Posts Tagged ‘Ontario Ministry of the Environment’

Wind Concerns Ontario’s website today features an interview with biologist and educator Dr Scott Petrie of Long Point Waterfowl. See the full story at http://freewco.blogspot.com/2012/02/wco-exclusive-scientist-university-prof.html

Dr Petrie says that now, under the Green Energy Act, wind power developers only have to follow the very inadequate regulations set out in the act and in the Ministry of the Environment’s renewable energy application process. Wind turbines are being built in some of the “worst” places in North America, he says, which will have an effect on bird populations throughout the continent. “You can’t build office towers there,” he says, “so why can developers build wind turbines?”

Ontario’s government is not only NOT protecting the environment, it is actually sacrificing it for business interests.

Email us at northgowerwindactiongroup@yahoo.ca

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From the last edition of Ontario Farmer, Tom van Dusen’s Eastern Limits column, excerpted here.

Powerful people

Power of the People seems to have played a crucial role in the minority Liberal government outcome of the provincial election. Power of the anti-wind people, that is.

An advocacy group called Wind Concerns Ontario (WCO) says it targeted 10 ridings where existing or planned wind farms have become controversial, with an eye to defeating sitting Liberal members who supported the projects, or to getting opposition candidates elected where vacancies existed due to retirement.

It’s hard to know if WCO should get all the credit…but, in fact, Grits were shut out of those ridings.

Some prominent rural Liberals who backed wind and solar energy bit the dust on election day, including two former OMAFRA ministers, Carol Mitchell, who held the post in the last government, and Leona Dombrowsky, the province’s most recent education minister. Both went down to spectacular defeat. Also blown out of his riding was the pre-election environment minister, John Wilkinson, also an outspoken supporter of his government’s green energy policy which offered some subsidies and high energy generation payments to wind and solar power entrepreneurs.

…At the east end of the province, it looks like turbine opponents helped elect Tory Jim McDonell in Stormont-Dundas-South Glegarry which had been vacated by Liberal MPP Jim Brownell. McDonell’s stock seemed to go up after he called upon Dalton McGuinty to stop the proposed South Branch Wind Farm at Brinston before it got to the construction phase. A collection of 14 turbines, South Branch has been promoted by Prowind Canada dating back to 2008. Over the intervening years, there have been scores of meetings and studies about the impact of the project.

For WCO, Prowind is similar to all industrial turbine installations: the advocacy group claims they all threaten human and animal health, habitat, and property values as well as cause noise and aesthetic concerns.

WCO says it set its sights on toppling Liberal candidates because the government “denied science” indicating turbines could be harmful, and refused to accept “local democracy” by pushing forward with turbine projects against the will of residents.

The anti-wind turbine lobby appears to have registered a big blow to the McGuinty Grits. Retaining only a few of the lost 10 seats would have made a difference between majority and the premier’s so-called “major minority”. … the WCO campaign proves resoundingly that taxpayers can have an impact on voting day even if it’s not the ultimate outcome of defeating a government.

“The Liberals have an opportunity to change their course during this minority parliament, act on our concerns and put the interests of people ahead of special interests behind the industrial wind lobby which cost them their majority,” WCO gloated in a news release.

… There’s nothing wrong with modestly encouraging development of new energy sources. However, the last Liberal government seemed to want to make it happen right now at whatever cost, and damn any side effects such as the potential health hazard.

E-mail us at northgowerwindactiongroup@yahoo.ca

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CFRA’s Nick van der Graght, filling in for Lowell Green in the 10 a.m. to noon spot Friday, advised a caller facing an industrial wind turbine development that she should sue the property owners who have leased their land for turbines on “nuisance” grounds and for loss of enjoyment of property. To say nothing of lost property values, health effects etc etc.

He commented further that if more people who are being affected by industrial wind power generation projects were to take legal action, the message would come across pretty quick: these projects are not wanted, your unwilling participant neighbours will take action and–guess what–it’s the property owners who are on the hook for legal action, not the corporate wind developers.

As it becomes obvious that the “fix is in” with industrial wind projects and the whole environmental process is a rubber stamp joke, more people will be contacting lawyers for legal advice. We have already heard of a North Gower resident who moved to the quiet village to get relief from migraine headaches that she intends to take legal action.

We’ve already mentioned the use of “anticipatory nuisance” which has been employed by people next to farms with genetically modified crops to take action to prevent the damage to their own property and livelihood. In other words, you can’t wait for the thing to happen to you, and then sue—the damage is already done.

Less talked about and less well understood is another legal term that will likely crop up as more of the Ontario government’s backroom dealings regarding permits and approvals for industrial wind turbine projects are revealed, and the fact that government KNEW its field officers didn’t have the capacity to measure compliance with noise regulations, but kept on approving projects anyway.

The term is misfeasance: a defendant can be accused of misfeasance if he owed a duty of care to the plaintiff. Certainly, the documents being released now by WindyLeaks showed that senior government officials knew of problems with wind power operations, and chose to ignore the situation, including the advice of their field staff.

E-mail us at northgowerwindactiongroup@yahoo.ca

Check WindyLeaks every Monday at http://www.windyleaks.com

And please donate if you can: another BIG meeting coming up, soon, please help get the message out!

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We have a new name for “environmental” groups who claim that there are no health effects from the noise and infrasound (vibration) produced by industrial wind turbines—environmental noise deniers.

Because here is absolute proof of the problems these machines are causing, in a news story out of the U.K. Seismic noise being produced and wreaking havoc on sensitive equipment more than THIRTY-ONE MILES away?? The subsidy-seeking wind developer says it is confident it can remedy the problem, by hanging weights inside the turbine supports to minimize the vibration. Really.

Here is the story.

U.K. Opposes Wind Farms Over Nuclear Test Detection Concerns

Monday, Aug. 22, 2011

 The British Defense Ministry is objecting to private plans to construct wind farms on a significant swath of land in Scotland and England due to concerns the vibrations created by the rotating turbines would interfere with a nearby nuclear test detection center, the London Guardian reported on Friday (see GSN, June 8).

The ministry said “seismic noise” created by hundreds of proposed new wind turbines would undermine the effectiveness of advanced equipment at the seismological monitoring center at Eskadalemuir, not far from Lockerbie in Scotland. The center is part of an international effort to monitor for any illicit nuclear-weapon testing.

As a signatory of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, London is required to ensure the working order of the detection facility as part of efforts to deter nuclear proliferation, according to the Defense Ministry.

The site is a “unique facility in the U.K,” an unidentified ministry spokesman said. “It detects and accurately interprets seismic signals worldwide to detect nuclear explosions and deter the proliferation of nuclear weapons. Wind turbines can affect the readings.”

“The MoD would not object to a planning application without due reason,” the spokesman continued. “Objections are only raised where such action is considered vital to adequately protect MoD interests”

A government analysis determined that while the Eskadalemuir center could tolerate some seismic disturbance, the cutoff level had already been reached. The Defense Ministry is thus countering each new turbine proposal that is 31 miles or closer to the recording station.

The objection led local leaders in Carlisle this month to vote against a plan to erect six turbines in their community. The ministry in total is obstructing plans to construct wind farms that would cumulatively produce one gigawatt of renewable energy, according to developer REG Windpower.

The company is optimistic a compromise can be reached. One possibility would be to suspend weights inside the turbine poles to minimize the seismic disturbances created by the turbines. The ministry has said it would re-examine its stance on the turbines if a feasible remedy can be found (Rob Edwards, London Guardian, Aug. 19).

In Ontario, Windyleaks this week released another document obtained under Freedom of Information, in which yet another member of the MInistry of the Environment’s field staff reports problems with the noise produced by multiple turbines in one location. And yet, the approvals went on.

Visit http://windconcernsontario.wordpress.com

E-mail us at northgowerwindactiongroup@yahoo.ca


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In today’s Financial Post, a letter responding to Parker Gallant’s excellent “Energy rules change in the wind” on August 4th (read the article at http://windconcernsontario.wordpress.com/2011/08/04/energy-rules-change-in-the-wind/) that reveals some interesting linkages between the Ontario Liberal Party and the renewable energy industry. Elsewhere in the news today an announcement that China’s largest wind power developer is buying into a 100-MW wind project near Melancthon (poor Melancthon which already has hundreds of turbines) because of Ontario’s “supportive policies.” That means SUBSIDIES from taxpayers.

This letter pertains to a peak power hydro project but the environmental concerns and the political connections are worrying.

McGuinty’s peaking power fiasco

Re: “Energy rules change in the wind,” Parker Gallant, Aug. 4

Excellent article! I am wondering if more investigation and articles should be undertaken by the FP on the misguided Green Energy Act leading up to the election. This topic must the most underreported McGuinty fiasco yet.

Our group, the French River Delta Association, is fighting a peaking power hydro proposal known as the Allen & Struthers Project, undertaken by Xeneca Power. This company, which counts Arnold Chan, former executive assistant to McGuinty as a VP legal affairs, is about to destroy our nature preserve at the French River Provincial Park.

We have the science and the economics that say these peaking power plants are very wrong. Xeneca Power is totally funded by OP Trust, the pension fund of OPSU. Directors of OP Trust are appointed by McGuinty. OPSU members need to know where their pension investment is going.

The Green Energy Act allows proponents to provide their own environmental assessments, pay lip service to local stakeholders, and to if necessary “harass, harm or kill” any endangered/protected species in the way. The local MNR/MOE experts entrusted to protect our land and waters have been brutally silenced by Queen’s Park. The proponents of these projects are not being held to the same standard as you and I.

We are one of 38 proposed peaking power hydro dams that will hold back water from Georgian Bay, which is already suffering from record declining water levels. Our site is the spawning ground of many species of Georgian Bay fish. The water will only be released when the profit margin is right to generate power. These rivers will be all but dry the rest of the time. See Xeneca’s only completed power plant, at McGraw Falls near Earlton, Ont. The falls are bone dry most of the time.

Max Brugger, Stouffville, Ont.

Contact us at northgowerwindactiongroup@yahoo.ca

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Here is a posting from Nature Canada’s blog on the recently reported bird and bat kills at Wolfe Island, as a result of the 86-turbine industrial wind project.

How Ontario can claim this is all for the environment and that they’re doing everything possible to protect people and wildlife is incredible.


Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Wolfe Island Wind Farm Still one of most Dangerous for Birds, Bats

*Purple Martin at Home
Tree Swallow via Marshall Segal on Flickr

TransAlta has just released its fourth Report on bird and bat monitoring from its Wolfe Island wind plant located on the west side of Wolfe Island, near Kingston Ontario.

The report affirms that TransAlta’s Wolfe Island Wind Energy plant is one of the most destructive for birds and bats in North America.

Easily visible from the Kingston waterfront, the 86 turbines continue to kill large numbers of birds and bats. Most of the casualties described in the report are the same species reported in the three previous TransAlta studies of bird and bat deaths at their Wolfe Island plant, with Tree Swallow and Purple Martin at the top of the list, and including Bobolink and Barn Swallow, both listed as Threatened by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC).

All of the Ontario swallow species listed in the report are suffering long-term population declines, which makes the unforeseen impacts of the wind energy plant on wildlife all the more troubling. Only two raptors casualties were reported, which may be more a reflection of reduced search efforts in this period, although winter raptor surveys on the island revealed higher numbers of several species compared with the previous year, in particular, Rough-legged Hawk and Short-eared Owl. However, raptors do not appear to be using the habitat on which the wind plant in the north-west corner of the island is situated, and where the turbine density is highest. Three migratory species of bats, including Hoary, Eastern Red, and Silver-haired, comprised the balance of the bat casualties. Unlike birds, which are struck by the fast spinning tips of the turbine blades, bats are killed due to “barotrauma,” a condition caused by the sudden change of pressure around the blades that result in damage to their lungs.

The report presents the findings of monitoring programs that began in June 2009, which will produce reports approximately every 6 months over the first three years of the wind plant’s operations. The current report represents the third six-month period of monitoring. (The first Report was for a two-month period). Several aspects of the plant’s impact on birds and bats are monitored, including casualty rates of birds and bats, displacement of waterfowl and distribution and behaviour of raptors.

The results of the report reinforce the significance for birds and bats of the open scrubland habitat on the offshore islands at the eastern end of Lake Ontario, and onshore alvar habitats such as those found on Ostrander Point in Prince Edward County or Amherst Island. Wind energy plants, transmission towers, and other types of developments that put birds and bats at high risk should be excluded from these significant areas. All of Wolfe Island and a portion of its surrounding waters were recognized as a globally significant Important Bird Area (IBA) by BirdLife International’s Canadian partners, Nature Canada and Bird Studies Canada.

Taken together, the reports show that TransAlta’s Wolfe Island Wind Energy plant has one of the highest annual rates of casualties, reporting 16.5 birds per turbine and 43.7 bats per turbine, based on the 6 month study period from July 1 to December 31, 2010. Over a year, this would amount to approximately 1,500 birds and about 3,800 bats. Only one wind plant of the 45 reported on in a landmark 2010 study cited in the TransAlta Report by the US National Wind Coordinating Committee killed more birds per turbine. That plant, the Buffalo Mountain Wind Farm in Tennessee, which is consisted of only three .66 MW turbines at the time of the study, and so makes for a poor comparison. Most wind energy projects have much lower casualty rates for birds and bats.

It is also becoming clear that the July to September period (when the Swallows congregate and the bats migrate) is the most devastating for birds and bats. In my view, it is time that TransAlta implement serious mitigation, and turn off the turbines during this high risk period. This would save the lives of hundreds, if not thousands of birds and bats.


E-mail us at northgowerwindactiongroup@yahoo.ca

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Today, apparently, is “global wind day” which in Ontario is being celebrated because the province is supposed to be a centre for “green” energy and green jobs and a clean, green way of life. One of the events scheduled is the celebration of the completion of the giant Talbot wind project, by Enbridge/RES. The news release is below.

CALGARY, ALBERTA–(Marketwire – June 13, 2011) – Enbridge Inc. (TSX:ENB) (NYSE:ENB) and Renewable Energy Systems Canada Inc. (RES Canada) will celebrate the completion of Enbridge’s Talbot Wind Project on June 15, 2011, Global Wind Day.

The celebration will include a ribbon cutting with members from the Chatham-Kent community, and an announcement of several investments in the community. MPP Pat Hoy (Chatham-Kent-Essex) and Chatham-Kent Mayor Randy R. Hope will take part in the festivities.

Meanwhile, Wind Concerns Ontario has unearthed correspondence from the Ministry of the Environment dated 2009, which indicates the Ministry was issuing certificates of approval for industrial wind power projects when it had no “methodology” or equipment or trained staff to enforce any regulations concerning turbine noise. The correspondence is between Ministry staff. Go to http://windconcernsontario.wordpress.com to see a PDF of the letters.

Apparently the scene on Global Wind Day near Shelburne Ontario is not nearly so festive (you recall we presented text from a letter to the province from the mayor of Amaranth about the health problems and loss of property value in the area), with properties for sale and deserted. Here is an account from someone who lives there: Turbines are spinning in every direction.  People are sick.  People can’t sleep at night.  People have been bought out.  People are leaving because they can’t stand it anymore.  Places looked fallen down and/or deserted all over the place.  Or they’re for sale–and good luck with that!

Since it is “Global” Wind day, let’s go farther afield; how about Australia, where the complaints of illness from wind turbine noise and vibration are so pronounced that in the Waubra area, the collection of symptoms is now known as The Waubra Syndrome. A report from the government on health effects is due out this week , but an Australian phsyician specializing in cancer research said that Australia should expect a rise in fatal diseases due to the low frequency noise (vibration) produced by industrial wind turbines. The story is here: http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/turbine-health-effects-are-blowing-in-the-wind/story-fn59niix-1226075277052

“Global Wind Day”: a celebration of what the quest for profits at any cost has done to communities and people.

E-mail us at northgowerwindactiongroup@yahoo.ca and follow us on Twitter at northgowerwind

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A news release on the status of the Ian Hanna vs Ontario case, in which the plaintiff is asking for a judicial review of the Green Energy Act, on the basis that proper procedures were not followed prior to the passing of this Act.

Wind Turbine Legal Challenge Passes

Three Major Legal Hurdles

Toronto, January 24

– A panel of three Ontario Divisional Court judges today heard the submissions of counsel for the Attorney General representing the Ministry of Environment, counsel representing Ian Hanna, Eric Gillespie, and counsel for the Intervenor the Canadian Wind Energy Association in an application for judicial review of central provisions of the Green Energy Act regulations. The application states that the 550 meter setback, legislated by the McGuinty Liberal Government in September 2009, has not been scientifically justified as a sufficient distance to protect human health.

Initially it appeared the hearing might not be permitted to proceed as the court queried if an

upcoming Environmental Review Tribunal hearing in Chatham was where these issues should be addressed. After hearing substantial legal argument the panel of judges agreed to hear the case. Hurdle # 1.

In spite of the Attorney General’s attempts to have the court reject the evidence and qualifications of three medical doctors who filed affidavits relied on by the applicant, the court declined to overturn any of their evidence. Hurdle # 2.

The court also determined that notwithstanding the Attorney General and CanWEA’s submissions in opposition, the issues to be decided were complex and significant and the court would reserve making any decision to allow it to consider all of the information it had received. Hurdle # 3.

Ian Hanna the applicant has declared today’s results a victory for all those now suffering the consequences of poorly developed regulations and guidelines that have led to a litany of homes abandoned, adverse health effects and financial ruin for many Ontario residents.

The three judge panel will now review the evidence and submissions from today and have indicated they will likely release a written judgment in the near future.



Beth Harrington


647 588-8647

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Here from the Watertown Daily Times today, a prophesy about noise and the coming changes to the area, if a planned wind turbine installation goes through. Note the advice not to take the wind developers’ information as “gospel”. Pair this with the Ontario Ministry of the Environment’s admission that they CANNOT measure noise from wind turbines (they don’t even have the equipment) and you can see that our peace and quiet will be gone forever.

To contact us, email northgowerwindactiongroup@yahoo.ca

Expert warns of turbines’ effect on ‘soundscape’



HAMMOND — A sound expert told the Wind Advisory Committee that Hammond’s “rural soundscape” will be changed with the construction of wind turbines and that it would be foolish to take any wind developer’s sound level plan as gospel.

Clifford P. Schneider, Cape Vincent, who retired from the state Department of Environmental Conservation’s Fish and Wildlife Division, told the committee that he became interested in measuring wind turbine sound in 2006, after he was appointed to Cape Vincent’s Town Council. With Cape Vincent immersed in its own wind power issues, Mr. Schneider said, he was not satisfied with the initial sound study performed by commercial wind developer AES-Acciona Energy, which sought a project in Cape Vincent.

He said the wind developer did only a few sound readings at noisy locations at the noisiest times of the day. Mr. Schneider did a “mobile survey” of the entire town of Cape Vincent. He said he found that the developer’s findings were limited and neglected to consider nighttime, worst-case wind conditions and noise impacts.

Mr. Schneider described Hammond’s evenings as calm, quiet times during which the noise from turbines would not be masked. The result, he said, would be turbine noise that is “very noticeable.”

At the heart of the issue of turbine noise, according to Mr. Schneider, are two questions: What is the existing noise level in Hammond? And what will a wind farm project do to those sound levels?

DEC, Mr. Schneider said, measures background noise and says that any new source should be no more than six decibels above the standing background noise level.

He measured the noise level at about 30 decibels inside Hammond’s village hall. Mr. Schneider played a recording of a German wind farm, increasing the noise levels all the way up to 25 decibels.

“It’s not going to drive everyone crazy, but it will affect some people,” he said.

Besides his “systematic sampling” advice, Mr. Schneider suggested building a strong compliance survey and complaint resolution and property value assurance plan into the town wind law. By doing this, he said, the committee would be requiring the developer to provide a more inclusive and careful plan that would better ensure proper placement of turbines.

Committee member Michele McQueer said she would like to hear from a sound expert from Iberdrola. Facilitator David B. Duff said he will attempt to make that happen for the next meeting, scheduled for 7 p.m. June 7 in the village hall. 

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