Letters of the Month
Sorry! I have not been able to keep this list up. We have continued to receive a steady stream of letters supporting our opposition to this project.
Dear Mr. Martin (Northland Power) and Mr. McKinnon (Dillon Consulting),
I have copied you both on a letter that I sent to Premier Dalton McGuinty regarding McLean’s Mountain Wind Project. In summary, I am opposed.
In addition to details in the letter, I would like to add some further comments on this project. Firstly, while I agree that Ontarians need to rush to alternative power and away from fossil fuels, I think that the driving forces should stem from community and be complemented with a culture of energy conservation. The proposed wind project is neither, and has several negative aspects to it that are worth drawing attention to.
Firstly, McLean’s mountain contains many unique ecological features that I believe were missed in the biological portion of the watered-down Environmental Impact Assessment. Alvar communities are sensitive to development and are not commonly represented in Ontario. They contain many unique plant, invertebrate, and vertebrate species. There are also amphibians and reptiles in this area that are listed Species at Risk (possibly including the snapping turtle, Blandings turtle, Henslow’s sparrow, vesper sparrow, Northern Leopard Frog, and others). I was not convinced that a suitable investigation into impacts on bat species was undertaken.
Secondly, I don’t believe that the development company has been very realistic in economic impact projections. While some short-term jobs in aggregate are likely, I don’t see any long-term jobs arising from this development; I believe they would be sourced abroad among already-hired company employees. In terms of land values of impacted properties, I believe we will see a decline in property values, tourism interest, and recreational opportunities (unless you consider it recreational to shoot at turbines). Municipalities will be stuck servicing roads that otherwise would have remained undeveloped, and repairing damages to existing roads due to the intensive traffic of heavy machinery.
Thirdly, I believe that there are better alternatives to a wind development. Manitoulin Island has many barn, shed, and house roofs available for solar development. These would have less environmental impact with the added advantages of producing power at peak demand periods, supplying the local electrical grid, and having the possibility that local contractors could service them mechanically and electrically. Micro-hydro installations are also possible in many locations, with many of the same advantages of solar except that they would reliably supply power 24 hours a day.
I am hopeful that the McLean’s Mountain project does not continue, and that future energy investments on Manitoulin Island arise from community cooperation and not corporate encroachment.
While I do not live in the vicinity of McLean’s Mountain, nor do I even live on or near Manitoulin Island, I am constantly drawn to this area for its wonderful small-town atmosphere, freedom from corporate interests, and fantastic recreational opportunities. I think that all of these features are jeopardized by wind farm projects.
It is clear to me that such developments serve the political and consumptive problems of southern Ontario. These developments could never stand up to a rigorous environmental impact study, and it is politically expedient for your government to rubber stamp such projects to appease the ignorance of your average voter.
Personally, I do not understand why the Standard Offer did not entice more Ontarians to enter into the solar market. I imagine that this must also frustrate a government that has committed to increasing the supply of renewable power in the province. However, I think that pushing wind farms and nuclear plants is absolutely not the right strategy.
While I may not have any great solutions to the looming energy crisis in Ontario, I do have several reasonable suggestions. The first is to continue encouraging a culture of energy conservation in the province, starting with government. We need to see governments play a greater tangible role in engaging in a wide range of energy reduction technologies such as LED street lighting, energy-efficient office lighting, better work-from-home opportunities, smaller government vehicle fleets composed of more efficient vehicles, and government building renovations that incorporate solar energy production, grey-water recycling, solar hot water, renewable building materials, etc, etc, etc.
Ontario’s power grid doesn’t need expanding. It needs contraction, compartmentalization, integration, more on-site power production, and most importantly conservation.
Will development of McLean’s Mountain help Manitoulin Island produce more local energy, or will it feed the larger provincial grid? Is it a symbol of progress, or development? Is it environmentally sustainable, or is it green-washed corporate devilry?
I think that you understand the larger picture and the greater stakes than one relatively small wind development. We need to get away from burdening rural communities with urban Ontario’s power problems. Let’s move forward with intelligent solutions. Let’s recognize the importance of the environment in ALL of our decisions and insist on proper environmental impact assessments of all developments. Let’s do things right.
Sincerely, Jeremy St.Onge
Apology could lead to rural votes
By MICHAEL DEN TANDT
Posted 5 days ago
Here’s something Premier Dalton McGuinty could do if he wanted to mitigate the destruction of his party in every corner of rural Ontario, come October.
He could appear on TV and say something like this: I’m sorry. I messed up. The Green Energy Act, our entire approach to energy, is wrong. We need to scrap it and start over. And we will.
Starting today, we put the interests of people first.
When we launched our wind energy program, we had the best of intentions. We believed wind turbines offered a relatively cheap, clean source of energy that could help wean Ontario off coal. We thought it would provide rural people with additional income. We thought it was a win-win.
Politically it was a no-brainer, because a clear majority of Ontarians were enthusiastic about wind power and green energy generally. It seemed like a pragmatic way to move us away from our reliance on fossil fuels. And there was a clear social consensus that man-made global warming was a very serious problem with an obvious solution.
Since then, a great deal has changed. The numbers of people reporting health problems as a result of proximity to wind turbines has multiplied. Nobody wants to live next to them or own property next to them. There are anti-wind protest movements in every corner of Ontario.
The science of man-made global warming has come under new scrutiny. It turns out there is no clear scientific consensus on the causes of global warming, or on whether any future climate change can be predicted with accuracy. As a result, the international movement to “fight” climate change has stalled.
In Ontario the social consensus around wind power has dissolved.
This has happened gradually. Our government failed to recognize this change. So we’re now stuck defending a policy that is no longer popular. We make our arguments about the great benefits of wind power to Ontarians, but nobody believes us.
We still think alternative energy is the way to go. But we’re reinventing our approach. From today onward, we’re going small — family-sized, in fact.
If re-elected this October, we’ll put serious money into developing compact, integrated alternative energy systems that can provide families with all the clean, sustainable energy they need — with perhaps a little extra to sell back to the grid. Small, modern, quiet windmills will play a part. But so will solar. So will geothermal. So will micro-hydro.
We’ll offer incentives to industry and to universities who lead applied research in this area, focusing on the small.
Our goal is to foster an Ontario industry that produces, for example, roofing tiles that store solar energy. We’d like to see an Ontario company develop and mass-market small, lightweight, very strong wind turbines, no taller than a telephone pole.
We’ll help farmers buy them.
If Ontarians have a flowing river or a creek on their property we’ll help them acquire the micro-hydro technology they need to harness that energy in a small way.
We will not allow big multi-national companies to trample on the rights of Ontario landowners. We will send them packing. We will restore the power of municipalities, led by local citizens, to determine the scale of energy project they are comfortable with, if any.
No one has a right to do things that materially devalues a neighbour’s property or harms their health. That is a sacred principle in Ontario and we are restoring its pride of place.
The Cost of Wind
I read the guest editorial “An Ill Wind” written by Mr. Shane Jolley that
appeared in your May 9, 2011 edition and would like to help set the
record straight with the following response to some of the claims made by
Mr. Jolley in that editorial:
IESO reported that Ontario consumed 146 TWh in 2010 of which 2.9 TWh came
from wind. That is 2% of our consumption. Nuclear provided 75.9 TWh or
52% of our consumption and gas provided 21.9 TWh or 15%. Most of the
balance came from hydro.
Nuclear is base load power (we can’t simply shut it down) whereas wind is
intermittent and tends to produce when we don’t need it! That is why we
have to back it up — with gas plants that are paid $135,000 per MW per
annum to sit idle-meaning that wind production costs are actually more
then the contracted rate of $135 per MWH if you were to add that support
cost in to their contracted price. Mr. Jolley’s editiorial did not make
If one was to also add in spilled hydro ie; wasted clean energy to that
contracted amount; it gets worse. OPG regularly spill hydro when wind is
producing and we don’t need it-witness many of those weekends going back
to December 2010 when we were exporting our surplus power at big costs to
other juristrictions–at the same time we were spilling hydro which only
costs us 3.7 cents or less per kWh. This means OPG must forego revenue
which may have gone to pay out the old Ontario Hydro stranded debt. So
wind, when it actually produces, delays paying out that debt!
The subsidies (without the above add ons) to wind developers in Mr.
Jolley’s editorial, appears to be the only number that may be close to
reality but it is climbing rapidly and is now running at about $350
million per annum (as at the end of April with 1400 MW of installed
capacity). With wind forcast to be at 8400 MW of installed capacity by
2018 the subsidy to wind (not counting the gas backup or spilled hydro,
or steamed off nuclear or the new transmission builds) will be somewhere
in the region of $2 billion.
Where Mr. Jolley got the $1.35 billion for nuclear subsidies I have no
idea but in 2009 we paid approximately $$4.2 billion for about 76 TWh of
nuclear production that we used (an average of about $55. per MWH). I
believe he is referring to the power we paid Bruce Nuclear (private)
which was power actually delivered to the grid. On occasions however,
even Bruce is required to run off steam (not run it through the turbines)
when wind is producing and they too get paid for not producing–just like
the gas generators. This has occured on several weekends. The other
amount we paid for nuclear was paid to OPG for power produced at
Darlington & Pickering. So Nuclear produced 26 times more power then wind
at an all-in cost of 5.5 cents a kWh including the production from Bruce.
If I was to guess what wind truly costs us, it is probably well over
$250. per MWH or 25 cents per kWh. Add in the expense of transmission
builds–estimated at another 5 cents a kWh to connect the wind to the grid
and the economic sense of wind energy becomes a really dumb idea.
Presently the wholesale price of power when IESO sell it is averaging
about $31 per MW. Wind production costs the ratepayers of this province
about 9 times that!
He is also wrong about line losses. Line losses to remote area’s are
approximately 9% and for local supply its about 2%. All Mr. Jolley needs
do to figure that out is to look at his last bill to see what the
As an outsider that has spent considerable time looking at our energy
structure in this province I find it disheartening that so many erroneous
articles are written about it and wanted to assist your readers in
ensuring that they get accurate information.
Wind energy’s dirty secret: Blizzard
Mining mineral for windmill magnets causes environmental disaster
By CHRISTINA BLIZZARD, Toronto Sun
Last Updated: February 26, 2011 7:48pm
What’s the fastest growing cash crop in rural Ontario — after pot, that
is? Try wind turbines. These ugly eyesores are sprouting like weeds and
are being foisted on unwilling hosts in rural Ontario.
Two weeks ago, Energy Minister Brad Duguid scrapped plans to put offshore
turbines in Lake Ontario — close to his riding. On Thursday, though, he
announced a fresh crop in rural Ontario — this time for Smithville, in
Tory Leader Tim Hudak’s Niagara riding.
While the Liberals insist it’s all about clean energy, a recent article
in a British Newspaper shows wind turbines are anything but green. A
story by Simon Parry and Ed Douglas in the Daily Mail, Jan. 29, describes
a horrific toxic stew brewing in China as a result of our search for the
great, green holy grail.
The toxic lake left behind after mining for “rare earth metals” needed
for the turbines’ magnets is creating an environmental boondoggle of epic
proportions. (There are 17 rare earth metals, so called not because
they’re scarce, but because they occur in scattered deposits of minerals
and are not concentrated. According to the article, one of those,
Neodymium, is commonly used to make the most powerful magnets in the
The city of Baotou, in Inner Mongolia, is home to more than 90% of the
world’s rare earth metals. “On the outskirts of one of China’s most
polluted cities, an old farmer stares despairingly out across an immense
lake of bubbling toxic waste covered in black dust. He remembers it as
fields of wheat and corn,” says the lead paragraph. It continues.
The process used to extract the element from the ground and processing
it, “has an appalling environmental impact that raises serious questions
over the credibility of so-called green technology.
“Hidden out of sight behind smoke-shrouded factory complexes in the city
of Baotou, and patrolled by platoons of security guards, lies a five-mile
wide ‘tailing’ lake. It has killed farmland for miles around, made
thousands of people ill and put one of China’s key waterways in
jeopardy,” says the article.
“This vast, hissing cauldron of chemicals is the dumping ground for seven
million tons a year of mined rare earth after it has been doused in acid
and chemicals and processed through red-hot furnaces to extract its
So, you’re still convinced this is the clean, green energy of the future?
This makes the oilsands look pristine.
“Rusting pipelines meander for miles from factories processing rare
earths in Baotou out to the man-made lake where, mixed with water, the
foul-smelling radioactive waste from this industrial process is pumped
day after day. No signposts and no paved roads lead here, and as we
approach security guards shoo us away and tail us. When we finally
break through the cordon and climb sand dunes to reach its brim, an
apocalyptic sight greets us: A giant, secret toxic dump, made bigger by
every wind turbine we build.”
And here in Ontario, we’re building them by the thousand. What’s our
share of this mess?
The story quotes retired farmer Su Bairen, 69: “‘At first it was just a
hole in the ground,’ he says. ‘When it dried in the winter and summer, it
turned into a black crust and children would play on it. Then one or two
of them fell through and drowned in the sludge below. Since then,
children have stayed away.’”
Plants withered. Livestock died. Villagers say their teeth began to fall
out, their hair turned white at unusually young ages, and they suffered
from severe skin and
respiratory diseases. Children were born with soft bones and cancer
rates rocketed,” says the Mail.
Still gung-ho to go green?
Every time I see a new turbine I’ll think of those children dying
horrific deaths. And I’ll hang my head in shame at the environmental
disaster we’ve created.
email@example.com Twitter: @ChrizBlizz
My family owns a summer cottage on Jules Lane in Rockville. I have been
coming up to Rockville for many, many years with my siblings and parents,
as have my children. My grandmother and her siblings were born and raised
on the Island. My great Aunt Lily Spry settled in Rockville, and was a
school teacher on the Island in a one room school house. The Manitoulin
Island has a special magic to it, which cannot be fully felt until you
have experienced it yourself. To think of it losing its beauty
to these structures is beyond sad. I hope you can see the importance of
maintaining the history and beauty of the Island. I know things change
with time, but to destroy the beauty of nature is indeed a loss of
balance. Please see it in your hearts and your soul to do the right thing
to maintain the natural habitats, as well as the beauty of the bluffs of
the Manitoulin Island.
The summer residences have contributed greatly to the economy from paying
taxes to supporting local businesses. Please consider our voice in this
matter of the wind farms. Thank you.
Kimberly ( Winston) Christensen
How McGuinty’s windmill dreams became a nightmare
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.”
Some of the most beautiful areas in Northern Ontario can be found where the land meets the water. An especially striking example is the area around Manitoulin Island, McGregor Bay, and Killarney. My family and I have a summer camp on Lake Manitou. We enjoy boating, hiking, cycling, and travelling throughout the area, primarily during the spring, summer and fall.
Given its natural beauty, why would anyone want to erect 43 steel towers on this landscape? According to the Manitoulin Coalition for Safe Energy Alternatives, the wind turbines destined for McLean’s Mountain will be 26 stories high (10 feet = 1 story). With the additional height of turbine blades (another 15 stories when vertical), the tower and blades combined will be more than 40 stories high. That’s one-third the height of Sudbury’s Super Stack. Sudbury has just one Super Stack, but there are plans for forty three of these monstrosities– on top of McLean’s Mountain! An industrial-scale wind turbine installation does not suit this landscape.
The turbines won’t hide discretely behind hills or in valleys either. They will stand on prominent heights of land where there is more wind. The blades will turn relentlessly, day and night (when there is wind), and they will dwarf the tallest trees. There will be strobe lights at night, so that even on the darkest night you won’t forget them. Trees will be cleared and farmland carved up so that service roads can be built to each tower to support heavy machinery and trucks. The towers will be anchored by concrete footings set 20 feet into the ground. Once built, they won’t be going anywhere, ever.
These projects would not be viable without the financial and legislative support of the McGuinty government. They will pay the wind power companies more than two times the current going rate for electricity. It’s like paying $2 and getting $1 worth of power. But the government isn’t on the hook for this multi-million dollar subsidy; we’ll be forced to cover the cost through escalating charges on our power bills. And you thought your power bill was already high!
It would be nice if they had consulted with us before they made this significant commitment of our disposable income, but they didn’t. Instead of encouraging a well-informed dialogue, the government passed the Green Energy Act, which overrides the checks and balances that were put in place to protect the environment and allow citizens to voice their concerns whenever a new development is being considered in their back yard. Why are they in such a hurry?
The government says that green energy will create jobs. However, contrary to government claims, there is evidence from well-established projects in Europe that heavily subsidized renewable energy programs lead to job losses. This is because expensive electricity is a job-killer. You have to go no further than Timmins for an example. Xstrata moved hundreds of jobs from Timmins to Quebec to gain access to cheaper power. For those concerned about global warming, there is little evidence of a decline in CO2 emissions from wind projects because of inefficiencies inherent with wind power and the need for back-up power when the wind isn’t blowing. In light of this evidence, why forge ahead?
This summer (yes, it’s coming this summer), if I have to look upon the abomination that will be McLean’s Mountain Wind Farm knowing that I did nothing to oppose it, I’ll regret it for the rest of my life. That is why I wrote this letter.
If you feel the way I do, you can write, call, or email your local MPP, Brad Duguid (Minister of Energy), Dwight Duncan (Minister of Finance), Premier Dalton McGuinty, and tell all like-minded friends to do the same. I also suggest visiting the website for Wind Concerns Ontario and the Manitoulin Coalition for Safe Energy Alternatives.
Wind turbines to put an end to Island visits
Wish is to leave memories of 32 years untarnished
To the Expositor:
It is with a heavy heart I write this letter, and a bit of anger as well. For the past 32 years, my wife Judith and I have sailed down the North Channel and into Boyle Marine where we dub ourselves “seasonal Haweaters.”
We spent many evenings enjoying the fabulous meals and hospitality of the Anchor Inn, we’ve hiked the Cup and Saucer over and over, spent many times on the Orr Mountain hiking trail over the years as well, we tour Bridal Veil Falls, and my wife has a unique habit of leaving my wallet empty after enjoying her favourite store on the main street of Little Current, Dreamer’s Cove, and each day we take our two dogs, Sal and Buster, for a walk over the beautiful view of McLean’s Mountain.
I have been reading and following the stories of the proposed wind farm and am saddened to say that my wife and I have decided to not return to our seasonal home again, as we both wish to maintain our memories of this beautiful, magical place as we have shared it for the last 32 years. There have been changes, there have been improvements (the wonderful docks), there have been things we may or may not agree with, but the decision to build a wind farm destroys Manitoulin and we are not willing to allow that to happen to our memories. I do hope that the local businesses are prepared to handle the loss of “seasonal Haweaters,” as I know there will be many of our seasonal acquaintances that will not return to see the desecration of our beautiful Island.
My heart goes out to those whose homes and land will be affected by these terrible turbines. Please know that that you had our support for many years, and thank you for letting us share your community for those years.
Ed and Judith Graham
I have read the newspaper articles you sent me entitled “Health issues concern wind farm opposition; Manitoulin group sets up website” by Michael Erskine published in the Manitoulin Expositor, and “Officials cover up wind farm noise report” published in the Sunday Times. There are both theoretical and empirical bases to your concerns about the direct and indirect effects of extremely low frequency and low frequency mechanically induced changes in air pressure. I offer the following facts and comments for your information.
1. As noted in the chapter “Mechanical stimuli of the weather matrix: barometric pressure, wind and infrasound” in my book Weather Matrix and Human Behavior (Prager, 1980, pp.182-206) there have been clear correlations between infrasound generation and adverse experiences, including sickness, nausea, and dizziness. The mechanisms involve both resonances with the whole human body because of its intrinsic oscillations between 6 Hz and 20 Hz with amplitudes in the order of five micrometers. The linear distance model, i.e., the amplitude decreases linearly with distance, is not always correct because there can be propagation within an earth surface/upper atmosphere wave guide. Hence the effects could occur at far distances with no obvious influence intermediately.
2. As aptly stated in Cameron et al (Physics of the Human Body, Medical Physics Publishing, 1992) the power density of the faintest sound discernable to the ear at 1000 Hz is approximately 10-12 W/m2. Moderately complex calculations indicate even this small quantum is sufficient to displace molecular components within the range of the width of the hydrogen atom (in the order of 10-11 m). Because the effect is frequency dependent, decreasing to 10 to 100 Hz would result in displacement values within the range of the cell membrane. There is approximately one to 10 trillion cells, each with a membrane, in the human body.
3. The most frequent component of sound level pressure that acoustic engineers and other “experts” ignore are the extremely low frequency amplitude modulations of higher sound frequencies. In other words the audible frequencies may be within the 500 to 5,000 Hz range but their generation is not consistent over time. Amplitude fluctuations between five to 20 Hz are experienced as “fluttering” or “beats” that are both fatiguing and disrupt concentration. I have attached a reprint of one of our publications in a refereed, scientific journal. This was one of the first experimental (rather than correlational) studies that actually demonstrated a large negative impact upon behaviour even though the “average sound pressure level” was considered within acceptable ranges by architects and acoustic engineers. The expertise for measuring impact is usually accommodated by behavioural scientists.
4. The critical role of individual differences in sensitivity to “subthreshold” air pressure fluctuations cannot be over emphasized. Sensitivity for all sensory modalities displays a normal distribution. As recently reported in the journal Science, some individuals can discern varying sound pressures from ordinary vocalization through skin sensors. Most people appreciate the individual differences from chemical substances (for example the untoward effects of allergies to peanut butter or medications). We have legal remedies for people who have particular sensitivity to cigarette smoke or perfumes. However, this important factor appears to be neglected in the debate concerning sound pressure fluctuations from wind turbines.
5. I am not sure of the rationale for the statements that there are no studies that demonstrate adverse effects from the sound pressure levels and their beats from wind-turbine sources. There are multiple references in refereed scientific journals, although many of them are written in Chinese.
I share your concern about the potentially serious effects of wind turbine generated pressure changes at significant distances from the site. The problem is similar to the premature application of 750 kV lines (for which I was a consultant) and the various US Navy projects (e.g., Sanguine, Seafarer) that resulted in significant health problems because political and economic enthusiasm eclipsed perspicacious and informed decisions. I would recommend a delay in the construction and operation of wind turbines in your region until an objective environmental impact study is completed.
Biomolecular Sciences Programs
Wind turbine noise, including low frequency noise, may cause annoyance, stress and sleep disturbance. This is acknowledged by an American Wind Energy Association and Canadian Wind Energy Association sponsored report and representatives of the Government of Ontario.
The word annoyance may mean many things to many people. In medical terms annoyance is considered a risk to human health.
Health Canada states “The most common effect of community noise is annoyance, which is considered an adverse health effect by the World Health Organization.”
The World Health Organization states specifically about noise induced annoyance:
“Sleep disturbance and annoyance are the first effects of night noise and can lead to mental disorders. The effects of noise can even trigger premature illness and death.”
Sleep disturbance is known to lead to serious medical conditions. According to the World Health Organization symptoms of sleep disturbance may include: poor performance at work, fatigue, memory difficulties, concentration problems, motor vehicle accidents, mood disorders (depression, anxiety) , alcohol and other substance abuse , cardiovascular disease, respiratory disease, renal, gastrointestinal, musculoskeletal disorders , obesity , impaired immune system function , and a reported increased risk of mortality.
Experts say “Impairments of early childhood development and education caused by environmental pollutants such as noise may have lifelong effects on academic achievement and health. ….The scientific community agrees that there is sufficient and consistent research evidence to show that chronic exposure to environmental noise leads to impaired cognitive function and health in children.” World Health Organization, 2005
Researchers have documented that sleep disturbance tends to be the number one health complaint from victims of wind turbines. Harry (2007); Pierpont (2009); Nissenbaum (2009)
Sleep expert Dr Chris Hanning states “In my expert opinion, from my knowledge of sleep physiology and a review of the available research, I have no doubt that wind turbine noise emissions cause sleep disturbance and ill health.” Hanning (2009)
In Ontario an increasing number of victims are reporting adverse health effects from exposure to industrial wind projects. Many families have abandoned their homes to restore or protect their health. This cannot be denied.
While industry representatives may claim Ontario has ‘strict requirements’, this information does not seem to be supported by recent observations:
The Ontario Ministry of Environment (MOE) states in a letter: “There is currently no scientifically accepted field methodology to measure wind turbine noise to determine compliance or non compliance with a Certificate of Approval limits.”
In addition conservative computer modeling techniques are used in project planning, with the stated intention of keeping audible sound below 40 dBA. However, actual levels in Ontario are allowed to exceed 50 dBA (a difference of 10 dBA is a 10 fold increase in acoustic energy). Because the noise is low frequency and in some cases pulsing it may in fact be more noticeable indoors.
These facts raise concerns about sound levels near family homes and the MOE’s ability to measure and enforce its guidelines relating to wind projects. Despite acknowledgment of deficiencies in the ability to measure audible and low frequency noise, existing wind developments continue to operate, projects continue to be built, and approvals for future projects continue to be granted.
The Maine Medical Association calls for regulatory changes for the wind energy industry in order to protect human health by avoiding among other things “unreasonable noise and shadow flicker effects”.
Preliminary findings of a controlled study (Mars Hill, Maine) by a respected colleague of mine, Dr. Michael Nissenbaum, on potential health effects concludes that adults living within 1100 meters of industrial wind turbines suffer high incidences of chronic sleep disturbances and headaches, among other somatic complaints, and high incidences of new onset mood disorders compared to a control group living 5000-6000 meters away.
Many jurisdictions around the world are beginning to realize that, for the wind energy industry to be a successful contributor to the green energy mix, projects will have to be built in such a way that the health of local rural dwelling families is protected. In our province alone 49 municipalities have now called for a moratorium until safe guidelines can be established. Fortunately in Ontario and elsewhere in North America there is room for both people and their energy transforming equipment to coexist! Here is an example of legislation currently being proposed for Vermont (and likely to be proposed for Maine). Imagine if we could convince the government to adopt these protective statutes here!
1. One and one-quarter miles from an occupied building, if the elevation change between the wind turbine and the occupied building is equal to or less than 500 feet.
2. Two miles from an occupied building, if the elevation change between the wind turbine and the occupied building exceeds 500 feet.
3. One-half mile from the closest boundary of the parcel on which the wind turbine will be located.
4. One-third of a mile from any public highway or right-of-way and from any above-ground utility line or facility. However, this subdivision shall not apply to an electric line that directly connects a wind turbine to a substation or other utility facility.
5. No plant shall be located so as to generate postconstruction sound levels that exceed preconstruction background sound levels by more then 5 dBA.
6. Low frequency sound limit. The LCeq and LC90 sound levels from a wind turbine at the receiving property shall not exceed the lower of either:
1. An LCeq-LA90 greater than 20 dB outside any occupied building; or
2. A sound level of 50 dBC (LC90) from 1 a wind turbine, without other ambient sounds, for a parcel the closest boundary of which is located one mile or more from a state highway or Class 1 or 2 town highway, or of 55 dBC (LC90) for a parcel with a boundary closer than one mile to such a highway.
7. General sound limit. Sound from a plant subject to this section shall not exceed 35 dBA within 30 meters of any occupied building.
The New York Times reports “The available riches and patchy controls in the wind industry are luring a rogues gallery of corrupt politicians and entrepreneurs trying to literally create money from thin air”. Many concerned citizens in this municipality have expressed their concerns about the effects of the McLeans Mountain Power project and have been disappointed with the answers they have received from our elected officials and from the industry. It is imperative that we all take the time to attend the upcoming meeting and resubmit our concerns to Northland Power before the March 21 deadline. It is only in this way that the ministry will continue to recognize the considerable opposition to this project. We should all lobby the government to ensure that independent third party health studies are completed before the approval of any more industrial wind turbine projects. Further information is available on our local website MCSEA.ca and on the medical information website windvigilance.com.
Roy Jeffery M.D., McLeans Mountain.
Who benefits from the proposed wind farms on Manitoulin?
By Helke Ferrie
Wind turbines, we are told, are a safe green technology. Some 40 turbines are soon to be
erected near Little Current by Northland Power, a project supported by the Ontario government.
The provincial government has so far has shown a total disregard for the published, peer-
reviewed science documenting the existence of serious health hazards for those living near such
turbines. This proposed wind farm is likely to unfold as a health and liability nightmare the
likes of which this island has never seen before.
The wind energy industry asserts that no scientific research exists documenting harm. In fact,
there exists excellent research based on case studies involving before and after exposure data.
Clinically, that is the gold standard of medical research. It is absurd to consider statements
about health from an industry whose representatives have no medical training and who are first
and foremost trying to make big bucks – and who are protected by the lack of mandatory
reporting of complaints after the turbines have been installed.
The standards for acceptable levels of noise exposure were established decades ago by the
International Medical Association working with the World Health Organization. Countries that
once enthusiastically embraced wind energy more than a decade ago, such as Germany, Denmark,
France, Scotland, Portugal, Sweden, Holland, and Japan have drastically changed policy, placing
new wind farms off shore and increasing the buffer zones between turbines and homes to 2 km or
more. The European Platform Against Windfarms (EPAW) with its 19-nation membership has formally
asked the EU parliament for a Europe-wide moratorium on wind energy projects until health
issues are resolved. Some counties in California passed bylaws increasing buffers to 2 miles
Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer, Dr. David Butler-Jones, acknowledged in an e-mail to
Chatham-Kent Wind Action Group on August 5, that “concerns of possible health effects resulting
from living in close proximity to wind turbines are becoming increasingly common”; he referred
the group to the independent research just commenced at Queen’s University which will monitor
the health effects from the Wolfe Island project.
The same, more detailed, acknowledgement of a serious problem with wind energy came on July 30
from the Honorable Rona Ambrose, Canada’s Minister of Labour, who noted that headaches, nausea,
tinnitus, and vertigo are increasingly reported by people living near such wind farms. He also
noted that Canada “does not have any specific guidelines on wind turbines”. Why not? On April
22 Dr. Robert McMurtry presented the international science on health hazards from wind
turbines to the Standing Committee of General Government. Dr. McMurtry is Canada’s former
Assistant Deputy Minister of Population and Public Health, current member of Canada’s Health
Council, a climate change expert fully in favor of green energy, and was the Dean of Medicine
at the University of Western Ontario.
According to the prestigious US National Institutes of Health, the noise created by wind
energy “increases stress (primarily through chronic insomnia shown to reach 93% ) which in turn
increases the risk of cardiovascular disease and cancer.” (Environmental Health Perspectives,
vol. 116, p. 237 f, 2008). The American National Academy of Science provided a report to
Congress in 2007 on potential harm to human health from wind turbines, asking for further
research and the adoption of a precautionary approach. In response to that report, Dr. Nina
Pierpont, a researcher from the world’s most famous medical school, Johns Hopkins, just
published a book on Wind Turbine Syndrome based on clinical research of victims.
Last year’s international conference on the health effects of wind turbines, presented data
showing that children are affected the most. Long-term memory consolidation and learning
activity takes place during undisturbed sleep; the immune system and DNA repair mechanisms do
most of their work then also. In fact, chronic insomnia is the most serious and rigorously
documented negative health effect of wind turbines resulting eventually also property losing
its value, as victims abandon their homes and are unable to sell them.
The documented negative health effects of wind turbines placed too close to human dwellings
include additionally chronic headaches, constant ringing in the ears, vertigo, nausea, visual
blurring, rapid heart rate to the point of acute hypertension and heart attacks in people with
preexisting cardiovascular problems, inability to concentrate, loss of memory, and depression.
These research findings are supported (peer-reviewed) by luminaries like Robert May, President
of the British Royal Society, Chief Scientific Adviser to the UK government (1995-2000), and
one of the most prominent climate change experts who also fully endorses green energy
technology. In 1998 in Germany more than 100 medical experts published the Darmstadt
Declaration demanding that human health must inform all wind energy policy.
Interestingly, it is especially those in medicine and public health who have fought for decades
for the greening of our toxin-based economy who are now opposing the way in which wind energy
is being forced upon people. On Manitoulin, those who demand a rational discussion about the
safe use of wind energy are the ones who have been personally committed to green energy systems
for decades, running their homes on alternative energy. We are not exactly the types one can
accuse of getting kickbacks from the oil industry.
Many of us voted this government into power for all the right green reasons. The McGuinty
government is betraying us all by ignoring the most fundamental internationally validated
medical science. We have been insulted by the Premier himself as so-called NIMBY’s (not in my
back-yarders) and been denied our democratic right to a rational discussion of how to deploy
green energy technology safely.
Wind energy can exist and expand without causing harm. The solutions exist and the consensus
among medical and technical experts is unanimous. Toronto lawyer John W. Adams Q.C observed
recently, “… the Ministry of the Environment produces guidelines which give advantages to the
wind industry at every turn and demonstrates a cynical indifference to the health and well-
being of Ontarians… does the ministry not have a collective conscience? What is certain is that
the [government] has a statutory duty to protect the environment, which includes protecting
the health of the public.”
On July 29th President and CEO of Northland Power, Mr. John Brace, stated at a Manitoulin town
council meeting (during which no questions were permitted from the public!) that he was not
aware of any scientific information showing negative health effects from wind turbines. This
professed ignorance is likely to be very bad for his business, and investors should beware. It
is his fiduciary duty as the CEO of a publicly traded company to consider most carefully
anything and everything that might reduce the value of shares. We have recently had too many
corporations abuse their shareholders by lying, cheating, and wild fantasies thereby bringing
the world to the brink of economic meltdown. Green energy corporations should consider that
liability law makes no exceptions when harm and injury hit the fan. In 2008 the Supreme Court
of Canada ruled that corporations causing harm to the public may no longer hide behind the
government’s skirts, pleading that they were following regulations. The Polluters-Pay principle
has been firmly established and harm from noise pollution is as likely to give rise to class
actions as pesticides, fraudulently marketed pharmaceuticals, harmful medical therapies, and
environmental disasters have successfully done in the past.
Helke Ferrie is a medical science writer and publisher of books on the politics of medicine.
Visit www.kospublishing.com. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
On Tuesday, June 2, I attended the NEMI council meeting to make my views
known regarding the
plan to offer substantially lowered building permit rates to Northland
Power for the
construction of their industrial wind turbine project. Whether or not one
project, I believe this decision (which council voted in favour of
proceeding with) is one that
has been made without consideration for the significant risks and costs
that are now being
assumed by all residents and ratepayers of this township.
If a business wants to obtain a building permit, the cost of the permit
is normally based upon
a percentage of the physical size of the industrial structure. A few
months ago, Northland
approached NEMI council with a request for the lion’s share of these fees
to be eliminated in
the case of their privately owned company. No other private business, in
business that is as highly subsidized by government funds as this one is,
has ever been offered
this kind of a “break” before. This deal was about to be quietly agreed
upon when it was
pointed out to council by a concerned citizen that, in order to change
the fee structures,
council is required to have a public meeting and listen to public input
concerning this matter—
hence my presentation to council on June 2.
At the meeting Northland appealed to the Green Energy Act as reason why
council should give
them these deeply discounted fees. In fact, as has also been confirmed by
director of the Ministry of the Environment’s approvals branch, that
building permit fees fall
under the Municipal Affairs and Housing Act and, as such, council was and
still is free to set
whatever building permit fees they deem to be “reasonable.”
Council voted in favour of charging Northland a flat fee of $2,000 per
turbine, resulting in a
total collection of a mere $66,000 for the initial 33 turbines that are
proposed in this first
phase of construction in their multi-million-dollar for-profit project.
This is supposed to
cover all of the time, costs, and involvement of the town’s building
inspector with this phase
of the project’s construction. By comparison, as was noted in Northland’s
council, the city of Sudbury is charging $3,745 per turbine and the
county of Norfolk is
charging approximately $4,950 per turbine. Why is it then, that NEMI is
only charging $2,000
Of that $2,000 per turbine, only $182 is allotted for as a contingency
fee: extra funds in the
event that there are unanticipated costs and demands associated with this
project. That means
about $6,000, in total, should anything go wrong. Any costs beyond that
will be subsidized by
municipal tax dollars. I do not agree with council’s decision to give
preferential treatment to Northland because this project has been
referred to as green.
In the discussion that evening, it was identified that if there are any
mishaps, accidents, or
incidents during or following the construction of any one of these large
wind turbines, each
one being the height of a 40-storey building, and if, for example, there
is a lawsuit launched
against Northland, the township (that’s you and I as taxpayers) would
also be named and
included, and the deductible on the township’s liability insurance policy
(for just one legal
action, never mind any more) is $5,000. I doubt that Northland would be
donating any additional
funds from their profits to the town after the fact for legal resources
that may be needed
along the way. Do these fees seem reasonable to you? The only way that I
can make sense of this
decision is to wonder about the behind-the-scenes agendas, discussions,
deals, and agreements
that will never be debated in the forum of a public meeting.
As citizens who live and work here, we are already being asked to bear
huge economic, social,
environmental, and health risks and consequences from this large-scale
wind project. I do not
think that it is wise or appropriate that those of us who pay taxes here
are also putting
ourselves at risk of exorbitant financial costs should there be any
mishaps as the turbines are
being attempted to be set up and activated upon this island composed of
much soft rock and
multiple natural gas and oil pockets.
No structures this high currently exist in NEMI: the plans for
construction are in place;
however, there are many unknowns and risks associated with this project
happening in this
unique geographical location. Welcome to the big experiment in which we
are all now
participants. If there are any adverse consequences to people from these
structures, before or
following their construction, we are all taking on some of that
liability. I’m glad that at
least some parties have interest in documenting the consequences to the
includes the health of the people, as this unfolds (i.e. Dr. Roy
Jeffery’s research proposal
for studying the health effects of wind turbines).
To learn more about the views of many concerned citizens in this area,
visit www.mcsea.ca and
www.WindConcernsOntario.org. At the meeting there was also mention of the
recent report from
Ontario’s medical officer of health regarding the health concerns
associated with industrial
wind turbines. For further information and analysis of this report visit
I would invite members of the public to do their own research and come to
their own conclusions
so that informed decisions can be made. Speak to your municipal
councillors or consider running
in the October elections. Accessing wind-industry research alone is like
going to tobacco
companies for data on the health effects of smoking. I hope this one
won’t take 30 years to
dismantle. My hunch is it will go a lot faster than that.
There is more than enough evidence to warrant a complete halt to erecting
any more industrial
wind turbine installations. In Ontario alone, we have multiple families
who can no longer live
in their own homes due to noise, low-frequency vibration, and dirty
electricity. This is
documented and known throughout the industry and the government. These
families were fine
before the wind installations started up, they got sick after they
started up, and they get
better when they leave their homes. The health problems are the same
around the world with
family members of all ages suffering from sleep deprivation, tinnitus,
dizziness, headaches, nausea, vomiting, heart palpitations, ear and chest
vibration, and the list goes on. While some will say that these symptoms
can be found anywhere
in the general population, it is important to understand that people who
did not have any of
these symptoms before are experiencing multiple symptoms post startup.
What we hear from the ministers and industry figures is their claim that
they need to shut down
coal plants because they are killing people, but we all know it is
immoral to cause harm to one
segment of the population in order to alleviate a perceived harm to
another. The term “anti-
wind” is often tossed about by proponents to label people who have valid
concerns. Every person
that I have talked to was not anti-wind and they welcomed the wind
turbines into their
community. I would suggest that “pro-health” is a more suitable term for
those who are asking
In Ontario alone there are 115 known and documented reports of residents
health effects from wind installations and there are less than 700
turbines in operation. Not
very good odds are they? Add to this that problems are seriously
underreported due to gag
clause restrictions, fear of property devaluation when one speaks
publicly, fear of loss of
privacy if reporting, and fear of upsetting community harmony. Families
are being torn apart
physically and emotionally.
I am not an expert in coal, nuclear, gas or wind energy, nor am I a
health professional, but I
can tell you from first-hand knowledge that the effects that wind
turbines are having on large
numbers of families in this province is not acceptable, and to continue
down this road without
conducting proper independent health studies and the mitigation of
current problems is
The imbalance of power in rural Ontario is stunning. We have wind lobby
groups, developers, and
our own government ministries all on the same page, changing legislation
to suit their agenda
and with endless funding to do what they need. On the other hand are
families who are falling
ill and being forced to leave their homes with no assistance from any
ministry. A most
difficult situation has been thrust upon our rural municipalities in that
with this new green-
energy legislation they have been removed from determining what is best
for their own
communities, yet at the same time they are supposed to protect their
residents from harm. The
backlash from residents has been loud and clear and the government has
the ability to ignore and press forward.
For the affected families, there is no form of assistance from the
Ministry of Energy, which is
forcefully pushing this agenda. There is no help from the Ministry of the
Environment, which is
supposed to be monitoring the entire program, and which, by the way, is
because it does have not the tools or knowledge to understand the
complicated technical detail
and consequences of industrial wind turbine generated electricity. But
worst of all is that
there is no help from our own health department, which is well aware of
and has heard directly
from many victims in this province. Our own chief medical officer of
health released a report
that in the body of the report recognizes there are health issues
associated with wind
installations and yet in her conclusion, the one that gets repeatedly
used throughout industry
and in the media, she says there is no causal link that associates wind
turbines to health
problems. There has been very strong negative reaction from health
professionals to her report.
An analysis of her report is available at www.windvigilance.com. Oddly,
she did not speak to
any of the many available victims in compiling her report and one has to
wonder why she would
make such a grave omission.
All we have received to date from any industry- or government-funded
report is a review of
older existing literature. Old turbines were far smaller and mostly
placed away from the
population. Contrary to what is being printed in the media, European
countries are having just
as many problems and so is the rest of the world wherever industrial wind
Can we at least admit there is a huge problem with this policy and start
taking steps to
investigate these health complaints, complaints serious enough that they
are forcing people out
of their own homes? Instead of repeatedly demeaning and revictimizing
those who are suffering,
let’s apply the caution this issue deserves and get some help with this,
industry and government fingers.
It amazes me the amount of green washing the wind industry continues to unleash on the public to cloud the adverse effects of industrial wind turbines. If wind farms are good for the environment then why do they have to destroy so much land and be placed in key habitat areas impacting entire ecosystems? Little regard is taken for adjacent landowners, vacant land and non-participants. Ontario has the shortest set-backs of IWTs to fence lines in the world. Companies such as Northland Power say they follow process but wind companies keep influencing government policy to change the rules in their favour. On the health issue, the CMOH for Ontario, Dr. Arlene King is continually misquoted as stating there are no health effects from IWT’s. When her report was released she in fact admitted that people living near IWTs experience annoyance and sleep disturbance, although she found “there is no evidence available to date of a direct causal relationship between wind turbines and adverse health effects”. Furthermore hers is an old report by today’s standard and is not a peer reviewed scientific study. The latest study from Maine is being independently analyzed for validity and will be submitted in the next few weeks to a peer review journal. This will show a strong relationship between the proximity of IWTs and ill health. Wind companies also state that five hundred and fifty people a year in Ontario die from coal generated pollution. There is no evidence that directly relates Ontario coal emissions to respiratory caused fatality. The air quality is in fact better now than it was forty years ago. The majority of coal related emissions come to Ontario from the Ohio valley. Ontario has two coal plants where one half of the units are outfitted with up to date scrubber technology. This further use of scrubbers was stopped to push the “green agenda” with excessive higher costs of electricity to everyone. Another example of greenwash is the Renewable Energy Matters Campaign Outline of October 18th, 2010. The Sussex Strategy is a leaked document from a liberal connected PR firm subsidized by energy interest groups, whose admitted goal is to “confuse” the issue on renewable energy. This Sussex group targets specific communities to promote their greenwash product to mislead the public. They admit that “No significant job increases have been realized due to renewables and electricity rates have increased 36% over the 2009 Hydro bill.” The Green Energy Act is all about corporate profit where the Feed In Tariff is hidden in the delivery charge on our hydro bills. IWTs produce when power is not necessarily needed and do not necessarily produce when it is required. However wind companies continue to be paid when power produced is not utilized. American journalist Robert Bryce states, “since there is no technology for mass storage of electricity the power produced from wind cannot contribute substantially to electricity supply let alone replace base load.” I would like to comment on the greenwash our MPP Mike Brown has stated at the recent Save Our Algoma Region meeting in Sault St. Marie where he was noted as, “not aware of any objections raised in his community with regard to wind projects”. Let me assure you Mike Brown has been in receipt of all our mailings and has even responded to our members through regular mail. The countless letters of opposition to IWT’s on Manitoulin in this local paper, the articles, and the First Nation’s opposition to the Northland Power McLeans Mountain Project shows just how out of touch he is with this issue or in complete denial. Communities across Ontario are now considering declaring themselves a wind farm free area recognizing that there will be few places left in this province to enjoy peaceful, natural places. I am confident that Manitoulin residents will not be swayed by industry and government greenwash.
Raymond Beaudry mcsea.ca