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Posts Tagged ‘leasing your land for wind turbines’

Not so long ago, all you heard in the agricultural newspapers in Ontario was how wonderful the opportunities to host industrial wind turbines on your farm property were. The income was going to “save the family farm” we were told, and there would be no difference whatsoever to farming the property; some farm owners were quoted as saying they farm right up to the bottom of a turbine, with no problems.

Today, not so much: in fact the contracts property ownersare signing are confidential (it’s a condition of signing that the property owner cannot discuss terms), difficult to get out of, and contain many clauses that restrict activity. Farm owners have learned that the wind companies retain the right to come on their properties at any time, to remove trees if they need to, build roads, and restrict construction of any buildings on the farm property. (A sample contract is available at the Wind Concerns Ontario website at http://windconcernsontario.wordpress.com ).

A round-up of articles and letters from the last week shows a diversity of opinions.

Shane Mulligan, Project Manager for the Local Initiative for Future Energy or LIFE, writes  in Ontario Farmer that every village could have an industrial wind turbine. “Yes, there seems to be evidence that wind farms have impacted the health of some folks, especially in the Ripley area. Wind Concerns Ontario and others have made much of these claims and are calling for more studies, larger setbacks, and suspension of building until turbines are ‘proven safe’. Safe compared to what? Every energy technology carries some impacts and uncertainties, and somebody is always ‘downwind’.”  Mr. Mulligan’s co-operative is at least in favour of community involvement in wind projects, a situation now made impossible by the Green Energy Act.

Economics professor Ross McKitrick writes in Ontario Farmer that Ontario’s rush to build wind turbines as salvation for jobs and the economy is reminiscent of the Brian Peckford Newfoundland government’s 1987 plan to boost the economy by subsidizing the building of massive hydroponic greenhouses. “Cucumbers did start appearing,” McKitrick writes. “The problem was each one cost $1.10 to grow and the wholesale market price was just over 50 cents. The greenhouse went bankrupt and ceased operations by 1990. The jobs vanished and the province was left with $14 million in debts to pay.”

Wind developer salespeople “have found in Dalton McGuinty their own Brian Peckford. They convinced him we can become a world leader, not in green produce but ‘green energy.’ Common sense has been jettisoned and the checks are flowing.

“We already have green energy,” McKitrick writes. “Most of our electricity comes from non-emitting hydro or nuclear generation, at a fraction of the cost of wind- and solar-generated power. By the government’s own data, Ontario air pollution has fallen dramatically since the 1970s through the use of scrubbers and automobile technology.”

“Green energy salesmen bamboozle gullible governments into signing checks in return for empty promises of jobs and growth. As the bills mount, prices rise and the economy sags, the inevitable unravelling begins. It will happen here too. The only question is how many jobs will disappear, and how much economic hardship we will put up with, before having the common sense to shut the scam down for once and for all.”

Last, Tom Van Dusen, who attended the North Gower meeting January 23rd, writes in Ontario Agri-News:

February 2011, Vol. 35, No. 2

AgriNews Interactive http://www.agrinewsinteractive.com

Turbines put wind up opponents
By Tom Van Dusen

The Prince Edward County resident who challenged in Ontario Superior Court the placement of industrial wind turbines hopes to hear a decision within several weeks.Ian Hanna outlined his case Jan. 23 to a coalition of some 125 turbine opponents gathered in North Gower. The next day, Hanna was in a Toronto courtroom making his case.

As a taxpayer, he said he resents incentives being handed out by the provincial “green fairy” to encourage construction of windmills without any scientific basis for their locations.

The meeting was convened by the North Gower Wind Action Group, Beckwith Responsible Wind Action Group and Spencerville’s South Branch Wind Opposition Group, all of which are resisting proposed wind farms in their areas.

To get them in the mood for the discussion, participants upon entering the hall were greeted with a loud background drone said to have been recorded from wind turbines in Maine by a landowner living about 1 km from the nearest one.

If he wins the case, Hanna and his backers anticipate that planned wind power projects will be put on hold across the province until “proper” medical studies are conducted which they expect will lead to minimum setbacks of 1.5-2 km between turbines and residences as opposed to the current 550 metres.

“This will kill many projects plus perhaps force rectification/compensation for built projects,” supporters say in a pamphlet seeking donations to the Hanna legal cause.

It’s the proximity of the industrial windmills and the constant drone they create which can make life miserable for rural residents, said Janet White of Wolfe Island in Lake Ontario south of Kingston which is now home to 86 turbines.

White said “slick” companies have created a rift on the island between residents who accepted windmills on their property and those – such as herself – who didn’t. Few jobs and little in the way of general economic benefit have resulted from the wind power project, the sometimes emotional mother of three children added, stating she feels she’s now living “under the thumb of big industry.”

Hanna’s big bone of contention is with the Green Energy Act which he says doesn’t contain authoritative guidelines for the appropriate siting of turbines because “there’s no good evidence as to when they’ll be safe or not.” His case dates back to early 2009 when environmental attorney Eric Gillespie was retained.

In addition to a multitude of ailments said to be caused by proximity to turbines such as sleeplessness, stress, hypertension, and tintinitus, Hanna and his followers cite livestock health, safety, environmental degradation, and decline in property values among drawbacks of windmills in the neighbourhood.

“People are suffering from living too close to turbines,” Hanna said who allowed that he himself isn’t close to a wind farm. “They’re sick, they can’t sleep and they can’t sell.”

……………….

More people are thinking and learning; that’s all we ask.

northgowerwindactiongroup@yahoo.ca

You can follow us on Twitter at northgowerwind at Twitter.com

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Yesterday we posted a summary of the international conference in Picton (prepared by Lorrie Gillis), but we would now like to add some points of emphasis.

1. Dr Michael Nissenbaum demonstrated absolute proof that there are health effects as a result of exposure to the noise and infrasound from industrial wind turbines. Even he was surprised at the extent of it. His study is relatively simple to duplicate, and there are plans to do just that in Ontario.

2. Dr Carl Phillips said that claims that there is no research are spurious and agenda-driven. There is quite enough evidence, he says. Much of the studies done to date that show there are no health effects are very “poor” and done by people who have no understanding of epidemiology.

3. Economic professor Ross McKitrick called into question the Ontario government’s cry that “dirty coal” is a health hazard, and showed that in fact, pollution has declined in Ontario, dramatically, due to “Clean Drive” and other programs and technology. In one moment that would have been hilarious were it not for the fact that it is an indication of how set this government and the wind industry is on misleading people, Dr McKitrick showed that using the statistical model employed by the Clean Air Alliance, the Registered Nurses Association, the OMA and others, if you applied it back to 1965, more people died from air pollution than actually died. If your model is giving you unreasonable numbers, he said, then there is clearly something wrong with it. Income and smoking are the important factors in respiratory health, he said, not air pollution. [Note: the Ontario Power Authority’s own VP Communications, Ben Chin, has said this on occasion: air pollution in Ontario comes from the U.S., and cars]

Last, lawyer Eric Gillespie update the progress on the Ian Hann challenge to the Green Energy and Green Economy Act, and predicted that there would be plenty of litigation on the horizon: as the proponents/wind energy developers meet with resistance from municipalities, they’ll be threatening legal action, and, as property owners/rural residents face health effects and declining property values, they will be pursuing legal action against the landowners who have leased their land for turbines.

Ignorance, wilful misleading of the public by both government and industry, and neighbours pitted against neighbours: this is Ontario today.

November 18th is when the Ontario Power Authority announces the next round of FIT agreements.

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

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