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Posts Tagged ‘Society for Wind Vigilance’

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.

-30-

Contact:

Beth Harrington

Communications

647 588-8647

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From this past Saturday’s Toronto Star, the column by National Affairs editor Thomas Walkom. Amazing.

Walkom: How McGuinty’s windmill dreams became a nightmare

Published On Sat Jan 15 2011

Dr. Robert McMurtry heads up the Society for Wind Vigilance, a new international body investigating wind power. Dr. Robert McMurtry heads up the Society for Wind Vigilance, a new international body investigating wind power.

LUCAS OLENIUK/TORONTO STAR FILE PHOTO

By Thomas Walkom National Affairs Columnist

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jQuery(document).ready(function(){
if (jQuery('.ts-main_article2_image').width()When Dalton McGuinty embraced wind power four years ago, it seemed he couldn’t lose.

Politically, his support for this infinitely renewable form of energy put the Ontario premier firmly on the side of the environmental angels.

Even more important, McGuinty’s Liberals pitched their commitment to wind as part of a comprehensive, green industrial strategy.

The government would not merely use wind turbines to generate electricity. It would also subsidize firms to build the giant machines for export.

In effect, windmills would be to the new Ontario what autos were to the old — the province’s economic driver.

Critics of the premier’s ambitious schemes were dismissed as cranks and nutters infected with a not-in-my-backyard syndrome.

To ensure that these self-seekers and know-nothings didn’t interfere with the government’s bold plans, Queen’s Park stripped municipal councils of their power to regulate wind turbines.

On paper, the plan seemed a sure winner.

But that was before Dr. Bob McMurtry.

McMurtry is neither a crank nor a nutter. An orthopedic surgeon and former dean of medicine at London’s University of Western Ontario, he is part of the country’s medical and political establishment.

He’s acted as a health advisor to the former federal Liberal government. In the early 2000s, he was a key advisor to Roy Romanow’s royal commission into Medicare.

McMurtry’s brother, Roy — a Red Tory and former attorney general — was Ontario’s chief justice for 11 years.

Bob McMurtry began as a strong advocate of wind power, keen to have a turbine built on the 16-hectare Eastern Ontario farm he bought four years ago for retirement.

As he explained in a telephone interview this week, he hoped to generate his own power and sell the rest to Ontario’s electricity network.

But being a scientific sort of chap, McMurtry began by researching the issue.

What he discovered alarmed him. In particular, he ran into evidence — re-enforced by personal encounters later — that low-frequency humming associated with wind turbines may lead to chronic sleeplessness, stress and even hypertension causing heart disease for anyone living within two kilometres of a machine.

What alarmed him more was that the provincial government did not even monitor this low-frequency noise. As well, under Ontario rules, giant windmills need be no more than 550 metres from any residence.

So in 2009, he made the not terribly radical suggestion that Queen’s Park conduct a proper, arms-length study on the health effects of industrial wind turbines before authorizing any more.

Failing that, he said, it should insist that new turbines be set at least two kilometres away from any dwelling.

The wind industry was outraged. Fearful of being enmeshed in red tape, wind power firms argued strongly against such a study. Their case was bolstered last May after provincial medical officer of health Dr. Arlene King issued a report saying no scientific evidence exists to show that wind turbines harm human health.

McMurtry countered that this is because no one has ever conducted a proper study — which is why he wants one.

Those interested in the dueling scientific arguments can find King’s report on the Ontario government website and McMurtry’s response at www.windvigilance.com.

But regardless of who wins the substantive debate, McGuinty’s windmill dreams have already become political nightmares.

Dozens of rural municipal councils, angered by the province’s decision to take away their regulatory authority, have passed motions of complaint.

Even the Ontario Federation of Agriculture — which represents farmers who rent their land to wind firms — has called for a moratorium on new turbines until a serious health study can be done.

The opposition Conservatives smell blood.

Trotting around through all of this is the unassuming Bob McMurtry.

He heads up a new international body of doctors and scientists investigating wind power called the Society for Wind Vigilance. Throughout small-town Ontario, he is in great demand as a speaker.

“There’s a real level of anger there,” he told me. “Rural Ontario is on fire.”

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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.

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

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One of the things the wind power proponents enjoy doing, especially for the urban dwellers who believe that wind power generation is clean and green and inexpensive, is to claim that no one in other countires is having a problem with exposure to industrial-scale wind turbines and the noise and infrasound they produce.

Wrong.

Last month, Denmark announced it is not putting up any more onshore turbines because of the health problems and noise complaints; we know that people in every other country in the world with wind turbines are having problems, too. Now, here is a news release from Australian physician Dr Sarah Laurie, whom we had the pleasure meeting at the recent First International Symposium on the Global Wind Industry and Health Effects.

November 16, 2010

Media Release   

Doctor Advises Clean Energy Council to Admit Adverse Health Effects of Wind Turbines

Former Rural GP, Dr Sarah Laurie condemned a report released by the Clean Energy Council last week as lacking integrity for not admitting  that some rural Australians are indeed becoming very ill, when they live or work adjacent to wind turbines.

“The major issue for families living in the vicinity of wind turbines is noise for extended periods of time leading to chronic sleep deprivation, which itself is associated with all sorts of health problems including heart disease, high blood pressure, suppressed immunity, difficulties concentrating and depression” said Dr Laurie.

The Clean Energy Council commissioned SONUS report acknowledged that complaints generally relate to concerns regarding noise and health related impacts.

Dr Laurie is now the Medical Director of the Waubra Foundation, a not-for-profit organisation committed to the independent study of health effects of wind turbines on rural communities.

The foundation is concerned at the absence of any published independent peer reviewed studies showing wind turbines are actually safe in close proximity to people over the longer term.

There is however, mounting evidence across the world that these turbines do cause major health problems, identical to those described by Dr Nina Pierpont and Dr Michael Nissenbaum at an international conference in Canada in October attended by Dr Laurie.

“I have now interviewed over 40  people in rural Australia who have been affected by wind turbines, with the same symptoms”.

“The reality for some neighbours of wind turbines in Australia is that they become extremely unwell.  Some have been forced to leave their family homes, farms and livelihoods as they can no longer work their land.  Others are unable to leave, as their main asset is their house and land, which becomes unsaleable” said Dr Laurie.

The SONUS report states that only a few field studies on noise annoyance among people living close to turbines have been conducted and further investigations have been recommended.

The Waubra Foundation believes there is an urgent need for independent academic acoustic and medical research into this important area before more turbines are constructed close to people’s homes and workplaces.

“We call on the government and the wind industry to commit to funding these independent studies without delay,” concluded Dr Laurie.

Contact Dr Sarah Laurie  08 8636 2051 or 0439 865 914

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

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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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A report on the International Symposium on the Global Wind Industry and Health Effects, which was attended by several people from the North Gower area, as well as several hundred participants from the UK, US, and Australia.

The first international symposium on The Global Wind Industry and Adverse Health Effects put on by The Society For Wind Vigilance was solid and powerful.
 
Dr. Robert McMurtry, M.D., F.R.C.S.(C), F.A.C.S., was moderator for the event and did a wonderful job of keeping everything moving along.  There was time for questions and comments set aside after speakers.
 
On Friday evening, we heard Orville Walsh speak to different setback distances.  
 
John Harrison, Ph.D., reviewed deficiencies in regulations and limitations in noise modeling.
 
On Saturday morning, Nina Pierpont, M.D., Ph.D., keynote speaker, spoke to navigating the surreal landscape of massive and systematic denial, cover-up and apathy to the suffering of many near wind turbines and to her work on Wind Turbine Syndrome.  The Society for Wind Vigilance recognized Dr. Pierpont as the pioneer in raising the issue of adverse health effects from industrial wind turbines.  She received a standing ovation!
 
Alec Salt, Ph.D. Cochlear Physiology, M.Sc.,B.Sc, Biology, demonstrated that the ear is far more complex than a microphone and that it actively amplifies high frequency sounds as it cancels out infrasonic sounds.
 
Arline Bronzaft, B.A., M.A., Ph.D., shared her knowledge on the effects of intrusive noise on child development and learning. 
 
Dr. Christopher Hanning, B.Sc., MB, BS, MRCS, LRCP, FRCA, MD, told us that the most common complaint of those exposed to industrial wind turbine noise is sleep disturbance.  Many of the other symptoms, fatigue, headache, nausea, memory problems and tiredness are probably secondary to sleep disturbance.  He says there is now a large body of evidence proving beyond any reasonable doubt that sleep is disturbed and health impaired by wind turbines at distances up to 2km, at noise levels claimed to be safe by the industry.
 
During a working luncheon,[PowerHungry author and journalist] Robert Bryce explained that the growth of the wind industry came about because of the industry’s ability to portray itself as “green”.  He told us that the growth will be difficult to sustain because the industry has overstated its ability to deliver meaningful savings on carbon dioxide emissions, it faces a growing backlash from affected landowners and from ratepayers who are learning about the high cost of “green” energy.
 
After lunch, Michael A. Nissenbaum, MD, discussed his findings on the world’s first controlled study of adverse health effects related to industrial wind turbines.  He reports that adverse effects are real and significant.  Since the pilot study was completed, a larger, more detailed and standardized controlled study has been undertaken at Mars Hill and Vinalhaven, Maine, utilizing validated questionnaires.
 
Carl V. Phillips, Ph.D., sent his presentation for us to hear in his absence.  He is awaiting the arrival of a new son/daughter at any minute and was unable to travel to the symposium in person.  He says the claim that there is no evidence of negative health effects from wind turbines near residences is clearly false since there are ample credible reports of people experiencing problems.  He is working on developing a research tool for collecting case-crossover data for use by any community.
 
Carmen Krogh, B.SC. Pharmacy, spoke to the consequences of the violation of social justice for families worldwide who are affected by turbines.  She states that those experiencing symptoms also feel victimized by the very systems that would normally protect them.  In some cases, Ontario families have abandoned their homes to protect their health. 
 
Eric K. Gillespie, LLB, spoke to legal challenges and opportunities that are being pursued, strategies that include private litigation brought by individuals, public interest litigation raising broader issues, by-laws, resolutions and other steps taken by local government and administrative hearings outside of the court system.
 
On Sunday morning, the room was full again to listen to Ross McKitrick, Ph.D., ask if coal kills, where are the bodies?  He explained the nature of the coal plants currently operating in Ontario and air pollution trends.  He was able to show that the claims that current air pollution levels result in thousands of cases of illness and death are not supported in up-to-date, peer-reviewed literature.
 
Dale Goldhawk, broadcaster, told us that everyone thought dump site 41 was a done deal, that nothing could be done to stop it.  He says there are no done deals with projects that are counter to the best interests of people – and that includes wind turbines!  He wants us to remember the words of Gandhi:  First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.  Mr. Goldhawk will be speaking to industrial wind turbines all this week on his show, Nov. 1st to Nov. 8th and he would love to hear from you!  Shows start at 11:00a.m. each day on 740am radio or http://zoomerradio.ca 
Call in at 1-866-740-4740 or 1-416-360-0740 or email to fightback@goldhawk.com
 
Dr. Robert McMurtry eloquently summarized the weekend for us and thanked our speakers, all traveled to the symposium at their own expense, for sharing their knowledge with us.  It was uplifting to see the caring and concern in the room. There was an award and a standing ovation for all of the speakers! 
 
There were hundreds of messages of support from around the world for the first international symposium on the global wind industry and adverse health effects!  There will be a comprehensive list posted on www.windvigilance.com when the team catches their breath again.  Messages came from New Zealand, Canada, Australia, Germany, EPAW, Japan, Spain, Sweden, Untited Kingdom, United States, Belgium, Crete, Denmark, Estonia, France, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands and Poland. 
 
From all around the globe, people spoke of correcting an unethical wrong and of their gratitude to the Society for arranging this powerful weekend of speakers.

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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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