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Posts Tagged ‘McGuinty’

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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Subsequent to editor Terence Corcoran writing about the complex situation of Ontario power generation and the fees being charged to consumers, several readers wrote in to the National Post, none too happy about what’s going on. And none of them are facing giant industrial wind turbines next to their homes, either.

Here are excerpts from some of the letters (full text is available online at nationalpost.com):

New power not needed

Re: Power failure, October 8. You couldn’t be more right about yet another government fiasco…

I’ve been watching the Ontario Power Generation website for the past two years. On the site they show what they are currently generating and compare it to their capacity. As of 7:30 a.m., OPG was generating approximately 9,700 megwatts and their stated capacity is 19,000 MW, which, incidentally, is down substantially from their 2008 stated cap[acity of 27,500 MW (probably due to shutdowns for upgrades, etc.). This means that during this morning’s peak usage period, Ontario was consuming approximately half of its generating capacity.

Even during the summer’s heat waves, we barely ever exceeded 60-70%. Ideally, a power producer should try to be at 90+% of capacity in order to use its assets efficiently (maybe even make some profit?). They should be encouraging people to consumer power, given the excess capacity.

With most of Ontario’s manufacturing industries at either 50% capacity (at best) or already gone for good (take a drive through the industrial park in Mississauga), there is absolutely no need for any new capacity, eve less so at prices only an idiot would agree to pay; why not just buy Quebec’s or Michigan’s excess power as necessary?

I don’t suppose OPG will be announcing any layoffs to try to size its business in accordance with the current economic climate and maintain fiscal stability … didn’t think so.

Glen Blenkarn, Pickering

After reading Mr. Corocran’s shocking summary of the present Ontario Liberal government’s green energy initiative, I realized that an important factor had been omitted, which suggests the overall costs will be higher still.

Mr. Smitherman and Mr. McGuinty have funded the entire project, coyly entitled the “Green Energy Act,” with borrowed money. This means that interest payments on the financing will push electricity prces up even higher than those predicted — much higher. Just how does Mr. McGuinty expect this dizzying financial burden to be repaid? Feed-back tariffs? Rebates? The provincial government will be forced into playing a very high-stakes shell game (read: increased taxes), for however you choose to slice it, it’s all taxpayers’ money anyway—spent before it has been earned.

Martin Bender, Ottawa

I believe the National Post made an error in publishing Terence Corcoran’s expose of George Smitherman’s actions as environment minister in the Financial Post. The fact that the programs Mr. Smitherman implemented will cause hydro rates in Ontario to rise 65% in the next five years affects every individual and business in this province. Something so punitive to the economy and well-being of the residents, should be on the front page of the National Post.

I suggest this makes the eHealth mess he instigated look like chump change.

Anne Robinson, Toronto

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

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The people of Kincardine learned this week the hard lesson that the Ontario government’s Green Energy Act trumps everything, even heritage in this province.

The municipality wanted to designate an area as “heritage” in the hopes that move would keep industrial turbines out of it… no soap. The Green Energy Act supercedes both the Heritage Act and the Planning Act in Ontario.

See the full story here: http://www.bayshorebroadcasting.ca/news_item.php?NewsID=27861

In fact the GEA supercedes 21 acts democratically passed in Ontario. 

Bill 150 affected the following 21 Acts

 


•         Planning Act

•         Environmental Protection Act

•         Environmental Bill of Rights, 1993

•         Places to Grow Act, 2005

•         Greenbelt Act, 2005

•         Co-operative Corporations Act

•         Niagara Escarpment Planning and                                      Development Act

•         Public Lands Act

•         Electricity Act, 1998

•         Energy Efficiency Act

•         Ontario Energy Board Act, 1998

•         Building Code Act 1992

•         Ontario Water Resources Act

•         Conservation Land Act

•         Energy Conservation Leadership Act,     2006

•         Provincial Parks and Conservation Reserves Act, 2006

•         Cabinet Ministers’ and Opposition  Leaders’ Expenses review and Accountability Act, 2002

•         Conservation Authorities Act

•         Ministry of Energy Act

•         Ministry of Natural Resources Act

•         Clean Water Act, 2006

Note especially the acts pertaining to greenbelts and the Niagara Escarpment. Land that has been protected for generations may now be used for “renewable energy” development including industrial-scale wind turbines.

When Ottawa mayor candidate Jim Watson appeared in North Gower for one of his rural community chats, he was asked about whether noise bylaws in Ottawa would protect residents if the proposed industrial wind turbines should be installed and he mused that the Green Energy Act might supercede those, too. (Then, sensing the surprised response, he said, if elected, he would consult with the City solicitor.)

Municipalities have had one of their core functions —planning — completely removed by this legislation and as a result, rural residents have no voice, no rights and no recourse when faced with these huge industrial installations. As for public consultation, we’re seeing around the province that there is none of that either: the mandatory public meetings the corporate wind developers hold are nothing more than poster sessions. The public can make comments but they go nowhere.

One act the GEA did not supercede is the Municipal Act. Under that, municipalities should at least try to exercise what powers they have left, in the process of issuing building permits. Ottawa should join the 60+ communities across this province demanding that their rights–and those of the citizens–be returned.

The North Gower Wind Action Group may be reached at northgowerwindactiongroup@yahoo.ca

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Mayoralty candidate Jim Watson held a rural town hall in North Gower last evening, and discussed several of his campaign ideas especially his idea for a borough system to deal with local issues.

During the question period following his talk, the subject of the proposed industrial wind turbines for North Gower arose. Mr Watson became very firm, and grim, and implied that one of the questioners was opposed to all green energy if she was opposed to wind power. He then laid out his position which was that if the Chief Medical Officer of Health for Ontario said there are no health effects, then there are no health effects.

That’s it.

Of course, Dr King’s “report” (which was simply another review of selected literature–not one actual person was spoken to or interviewed) has been widely criticized and is the subject of a 55-page analysis (available at http://www.windvigilance.com ).

He did say, if elected Mayor, he would consult with the City solicitor about options re: noise bylaws etc to protect residents from excessive noise.

This is an issue that is very important to the residents of North Gower and south Richmond and is worth discussing with Mr Watson in detail; his campaign slogan is that Ottawa deserves better leadership. Indeed we do, and we also deserve a leader who is open to ideas other than the party line of the Ontario Liberal government.

To contact Mr Watson go to his website at http://www.jimwatson.ca

The North Gower Wind Action Group can be reached at northgowerwindactiongroup@yahoo.ca

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Here from the Globe and Mail, a report on Ontario’s debt situation, relative to that of California. Remember that California went through a period of horrendous fraud related to power companies, Enron being one of them. (What does ENRON stand for? Electricity Nightmare Ripoff–Ontario Next?)

Ontario, like California, going for broke

Neil Reynolds
From Wednesday’s Globe and Mail
Published on Wednesday, Aug. 25, 2010 6:00AM EDT

Now, let’s see. According to the state treasurer, who should know,

California (population 36.4 million) has sovereign debt of $60-billion (U.S.) – $1,650 per person. Investors rate California’s 10-year bonds as slightly less risky than Croatia’s. Reputable academic analysts anticipate bankruptcy. (As Bill Watkins, director of the Center for Economic Research and Forecasting at California Lutheran University, put it: “California is now more likely to default than it is not to default.” )

On the other hand, Ontario (population 13 million) has debt of $220-billion (Canadian) – $16,900 per person – an economy with roughly one-third the people and roughly 10 times the per-capita debt. California would need more than $600-billion (U.S.) in debt to equal Ontario. So why does no one appear fussed by Ontario’s record-setting accumulation of debt?

Investors require a risk premium on a 10-year Ontario bond only marginally higher than they require of a Government of Canada bond: 50 basis points or less. (A basis point is one-hundredth of one percentage point.) The comparable risk premium on a 10-year California bond is 450 basis points – or 100 basis points higher than on a Portugal bond or an Ireland bond.

There are a number of explanations for the apparent indifference to Ontario’s debt (though the province’s bond rating has been cut in the last year) compared with that of California. The simplest one is the least plausible: that California’s books are crooked. How could California, so heavily audited, conceal significant debt? When The Sacramento Bee newspaper endeavoured to document California’s total debt obligations (including municipal debt), it stopped counting at $500-billion – more than eight times the debt officially reported by the state treasurer.

Here at home, Canadians know without equivocation that Ontario is far too big to fail – far more so than a couple of big U.S. banks or, for that matter, the state of California. By itself, California is the world’s eighth-largest economy but it represents only 15 per cent of the U.S. economy. Ontario represents 35 per cent of the Canadian economy. A bankrupt Ontario is a bankrupt Canada.

In any serious economic crisis, the federal government would assume Ontario’s debt (as it would similarly assume Quebec’s debt). This is moral hazard, of course, the kind of insurance policy that encourages Ontario and Quebec to borrow excessively – and, indeed, recklessly.

The U.S. government might well bail out California, too, in case of default. But California does not have the heft, in relative terms, of either Ontario or Quebec. Like tiny Rhode Island, California has only two federal senators. Congressional power has been migrating for years to lower-taxed southern states. (Based on the current U.S. census, for the first time, California could lose one or more congressional seats.) Furthermore, California is required by its own constitution to balance its books. Thus the state can’t go bankrupt; it must – sooner or later – either increase taxes or cut services. It can only issue so many funny-money IOUs of dubious constitutional validity.

Another possible explanation is simply that California’s debt is now in play, a gambler’s game. In this scenario, by aggressively trading insurance policies (credit default swaps) on California’s debt, investors have made it the most-insured debt in the U.S. – and, in the process, have momentarily exaggerated it.

Investors buy 10-year Venezuelan bonds – provided they get a return of 14.7 per cent. They buy Greek bonds for a return of 10.7 per cent. They buy California bonds for a return of 6.8 per cent – only somewhat less risky than corporate high-risk “junk” bonds (average yield: 8.7 per cent). In contrast, they buy Ontario debt for a return of only 3.3 per cent. This California-Ontario gap remains resiliently irrational. In one of these economies, the fear-factor calculation has gone wrong.

Although California’s economic policies (high spending, high taxes) are destructive, this is mainly a political drama. Democrats will not cut spending. Republicans will not raise taxes. As messy as this left-right struggle gets, California will almost certainly pay its bills, one way or another, in the fullness of time.

Will Ontario? The province has a distinctly different problem: It must now borrow more and more to accomplish less and less. It takes some sophistication to conceal this divergence. Ontario’s effective interest rate – the rate it pays, on average, on all of its debt – is 4.5 per cent. Interest payments will thus cost the province $10-billion (Canadian) this year on its $220-billion debt. Ontario needs half its deficit to make its interest payments.

In 2000, Ontario’s effective interest rate was much higher (8 per cent), its debt much lower ($114-billion). In 2000, interest payments cost $8.8-billion. Ontario, in other words, has used low interest rates to finance higher debt. Any increase in interest rates now will have profoundly disturbing consequences. Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty conceded the other day (in another context) that his government has made “some mistakes.” Really? D’ya think?

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/commentary/neil-reynolds/ontario-like-california-going-for-broke/article1684035/

North Gower Wind Action Group is at northgowerwindactiongroup@yahoo.ca

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Doctors who were involved in the review of the Ontario Chief Medical Officer of Health’s report on industrial wind turbines and health effects, say that information about health effects was in the version they reviewed … but was taken out. Probably for political reasons.

Interesting. The full article is here.

http://www.owensoundsuntimes.com/ArticleDisplay.aspx?e=2609375

And, here:

Wind turbine report missing community impact section

Posted By Paul Jankowski

Posted 16 hours ago
   

A recent report by Ontario’s chief medical officer of health on the potential health impact of wind turbines was somewhat disappointing not for what it contained, but for what is missing, Dr. Hazel Lynn says.

Lynn, the Grey Bruce medical officer of health, was part of the group that reviewed drafts of the report issued in May by Dr. Arlene King. The report concluded “the scientific evidence available to date does not demonstrate a direct causal link between wind turbine noise and adverse health effects.”

//

Lynn said in a recent interview that while she does not dispute that finding, the final report glosses over the disruption that the introduction of wind turbines can cause in a community.

“The whole section that a couple of us really wanted in there on community health and community disruption went. It’s not in there. I suspect politically she can’t criticize another ministry, so I was a little disappointed,” Lynn said.

“I think it’s a fair comment that there is other material that could have been in the report and wasn’t,” said Dr. Ray Copes, the director of environmental and occupational health at the Ontario Agency for Health Protection and Promotion and another member of the committee that reviewed drafts of the report.

Copes said there are “really important and quite legitimate” questions about wind farms that he and Lynn thought should be discussed, but “I guess the CMOH’s report wasn’t the place for it.”

King could not be reached for comment on Friday but Andrew Morrison, a spokesman for the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, said the report “reflects the consensus of the panel that Dr. King put together to look at this issue.”

The report does conclude, among other things, that “community engagement at the outset of planning for wind turbines is important and may alleviate health concerns about wind farms.”

“Basically, I think they (wind farms) disrupt communities if they’re not properly planned and instituted and when you disrupt people’s communities they get sick,” Lynn said. There is evidence to back that position up, she added, but “that doesn’t come through very clearly” in King’s report.

Ontario’s Green Energy Act strips municipalities of control over where wind farms are sited and gives it to the province.

King’s report also states that there “little information is available on actual measurements of sound levels generated from wind turbines and other environmental sources. Since there is no widely accepted protocol for the measurement of noise from wind turbines, current regulatory requirements are based on modeling.”

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From today’s Ottawa Sun:

http://www.ottawasun.com/news/ottawa/2010/05/22/14049111.html

We say again, it’s this simple: wind turbines—>noise/vibration—>lack of sleep—>health problems.

It’s not hard to understand.

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