs would rise by 2.7% yearly in the same period.

The Palmer study says the cost to the Ontario economy “will be at least $14 billion per year and will have a significant adverse impact on the Ontario economy and cause widespread hardship.”

But CanWEA views it differently. “Wind energy’s growing contribution to Ontario’s electricity supply is already creating jobs and economic opportunities for manufacturers, service providers, landowners and rural municipalities in Ontario,” said Mr. Hornung.

“Surveys have indicated that there are currently more than 1,300 people employed full-time directly in wind energy in Ontario, thanks to the Green Energy Act – and studies have indicated that for every new direct job there are two indirect jobs created. We have only begun to scratch the surface in terms of potential for new jobs and investment.”

CanWEA says every 1,000 MW of newly installed wind generation capacity represents approximately $2.75 billion in private sector investment, 1,000 new jobs, and enough electricity to power 300,000 Canadian homes. It claims it also provides a minimum of $3 million in annual lease payments for farmers and other rural landowners, as well as a similar amount in new taxes for rural municipalities.

However, opponents note that municipalities could actually lose tax revenue because of the combination of a $40,000 cap per megawatt on the turbines’ assessments and lowered assessments on nearby farm and residential properties.


To contact the North Gower Wind Action Group, email northgowerwindactiongroup@yahoo.ca

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A statement by Wind Concerns Ontario president, John LaForet:

Sussex Strategy – a Liberal connected PR firm – was quite candid in a leaked document calling for moneyed interests to try to change the channel on the current wind energy debate in Ontario. These guys – a professional public relations firm advised their unnamed clients – basically an orgy of government subsidized energy interests – to ‘confuse’ the issue. That means lie to voters. They made it clear the existing work being done by groups opposed to the government’s plan are creating a real problem on the ground and one Dalton McGuinty can’t win. In fact according to Sussex Strategy – McGuinty has done such a bad job on the energy file he could lose as badly as Ernie Eves did in 2003.

It calls for $300,000 to be spent immediately as seed money trying to fight back for the Liberals, by the same moneyed interests that they’ve rewarded since taking power. It calls for lying to Ontarians about wind energy on a number of fronts, dividing communities and and colluding with government, industry and NGOs.

Perhaps the worst part is the $300,000 is just seed money, and in bold they talk about taking anonymous donations to fund their desperate scramble for more of your hard earned money and defence of the government that shovels it out the door by the billion to these guys.

Read for yourself as the wind industry admits the jobs that were promised never showed up, that bills have spiked and that the environment and health aren’t really the point of this whole exercise. Seriously folks. – This is the wind industry talking.

The reality is, the wind industry is dying world wide. Subsidies are drying up, public opinion is shifting and jurisdictions are now in a race to see who is the last to be conned by this corrupt industry.

Wind Concerns Ontario will continue to fight like hell and stand up to the moneyed interests of the desperate pro-wind forces. We’ll continue to stand with Ontarians facing these projects, fight off the foreign corporations destroying rural Ontario and defeat the politicans that let it happen.

Here is a link to the appalling document (Renewable Energy Matters – Campaign Outline) that outlines how this slimy industry’s ‘hail mary’ pass to your wallet is supposed to work.

As I said to Robert Hornung, President of CanWEA in September 2009 – you can spend all the money you want, we will defeat you, and the political backers you’ve bought because we’ve got the bodies on the ground and money can’t change that.

Over the last month we’ve shown that with rally after rally and it’s going to continue until we’ve reclaimed our rights, can protect our communities and defeat the bought and paid for politicians that let this happen.


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Tomorrow’s rally is important for all who are fighting to protect Ontario from the proliferation of industrial wind turbines where they do NOT belong.

 We want everyone to know that the work we have exhaustively put into this fight is paying off with messages from around the world in support of our action.

 This government must be held accountable for the future of our province.

 Join us!

 Wind Concerns Ontario

   Media Release


 APRIL 28, 2010


 From Tiverton to Toronto to Tiny Township, Ontario citizens will converge on Queen’s Park to protest the irresponsible location of industrial wind turbines too close to human habitation.

 This April 28 ‘Ontario Day of Action’ is one of several International protests taking place including Japan, April 30 and Berlin, May 15.

 Around the world, government policies concerning industrial wind development have been heavily influenced by the Wind Energy lobby and other interest groups. As a consequence, policy decisions have been made that put peoples’ health and quality of life at risk.

 Under the new provincial Green Energy Act, the Ontario Liberal government is fast-tracking renewable energy projects in a bid to meet an election promise to eliminate coal-fired generating plants. In so doing, it has bypassed planning powers of municipalities and infringed on the democratic rights of their citizens.

 By imposing huge turbines on rural communities through flawed processes and industrialized environmentalism, families and hundreds of thousands of hectares of beautiful Ontario countryside are being systematically ravaged.  At the same time, the objections of local municipalities and citizens have been silenced by the Green Energy Act.

 The government of Ontario must protect all its citizens and ensure that independent scientific research on health impacts is conducted before more industrial wind installations are built.

 Speakers include:

 ·         Mr. Ian Hanna who has made the Application for Judicial Review of the Green Energy Act as it applies to industrial wind   turbines.


    ·         Dr. Robert McMurtry, Chair, The Society for Wind Vigilance

    ·         Mr. Eric Gillespie, Environmental Lawyer

    ·         Mr. John Laforet, President Wind Concerns Ontario

    ·         Michael Trebilcock, Professor, Law and Economics, University of Toronto

    ·         David Grey Eagle Sanford, Toronto-based Eco Warrior


    There will be speakers from Queen’s Park as well as elected Municipal officials from across Ontario. Live music will be provided by Toronto artists such as Karen Wild Child, Bruce Palait, Seb Agnello, and Benny Sanders.



     Wind Concerns Ontario


     647 588-8647

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