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Posts Tagged ‘wind farm North Gower’

One of our members/supporters asked recently about land near Hunt Club and why it couldn’t be used for industrial wind turbines, as it’s close to transmission lines etc. There are a lot of reasons why that wouldn’t work (the fact that wind energy is a complete scam being top of the list) including closeness to the airport etc., but among them is the fact that that land is considered the greenbelt and is immune to development.

Or so the people north of Toronto thought, about their greenbelt lands.

Turns out the McGuinty government is trying to push through construction of a natural gas power generation plant in the area north of Toronto, specifically near the market gardens of Holland Marsh. How does the province plan to do this? Simply by passing a regulation to the Planning Act, making this power plant exempt from rules for the greenbelt.

Like the Green Energy Act, this new regulation will remove any planning powers the municipalities have, and citizens will have no choice…and no say.

“This should scare the living Jesus out of everybody in the province,” said Jamie Reaume, head of the Holland Marsh Growers Association. If the Greenbelt isn’t sacred, he argued, “this means this can be done anywhere, any time.”

Ontario Energy and Infrastructure Minister Brad Duguid says that’s not what the government intends.

Read the full article from the Globe and Mail here:

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/toronto/province-pushing-through-greenbelt-power-plant/article1590343/

To get in touch with us, email northgowerwindactiongroup@yahoo.ca

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Since our provincial government thought so little of the concerns of dozens of municipalities throughout Ontario, and the people who are suffering because corporate wind developers have built industrial wind turbines too close to homes (in some cases, rendering them uninhabitable so the developers have to buy the properties), we’re not going to spend much time discussing the 14-page report released yesterday by Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health.

It is simply another review, and in many cases the papers reviewed were themselves reviews. It includes the infamous, industry-funded report by Colby, Dobie, Leventhall, et al, which has been roundly discredited as biased and inadequate. It also pointedly includes criticism of the work done by Dr Nina Pierpont (author of Wind Turbine Syndrome).

Here’s the truth: everyone knows that sleep deprivation causes health problems. Everyone knows that constant noise and vibration/soundpressure/infrasound disturbs sleep. If industrial wind turbines are built too close to homes and disturb sleep at night (when they are at their noisiest) then it is more than likely there will be health problems for some people.

Here’s a quote from a 2005 study on traffic noise: “More people are exposed to noise from traffic than from any other noise sources. The degree of noise perception by humans is inflenced by various psychological factors and the syurrounding physical environment. There are numerous health risks due to elevated and prolonged exposure to noise such as irritation, hearing degradation, ability to perceive and process information, sleep deprivation, etc. Lack of sleep has a negative effect on performance,attentiveness and alertness.” (Ilgakojis, Jotautiene et al, 2005. Urban Transport)

That’s just one paper.

The report from the Chief Medical Officer of Health is inadequate, flawed, selective in its sources, and very narrow in its focus. And once again, not a clinical study, i.e., not a single actual person was contacted or examined. And once again, they bring up the idea that if people near wind “farms” felt they were being treated fairly, their “attitudes” would be influenced.

Tax dollars went into the preparation of this “report”. It is indeed a disappointment that it has done nothing to advance experience or knowledge about the important questions concerning industrial wind turbines.

To read the report, go to:

http://www.health.gov.on.ca/en/public/publications/ministry_reports/wind_turbine/wind_turbine.aspx

French – http://www.health.gov.on.ca/fr/public/publications/ministry_reports/wind_turbine/wind_turbine.aspx

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Here are some thoughts on the health effects from Dr Michael Nissenbaum who has been conducting a study of the residents living near Mars Hill. As those who attended our April 13 information meeting will know, early results of his study show that the majority of people living in proximity to the industrial wind turbines there are experiencing effects on their health.

As you read this, bear in mind the topography of the North Gower-Richmond area, which is an internationally known site because it is a drumlin field.

Wind Turbines, Health, Ridgelines, and Valleys

Author:  Nissenbaum, Michael

It is a medical fact that sleep disturbance and perceived stress result in ill effects, including and especially cardiovascular disease, but also chronic feelings of depression, anger, helplessness, and, in the aggregate, the banishment of happiness and reduced quality of life.

Cardiovascular disease, as we all now, leads to reduced life expectancy. Try and get reasonably priced life insurance if you are hypertensive or have suffered a heart attack.

If industrial wind turbines installed in close proximity to human habitation result in sleep disturbance and stress, then it follows as surely as day follows night that wind turbines will, over the long term, result in these serious health effects and reduced quality of life.

The question is, then, do they?

In my investigation of Mars Hill, Maine, 22 out of about 30 adults (‘exposed’) who live within 3500 feet of a ridgeline arrangement of 28 1.5 MW wind turbines were evaluated to date, and compared with 27 people of otherwise similar age and occupation living about 3 miles away (Not Exposed).

Here is what was found:

82% (18/22) of exposed subjects reported new or worsened chronic sleep deprivation, versus 4% (1 person) in the non-exposed group. 41% of exposed people reported new chronic headaches vs 4% in the control group. 59% (13/22) of the exposed reported ‘stress’ versus none in the control group, and 77% (17/22) persistent anger versus none in the people living 3 miles away. More than a third of the study subjects had new or worsened depression, with none in the control group. 95% (21/22) of the exposed subjects perceived reduced quality of life, versus 0% in the control group. Underlining these findings, there were 26 new prescription medications offered to the exposed subjects, of which 15 were accepted, compared to 4 new or increased prescriptions in the control group. The prescriptions ranged from anti-hypertensives and antidepressants to anti migraine medications among the exposed. The new medications for the non exposed group were anti-hypertensives and anti-arthritics.

The Mars Hill study will soon be completed and is being prepared for publication. Preliminary findings have been presented to the Chief Medical Officer for Ontario, and have been presented to Health Canada, by invitation. Earlier partial results were presented to the Maine Medical Association, which passed a Resolution calling for caution, further study, and appropriate modification of siting regulations, at its annual meeting in 2009.

There is absolutely no doubt that people living within 3500 feet of a ridgeline arrangement of turbines 1.5 MW or larger turbines in a rural environment will suffer negative effects.

The study was undertaken as a pilot project to evaluate for a cluster of symptoms after numerous media reports, in order to present data to the Maine Medical Association, after the Maine CDC failed to more fully investigate.

While the study is not perfect, it does suggest a real problem that warrants not only further more detailed investigation, but the tenderest caution, in the meantime, when decisions on how to site industrial wind turbines are made.

What is it about northeast USA ridgelines that contribute to these ill effects, and how can they be avoided?

Consider, the Northeast is prone to icing conditions. Icing will increase the sound coming off of turbines by up to 6 dBA. As the icing occurs symmetrically on all blades, imbalance detectors do not kick on, and the blades keep turning, contrary to wind industry claims.

Sound is amplified coming off of ridgelines into valleys. This is because the background noise in rural valleys is low to begin with, increasing the sensitivity to changes, particularly the beating, pulsatile nature of wind turbine noise, and sound sources at elevation do not undergo the same attenuation that occurs from groundcover when noise sources are at ground level. The noise travels farther and hits homes and people at greater amplitude that it would from a lower elevation. Even though this is not rocket science, it was conclusively proven in a NASA funded study in 1990.

Snow pack and ice contribute to increased noise transmission. Vermont valleys have both, I believe.

Preconstruction sound modeling fails to take the tendency of the homes that people live in to respond and vibrate perceptibly to sound at frequencies that the occupants of the dwellings cannot necessarily hear. They hear, and feel, the walls and windows rattle, and the floors vibrate, in a pulsing manner at a frequency or the turbine rpm.

When preconstruction modeling fails to take the pulsatile nature, propensity for icing, and ridgeline elevation into account, as well as a linear as opposed to point source of noise, problems can be expected. What distance is safe? It depends on the terrain, the climate, the size of the project and the turbines themselves. Accurate preconstruction modeling with safe targets in mind is critical. The WHO says that 30dbA is ideal, and noise levels of above 40dbA have definite health consequences. At Mars Hill, where affected homes are present at 3500 feet, sound levels have been measured at over 52.5dbA. The fiasco there has been acknowledged by the local wind energy company, and by a former Maine governor.

Vermont would do well to learn from the affected people in Mars Hill.

I have seen the preliminary plans for the planned Deerfield Wind Facility, and have particular concerns regarding the dwellings to the north and northeast of the northernmost extension of the turbine layout. These homes are well within a mile, generally downwind, and downhill from what I am told may well be 2 MW turbines (or larger?), in a snowy and icy part of the Northeast.

The parallels to Mars Hill are striking.

We know that preconstruction sound modeling failed at Mars Hill. No matter what the preconstruction modeling at Deerfield shows, the real world experiment at Mars Hill suggests that there will be problems for homes at the setbacks that seem to be planned for Deerfield on the attached image.

The people who live within 3500 feet at Mars Hill are truly suffering. Learn from Mars Hill. It is not a matter of not having wind turbines. It is a matter of putting them where they will not affect people’s health.

Newer technology to accurately measure sound at a quantum level improvement in temporal, frequency and amplitude resolution over commonly used acoustician’s equipment now exists, though it is costly and not readily available. But it will be widespread, soon, well within the tenure of the individuals responsible for making siting decisions today.

Avail yourselves of these findings and familiarize yourselves with the new technologies. You will not only be future proofing your current decisions, you will also be helping people who would otherwise end up too close to industrial wind turbines escape the fate of the exposed residents of Mars Hill, and many other sites in North America (Mars Hill, Maine, merely represents the first small ‘controlled’ study).

I have seen the results of this cutting edge equipment, and how it has revealed drastic short duration excesses over allowed sound levels, levels that set homes vibrating and rendering them unlivable, but also levels of lower frequency transient noise at the audible level, that demonstrates not only failure of preconstruction sound modeling as currently practiced, but also the inadequacy of the measuring tools in the toolkit of the everyday practicing acoustician-consultant who generates reports for industry and local government.

—Montpelier, VT, May 7, 2010

Michael A. Nissenbaum, MD
University of Toronto (MD), McGill University (Specialty Diagnostic Imaging), University of California (Fellowship)
Harvard University Medical School (junior faculty, Associate Director of MRI, BIH)
Currently, Radiologist, NMMC, Ft. Kent, Maine

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While we are counting the moments until the big march begins at Queen’s Park today, we must consider what we are up against in terms of the wind industry and their claims about the environment. Why is a struggle for health meeting such resistance from our government that is supposed to protect us?

A review appeared in the Wall Street Journal yesterday on the new book Power Hungry and may contain some answers: wind turbine developments, author Bryce says, use 45 times as much land as a nuclear power plant to produce as much energy. Efficient? No: wind energy is an instant snack when it’s working and akin to “famine” when it’s not. Factor in the amount of resources used for construction, the potential for damage to the environment and wildlife, and the last thing wind development is is “green”.

“People are dying from coal”? Not hardly: we know that isn’t true in Ontario, where over 90% of the emissions come from south of the border and much of the rest from cars.

We have to look at “the big picture” in terms of saving the environment? Well, wind turbine development is a pretty sad big picture.

So WHY does the wind industry keep coming up with these statements which are patently untrue?

Money.

Dr John Harrison said that each industrial wind turbine represents about $500,000 a year in revenue to the developer. We did the math for North Gower-Richmond and he’s about right, just over $400,000 a year. Per turbine. (The landowners, who have sacrificed their community and relationships with friends and neighbours for money, typically get $7,500 to $10,000 a year, per turbine. Is it worth it?)

So that lets you know what we’re up against: big money. Very big money.

Forget the talk of “community involvement” and “saving farm life” and saving the environment.

What happens at Queen’s Park today will show the Ontario government how people living in rural communities feel about what’s happening to our lives, in the name of money.

To get in touch with us, email northgowerwindactiongroup@yahoo.ca

Donations to help with our awareness program and our legal assistance are gratefully received. Mail us at PO Box 485, North Gower, ON   K0A 2T0

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The North Gower Wind Action Group recently sent out a news release to announce that we had hired an environmental law firm to advise on how to protect local residents regarding the Marlborough wind turbine development. Chair Gary Chandler was quoted as saying, “It’s a shame that Ontario citizens now have to hire lawyers to find out what’s going on in the wind energy development process, and to protect people’s health and property values.”

Why was this necessary? Because the process in Ontario leaves out municipalities, and citizens…we have virtually no say in the process and the approval process is completely focused on getting these developments up and running. The wind developers do their own environmental assessments and, although citizens have the opportunity to review and comment, and request that the Ontario Ministry of the Environment do its own assessment, not one project in Ontario has ever seen that happen.

It is true that Prowind is following the process, but if it was so great, why are more than 50 municipalities/towns protesting?

And we’ve seen the results across Ontario: noise injected into the environment, worst at night; vibration and “infrasound”; bird kills; and more.

Prowind responded with a letter to the editor of the newspaper in Arnprior, Ontario.  You can read it here:

http://www.emcarnprior.ca/20100326/editorials/Wind+farm+developer+responds+to+concerns

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