The Daily Observer – Ontario, CA May16/08
I am compelled to respond to Kevin O’Kane’s letter to the editor that appeared in a recent issue of this paper.
Mr. O’Kane writes that “if she (Cheryl Gallant) is concerned about relative health issues she should consult the 2008 Information Report issued by the Municipality of Chatham-Kent: “The Health Impact of Wind Turbines, A Review of White, Grey and Published Literature.”
Mr. O’Kane obviously believes that this document is an authoritative report. And that’s where his argument falls apart. Let me explain: Dr. Colby, the acting medical officer for Chatham-Kent, has been credited with writing this document. However, he has stated that the health unit wrote it and he supervised and approved it. He has also stated that he is no expert on wind turbines and has not conducted any of his own research on the subject. This document does not address the reports of worldwide health effects, nor does it take into account current medical research. It is an incomplete literature review.
Interestingly, many of the references contained within the document originate from CanWEA, AWEA, and BWEA publications. These are all large, vocal lobby groups for the wind industry. Other points of reference came from organizations that either have a direct financial interest in supporting the wind industry or whose purpose it is to support and promote wind industry. Not surprisingly, the references are clearly biased in favour of the wind industry. More alarming still is that this document is being presented as authoritative and there are people -like Kevin O’Kane – who accept it as gospel without further examination.
Also of interest is the fact that Dr. Colby participated in a wind energy information seminar organized by SkyPower in Picton in March. Although quick to deny that he is a representative of Sky- Power, Dr. Colby did admit that he was paid an honorarium to participate. He has also stated that he is “not a spokesperson for the wind energy industry.” So that leads us to question how unbiased and objective Dr. Colby’s 2008 Information Report truly is.
Mr. O’Kane also suggests that it is our MP’s responsibility to educate herself on the decades of experience by other countries. The Denmark Experience: Aase Madsen, Chairman of Energy Policy in the Danish Parliament tells us that wind energy is a “terribly expensive disaster.” Niels Gram of the Danish Federation of Industries reports that “windmills are a mistake and economically make no sense.” The German Experience: Der Spiegel reports that Germany’s CO2 emissions have not been reduced “by even a single gram.” The Spanish Experience: A recent report from the King Juan Carlos University of Madrid states that for every green job created by government funding, 2.2 regular jobs are lost and only 1 in 10 green jobs wind up being permanent. The global love affair with wind energy is clearly not the “happily ever after” fairy tale that Can WEA and other proponents of the wind industry would have us believe.
The fact that Kevin O’Kane is clearly critical of Cheryl Gallant’s concerns regarding the health and well-being of her constituents leads me to question the basis of his motives. He seems to be more concerned with the wellbeing of Mike Crawley, head of the Ontario Liberal Party who also happens to be the CEO of Aim PowerGen (another wind energy company) than he is with the well-being of the citizens and residents of Renfrew County. Our MP is willing to look beyond the promotional sales brochures and glossy “reports” so eagerly researched by the wind industry and its affiliates. Mounting evidence tells us that health concerns are a real issue and deserve further study, and Cheryl Gallant should be applauded for encouraging unbiased and objective research into these issues.
Lou Eyamie, Wilno, ON
The following is Lou Eyamie’s presentation on April 16/09 to the Standing Committee on the Green Energy Act Bill 150.
Mr. Chairman, Members of the Committee, Ladies & Gentlemen,
My name is Lou Eyamie and I am here today speaking on behalf of SOS ( Save Our Skyline) and on behalf of my wife and myself.
Since 2000 my wife & I have been working hard on the farm we bought to restore it to its former beauty. Our hopes and dreams have been to create a place where we could both retire. We have been working hard to create a home that respects the environment, a place to live in a community in peace & harmony with our neighbours; a place to live simply, grow our own chickens & turkeys and raise horses. We wanted to be a part of a community that my wife had grown up in and loved.
Before we bought the farm it was a booby-trapped, garbage strewn marijuana grow operation. Our work has always focused on restoring the land, rebuilding the heritage of the farm and joining our neighbours in making our neighbourhood one of the things that makes Wilno and the Madawaska Valley so beautiful.
SOS is a local organization. Our membership represents a group of people who live in the Valley who are as concerned as we are about industrial wind turbines. As a member of SOS, I can assure you that I and my neighbours are not speaking out to save a view, but rather to ensure that the industrial wind turbines proposed in our area do not harm the environment, do not increase risks to threatened species and pose no risk or health threat to the people and animals that live near proposed sites.
How do we make our voice heard and bring you to understand the fears and concerns we have? I feel like a small voice in the shadow of large organizations and businesses that have aligned themselves with this government and have even become your advisors and key resources.
But let me share a little more of our history:
Because my wife and I travelled so much after purchasing our retirement property, we often had the chance to see turbine parts being transported along the highways, carried by oversized transports that needed escort, carrying parts of towers and blades that were amazingly large. We thought that this was pretty cool. When word came that SkyPower was proposing building a wind farm down the road from our home we were interested- this was our chance to learn more about something that had always intrigued us. So we went to their open house.
We came out…. very disillusioned.
We asked questions and were given the run around.
We filled out comment sheets and heard no response. When we asked specific questions we were told that there were no answers. The only people present were promoters for SkyPower.
As a result, on our own, we started digging a little deeper and doing our own research. What we found made us angry …and afraid. SkyPower obviously was not telling the whole truth. Since then we have been working hard with our local elected officials, neighbours and businesses to learn as much as we could and to ensure that our communities have been informed of the risks of industrial wind turbines. We have shared our research through numerous public meetings and encouraged our neighbours, the citizens of Renfrew County, to make sure that their concerns were known to their councils. Our primary objective? To ensure that the siting of these proposed towers would not negatively impact our health, our environment, our economy, our rich cultural heritage and history, and our property values.
Our independent research has told us:
- Turbines do not produce when demand is highest
- Turbines operate at only 30% efficiency at best
- The inefficiencies do not address the cost risks including government subsidies that attract potentially unethical business
- Current recommended setbacks from dwellings is 1.5km to 2km – nowhere near the provincial average
- Health impacts are real and the symptoms people are experiencing are consistent world wide
- Environmental impact studies to date are inadequate and biased – there have been 17 requests for more thorough EAs and 17 have been denied. If this government is so adamant that industrial wind power is safe why have they not granted 1 EA? Why are you so reluctant to reassure your voting public that there is NO risk or impact to the environment?
Now we are dealing with the Green Energy Act. This Act is being pushed through without allowing full public consultation. This is legislation that takes away basic democratic rights of citizens to participate in decision making and to be protected from the negative side effects that are already well documented but being ignored.
Just because your Act says it is green, just because wind turbine companies say wind is green, does not mean that they are. We should not abandon all principals of protecting environmentally sensitive areas, and ensuring that this technology does not harm the people you are entrusted to protect.
Our concerns about this Act and this process relate to areas such as:
- The majority of the people & industries with time slots to speak at these meetings appear to be pro-wind. Private citizens such as Barbara Ashbee, who continues to struggle with health issues as a direct result of the industrial wind turbine installations next to her home, have been denied presentation time.
- Other individuals who have publicly voiced their concerns regarding industrial wind turbines have been told that they would need to travel to Sault Ste Marie. For some this is a 7 hour drive to speak to you for 10 minutes. This effectively silences many who oppose aspects of the Green Energy Act
- The removal of perceived barriers, as proposed in this Act, actually removes and eliminates the rights of the voting public to have a say through their municipal councils as to the development and planning within their own communities. Even as your government has accused us of NIMBYism, your Green Energy Act reflects a direct conflict of interest. The alliances and partisanship that exists between organizations that are connected to this government and to wind companies are clearly self-serving affiliations. These include CanWEA, OSEA and others.
CanWEA is a lobby group whose web site states that they are the “voice of the wind energy industry.” Like any other business, wind industry is enthusiastic about government subsidies and quick profits.
CanWEA membership represents foreign as well as domestic companies. They produce all of the literature that supports private industrial wind turbine projects. Their information brochures make no mention of the negative health impacts being experienced by people right here in Ontario and do not address the true cost and inefficiency of wind power. CanWEA states that 300 – 600m is a suitable setback. Worldwide recommendations are 1.5 – 2 km. CanWEA’s literature and research is clearly biased.
CanWEA is acting as a government advisor.
Hermann Scheer, is revered and respected by Energy Minister George Smitherman, but Mr. Scheer does not address the issues of setbacks, environment, and health in his speeches. He has not publicly stated that in Germany nor anywhere else in the world has one coal or gas fired energy plant been closed with the addition of industrial wind turbines. In fact, Germany is building more coal plants in order to provide consistent back-up for wind power.
At a recent meeting in Cobden, hosted by the Ottawa River Institute, a German engineer spoke and was shocked to learn that Ontario is not incorporating the current research, standards and regulations into the Green Energy Act; or adopting the regulations that are being used at credible German wind turbine sites.
It provided some relief for us to hear this and it validated our concerns.
Denmark is another example for us to learn from. As the world’s most wind-intensive nation with more than 6000 turbines generating 19% of its electricity, they have yet to close a single fossil-fuel power plant. The Danish Federation of Industries says that “Windmills are a mistake and economically make no sense”. The chair of energy policy in the Danish parliament calls it “a terribly expensive disaster”. Perhaps Mr Smitherman should speak to this gentleman rather than relying solely on the information so readily and enthusiastically provided by Scheer, CanWEA and OSEA.
The lobbying by these industry-based organizations has clearly been effective.
CanWEA is a voting member of OSEA, which has received funding from the Ontario Trillium Foundation. Public money has been used to fund this industry, an industry that chooses to ignore the importance of public protection and the real green environmental work that needs to be done in conjunction with protecting the environment and public health.
OSEA was one of the founders of the Green Energy Act Alliance who came up with the draft law and lobbied the government to implement it. The bias and conflict of interest that exists in this business alliance with our elected government is astounding to us as citizens in this province.
Media reported that McGuinty promised months of consultation. Instead, the public has been given an inadequate amount of time to voice their opinions and to speak directly, with the number of delegations being limited to seven dates in total. And more shocking still, the people who have already experienced the negative impacts of industrial wind turbines are being denied their democratic right to speak. In fact, if it were not for the assistance of our MPP John Yakabuski, I believe that I would not have been given the opportunity to speak to you today.
So, in conclusion, on behalf of the citizens who are members of SOS and people of Renfrew County, we respectfully place these requests:
- Full environmental assessments of all industrial wind projects (regardless of size) are to be completed. To my knowledge, waiving the requirement to a full EA or instituting a “one size fits all” assessment is unprecedented for any other industrial development proposal – why allow it for the industrial wind?
- The Green Energy Act must be amended to allow for fair and democratic legislation without removing municipal planning rights
- The Green Energy Act must allow municipalities to engage the Province in meaningful and constructive dialogue regarding how they can best contribute to alternative and renewable energy solutions that will benefit the Province as a whole. South Algonquin is actively exploring biomass potential as opposed to industrial wind. My local municipality could explore the feasibility of reopening an existing hydro dam or converting struggling sawmills to wood pellet and biomass facilities. Individual municipalities know their communities, their industries and their economies. They have the right and obligation as elected officials to work with their citizens to ensure that renewable energy initiatives benefit all involved. A true democratic government would honour and respect that right, working in partnership with local government
- We are aware that clean and renewable energy is vital to the health and wellbeing of our planet. But our rush to produce what industry deems as “green” energy should not come at a cost to the health and wellbeing of the people that live next to or near these installations. It should not come at a cost to our environment and our communities. It must not undermine the democratic rights of the citizens of this province. And there must be a fair and democratic process to resolve complaints, concerns and for citizens to voice their opinions. The Green Energy Act must be amended to reflect a fair and democratic process – the onus of proof as written lies squarely with the victim and this is unacceptable.
- And finally, policy and procedure that allows the citizens that have been or will be affected by developments to escalate their concerns to an objective and fair tribunal.
- Ladies and Gentlemen, today I am leaving you with a petition that reflects the concerns of approximately 400 citizens from our area. As well, I have attached copies of letters from the local municipalities of Madawaska Valley and Killaloe,Hagarty Richards. The letters outline their position and shared concerns regarding the Green Energy Act.
- It is our hope that you will work as our elected representatives and that this Act will not just serve the interests of the industrial wind companies, but will be a Green Act that plans for today and protects for the future.
- Thank you for your time and the opportunity to speak today.
On Friday April 3rd, 60 Wind Concerns Ontario members showed our displeasure at George Smitherman’s lack of compassion in Underwood, Ontario.
Bill 150 is attempting to strip municipalities and citizens of the right to any say on how electrical generation plants are to be built in our neighbourhoods. McGuinty and Smitherman have only taken direction from the wind industry who stand to profit in the billions. He wants to use rural residents as the scapegoats and allow industrial turbines too close to homes and families across the province.
The Township of Lyndoch, Brudenell and Raglan have passed
a Motion to have our Provincial Government place a Moratorium on any
further Wind Farm Development until such things as Health, Tourism,
Environment and Economic development have been studied by the
Ministries of Health, Economic Development and Tourism to create
realistic guidelines to assure the health and economic well being for
those living in proximity of Industrial Wind Turbine Developments.
They also passed a Motion to support the Resolution of Prince Edward
County calling on various departments of the Provincial Government to
do scientific investigations and put in place reasonable regulations
which would address Health Effects Noise, Proximity siting and a host
of other guidelines that would address Landowners concerns about
further Wind Development in their area.
The Township of Madawaska Valley Council has slapped a moratorium on the approval of any wind turbine projects until next year’s municipal elections, at which time voters will have a chance to vote on the wind farm issue in a referendum question attached to their ballots.
The move came after an at-times heated debate on the issue at Monday night’s regular council meeting.
It is not clear just how much direct impact council’s measure will have – Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty has warned that he will not let local opposition stand in the way of so-called Green Energy projects, and has said that the province will take responsibility for the approval of such proposals – most notably industrial wind turbine farms – away from municipalities. Indeed, some council members acknowledged that they expect the provincial government will overrule them. Nonetheless, council’s move will likely diffuse much of the ongoing public pressure on council over the wind turbine controversy.
At the moment, the sole project proposed for the Township of Madawaska Valley is for the construction of six of the mammoth turbines on the hills north of the Village of Wilno. But
several other projects, many of them much larger, are planned for the Township of South Algonquin to the west, and in communities to the east and southeast of Madawaska Valley as well.
Up until Monday night, Madawaska Valley Council’s stand had been that, while it had listened to many submissions from opponents of the industrial wind project, it had not yet heard from the wind power company. Mayor John Hildebrandt had stated several times that council wanted to hear the other side of the story before taking a position. This was criticized by some opponents, who wanted council to come out solidly against turbines.
The resolution to put the matter on hold pending a referendum in 2010 was tabled by Councillor Sylvie Yantha, who in doing so was resurrecting a similar motion that he had initially proposed in November. Last night’s version was immediately seconded by Councillor Shelley Maika and the other councillors supported it.
“I think we should give the people a choice as to what they want,” Yantha said in making his motion. “I think that … the voters are waiting for answers. Let’s let the voters decide.”
Monday night’s meeting began with two delegations on the wind issue, which has been in the public eye since a firm named SkyPower first proposed to build six turbines near Wilno early in 2008.
Carl Bromwich of Wilno said he was appearing to ask that a public meeting be convened on the issue “to smooth over some of the rough edges” surrounding the dispute. He praised Renfrew-Nipissing-Pembroke MPP John Yakabuski for “leading our fight in the Legislature” against the Liberal government’s Green Energy Act bill, saying he was “doing a hell of a good job.” But it is time that MV council spoke out on the matter, too, Bromwich said.
He urged council to “use the powers you have now to make a statement” against the Green Energy Act and wind turbines.
“Your power is our power and if we lose it, we’re going to be answering to (Energy and Infrastructure Minister) George Smitherman and Dalton McGuinty for the rest of our lives.”
Later, Lou Eyamie of SOS, or Save Our Skyline, the lead organization fighting against the Wilno wind farm proposal, also urged council to take a stand on the wind farm proposal.
“I firmly believe that if you people don’t make your position known … you’re going to be too late,” Eyamie said.
Municipal politicians in the townships of South Algonquin, where several turbines are planned for near the eastern border of Algonquin Provincial Park, and in Killaloe, Hagarty and Richards, where no wind projects are currently proposed, have passed moratoriums on any approvals of wind turbines. Those measures, combined with several others approved by municipalities across the province, were followed by the provincial government’s plan to take over the power to set guidelines and approve projects under its Green Energy Act, which is now before the Legislature.
Denise Brotton of Wilno also addressed council. She said she was glad to see that council has taken the initiative “to do something” about the wind farm controversy, but was skeptical of the McGuinty government’s promises that municipalities will receive money from the wind turbines built in their communities.
“I have no faith that they will contribute anything to us,” she said.
She also cited a news release by MPP John Yakabuski that questions Liberal promises that electricity prices will not rise sharply under the Green Energy Act. Smitherman had pegged the increase at one per cent.
In the Feb. 24 release, Yakabuski noted that Smitherman himself put the cost of the bill at $5 billion. Yakabuski suggested that, with 4.2 million electricity consumers in Ontario footing that bill, this would mean each consumer would face an average increase of $1,200 – a 30 per cent increase over three years.
By Douglas Gloin
Barry’s Bay This Week
4 March 2009
On February 17/09 at 7:00 P.M. at the Madawaska Valley Township and at Brudnell Township Council on March 4/09 at 7:00 P.M, residents are invited to hear a presentation from Carmen Krogh who is a former director of pharmacy with the Edmonton General Hospital, a lecturer for many years with the University of Alberta, a director with Health Canada in its pesticides agency, medical journal writer and researcher and the director and editor-in-chief for several years of the massive national medical reference tome – the Compendium of Pharmaceuticals Specialties.
Mrs. Krogh is an independent researcher who is studying the Health Effects that are linked to Wind Turbines and their proximity to landowners.
Mrs. Krogh is not a member of the Save Our Skyline Group and has given presentations to various Councils and residents as recently as last week in the offices of the Killaloe Hagarty and Richards Township.
A serious and potentially devastating effect of Low Level Frequency Sound from existing Wind Turbines has been documented world wide and is being researched by Health experts in Canada and other countries even though CANWEA, the Wind Industry’s representative for all things “good” about Wind Turbines, states there is no ill effects associated with these machines.
Get informed and be aware of these dangers before it is too late.