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Here from a recent edition of Ontario Farmer:

Dear Editor:

It was good to see Sylvia and John Wiggins suing the landowner over wind turbines. [The Wiggins are suing for over a million dollars in lost property value for their home and equestrian operation in the Clearview area, which will be next to three wind turbines.] My wife and I intend on doing the same if they are successful. These greedy landowners, with multiple land parcels, sign up for turbines but never near their own residences. These people are not really neighbours, nor friends.

Our property and residence will be devalued and our health and wellbeing may be plagued with endless ill effects. We were here first and should not have to be subject to this folly. If the Wiggins’ lawsuit succeeds, it will open the floodgates to a huge number of lawsuits.

These inefficient and not-needed turbines are an example of Toronto politicians running roughshod over rural Ontario. McGuinty has put us deeper in debt and has done more damage to rural Ontario than any other premier.

…Europe is currently stopping and/or cutting back on all wind and solar projects as they have proven to be uneconomical, unreliable, inefficient and too expensive, not at all what they were originally supposed to do.

Ray and Louise Brown, Mitchell’s Bay

Email us at northgowerwindactionactiongroup@yahoo.ca

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Paul Mahon, editor of Ontario Farmer, has covered the issues in the current edition of the paper.

“There are many flaws in logical thinking in the ongoing discussions about wind energy,” he writes. [Editor: he means wind power; wind energy is the actual wind, which can be used to create power. But we digress.] “Without logical thinking we cannot come out with the best outcome.

“There is too much dependence on the all or nothing argument that wind is either all good or all bad, presumably because it is a singular issue. It is not a singular issue, it is at least three separate issues.

“The first issue is, is it a health risk? Are people in proximity to turbines suffering direct health problems? If it is found that turbines do cause health problems, then adequate safeguards need to be built in so that turbines do not have the chance to affect health. If existing turbines are affecting health, remedial measures need to be taken.”

First of all, it’s already been proven that the environmental noise and vibration (infrasound) produced by industrial-scale wind turbines do cause harm to human health (Decision of the Environmental Review Tribunal, July 2011). The health effects from environmental noise have been documented for other types of noise (traffic, airports, etc.) and the effects of infrasound too have been studied. For some reason, when it comes to wind turbines–and we’re talking big ones, not the little toys that exist in some places, and certainly not the iconic but useless turbine at Toronto’s Exhibition Place–these threats to health go away, courtesy the lobbying efforts of the global wind industry.

Editor Mahon uses the word “direct” and we’re not sure whether he understands what he has done. A “direct” health effect from a wind turbine would be if one of them fell on you, or if ice thrown from one of the rotor blades hits you (and that can happen). Rather it is an indirect pathway that has the effect. In other words, the noise causes you to lose sleep and in turn sleep deprivation causes health effects such as headache, raised blood pressure, and more. Similarly, the infrasound or vibration causes changes in the air pressure which in turn cause problems in the inner ear and affect people’s balance.

Thamesville resident Lisa Michaud, a Cornwall native who recently travelled back from Thamesville to speak to an audience in Brinston (Prowind’s South branch 30 MW project), told us that her otherwise healthy 20-year-old son can no longer work as a roofer as the vibration has severly affected his balance. Lisa posted in Facebook today about her drive home from a public meeting: “The drive home from Essex was excruciating! Sudden severe head and ear pain and pressure from the moment I hit highway 8… Had to stop at the Comber Timmy’s for a moment as I felt like vomiting & passing out… So weird it subsided somewhere between Chatham & Ridgetown but kicked me the moment I entered my house!”

Next issue, Paul Mahon says is property values. Unfortunately, he has fallen for the wind developer lobby group propaganda which is that it’s not that there is a serious problem with the turbines, it’s whether people like seeing them or not. Which is part of the problem, with the flashing red lights and all, but certainly not the whole problem. “It affects the ambience,” he writes. Well, yes. Having your formerly quiet rural community suddenly changed to an industrial wind power generation facility certainly affects the ambience just a tad. There are by now dozens of studies that show property values in the proximity of industrial wind turbine projects decline, by as much as 50% … with some properties losing all value.

Mr. Mahon makes the point that just because something worked well elsewhere doesn’t mean it will work here, and he refers to Germany. Now, it must be said that in Germany they have not dumped turbines right on top of people as Ontario has, and to say that there is no opposition to wind turbines in Germany would be completely inaccurate. In fact, the worldwide march against turbines in 2010 began in Berlin.

He concludes with this excellent advice: “Some of these logical questions might have been better researched BEFORE the turbines were built. Because, the truth is, we are years into it already and we still do not know.”

Indeed.

……….

Marlborough 1 project status: awaiting ECT.

FIT program review announcement possibly next week from the Ontario government.

Join our email list at northgowerwindactiongroup@yahoo.ca and follow us on Twitter at northgowerwind.

News through the day at Wind Concerns Ontario http://www.windconcernsontario.ca

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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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Appearing in this week’s edition of Ontario Farmer is a full-colour ($$$) advertisement paid for by the corporate wind development lobby group, the Canadian Wind Energy Association (CanWEA) advocating for wind turbine leases as an important source of income for farms.

Clearly, CanWEA needs to persuade farm owners that the negative response to industrial wind projects is just a blip and that they are doing the ‘right thing” for the world at large, and for their own farm and family.

There are, however, a number of factual errors in the ad. First, industrial wind turbines are NOT producing enough energy for 1.2 million homes. That figure must be based on capacity but the TRUTH is, industrial wind turbines operate at just over 20 percent capacity. And then, much of it is at night, when the power isn’t needed.

Second, that Ipsos-Reid poll showing that 86 percent of people want wind energy is based on a survey so tiny — an online survey (unreliable) that was done using 1,300 people, or roughly 0.0001 percent of the people in Ontario. A huge flaw in the survey was that there are no details on who the respondents were, but indications are that they live in urban areas and have litte idea about the implications on industrial-scale wind developments.

Here is the ad.

Ad – Ontario Farmer 28SEP2010

*****UPDATE October 1. The farmer portrayed in this ad does indeed “host” an industrial wind turbine, but he has ONE (not three like in the photo) and it is on a piece of land not where his house is. That’s not all: he is an employee/subcontractor for Erie Shores, the corporate wind developer. The situation is NOT AS ADVERTISED.

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Just the facts…

The Ontario Farm Association has this slogan on their website to explain the connection between Ontario farmers and the wind industry: Ontario needs power and farmers need money.

Now, in the most recent issue of Ontario Farmer (sorry, it’s not available online) is “Guarantee food, not wind,” a letter by Dan Wrightman of Kerwood. He writes “it is common to hear the government line that wind energy is a solution to the income crisis that agriculture faces here in Ontario.” He goes on to list five reasons why wind energy “is a poor income support program for farmers and a bad idea for the agricultural economy of rural Ontario.”

1. Wind energy development is based on geography rather than need. In other words, some of the richest farmers will get wind developments (as in North Gower, where one of the participating farm owners has over 3,000 acres of land locally) while the poorer farms won’t.

2. The lease payments are not as significant as they might seem. Typically $6,000-$8,000 per year per turbine, Wrightman says that’s “a drop in the bucket.” What’s to blame is Ontario’s “cheap food policy.”

3.Wind development will encourage absentee land ownership, which will lead to a decline in agricultural productivity over the long term.

4.The potential for health effects (resulting from the noise and vibration produced by industrial wind turbines) could lead to fewer people being willing to farm. There are already reports of farmers having to leave their homes because of “health issues attributed to wind turbines … there are already lawsuits filed against wind energy companies by farmers claiming that wind turbines have severely affected the health of their livestock.”

5. Farmers who just want to grow food are forgotten. “The Ontario government is willing to give guaranteed above-market prices for 20 years to wind companies, yet there is no money to fund a risk management program that works. Farmers need government to support Ontario-grown and processed food, not give billions of taxpayer subsidies to foreign corporations.”

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