Protesters joined the remaining migrating tundra swans at the Thedford Bog near Grand Bend, Lake Huron, on Sunday, April 6, 2014, to condemn plans to build a bristling barrier of industrial wind turbines in what is a designated Important Bird Area. Every March some 10-15,000 tundra swans stop at the Thedford Bog and environs to rest and feed before continuing on their migration to the western Arctic.
Waterfowl scientist Dr. Scott Petrie told CBC News in 2012:
By putting the turbines in inappropriate places, it actually is tantamount to habitat loss. You wouldn’t put an office tower next to a coastal wetland, why would you put a wind turbine there?
Monte McNaughton, Progressive Conservative Member of the Provincial Parliament of Ontario (MPP) for Lambton-Kent-Middlesex, reminded the protesters that his party’s leader, Tim Hudak, has promised, if elected, to repeal the Green Energy Act, the draconian legislation that has given unprecedented rights to industrial wind turbines over people, communities and wildlife. The Green Energy Act was enacted in 2009 in part as a response to the fake planetary emergency of man-made global warming/climate change.
CLICK ON IMAGE TO PLAY VIDEO (some wind noise)
The Dalton McGuinty and Kathleen Wynne Liberal governments have allowed the Ontario landscape to be despoiled and blighted by thousands of useless industrial wind turbines. The machines, towering as high as 50-storey buildings, built on a foundation that requires 800 tons of concrete each that will remain in the ground of prime farmland forever, have been erected in the absence of any cost-benefit analysis or human health studies, and accorded special rights by the Liberal government with its elimination of environmental restrictions inconvenient to wind companies.
Premier Kathleen Wynne has promised to build thousands more of the extortionate-to-taxpayers, destructive, un-green industrial monstrosities.
“Don’t tell me about the science” – Wind Turbines and Human Health: An Emotional Topic
You already knew from the cavalier seminar title where this presentation was going to be heading. However, in his introduction, the presenter promised a balanced discussion on the issue of wind turbines and human health so that health care practitioners and academics could have informed dialogue. Mmmm. Really?
The seminar/webinar was hosted in Toronto by Public Health Ontario on March 20, 2014, and was given by Loren Knopper Ph.D., an environmental health scientist and co-lead of Intrinsik Environmental Science’s Renewable Energy Health Team, with stated expertise in industrial wind turbines and human health.
Knopper failed to offer a disclaimer that “a number” of his clients are wind developers (unless he stated it when the webinar’s sound failed for two brief periods). This information came to light in the question period following his presentation. It’s a very important point because the wind industry denies, despite some good evidence, that industrial wind turbines can cause adverse health effects. Obviously, one would not want any inconvenient truths alienating clients with deep, government-guaranteed, subsidy-enhanced pockets.
Knopper started out by asserting that, “Generally, public attitude favours the idea of wind energy.” It was interesting that this Ph.D. scientist who insisted heavily on research rigour in his critique of the research studies later on, was in this instance not presenting any empirical evidence to support his statement. Instead, he showed a slide of a silly HSBC ad depicting splayed banana skins stood upright to look like wind turbines with the tagline: “In the future, there will be no difference between waste and energy.” The same slide had a photo of a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency window with a small picture of wind turbines in it, meant to support his claim that there is general public acceptance of wind energy. Of course, neither of these organizations’ displays reflect public attitude, but rather self-interested propaganda for what is actually a green energy disaster. But never mind. Knopper did admit that his version of public favour does not mean local acceptance of wind projects. No surprise there.
Scientific merit depends on the objectivity and scientific rigour of the beholder
Knopper’s seminar was essentially a look at the issue of industrial wind turbines and human health, an overview of the scientific literature on the subject, and his conclusions of the weight of evidence based on studies he deemed to have scientific merit.
In judging any scientific study, it’s imperative to go to the original work and evaluate the soundness of the methodology and analysis the researchers used. In his presentation, Knopper did not hesitate to allege statistical and other deficiencies that he thought negated the results of key studies that have concluded that industrial wind turbine operations do cause adverse health effects. He also emphasized that “many” of these studies were published in one journal, The Bulletin of Science Technology & Society, and stated more than once that their authors were on the advisory board of the Society for Wind Vigilance, an obvious attempt to imply that these facts tainted their work.
As we have already mentioned, Knopper failed to disclose his close business association with wind developers until he was asked the question after the presentation, and he certainly did not mention it when he talked about his own published research. And in fact, some people in the audience noted that in at least one case, the research he himself conducted in collaboration with his colleagues had serious problems of its own (Projected contributions of future wind farm development to community noise and annoyance levels in Ontario, Canada). Critics in the audience took exception to the fact the data Knopper used were derived from computer models that came from wind turbine developers’ asessments of noise for proposed or approved projects, not data from actually operating wind turbines. He also had to admit that he could not “speak exactly to what the developers and their consultants have been measuring or modelling” (with respect to which type of decibel). His knowledgeable audience critics questioned why he was showing them this study if he could not identify, consider or control for an important variable in the data he analyzed.
So while Knopper seemed keen to allege deficiencies in studies showing that there are health problems associated with the operations of wind turbines, he avoided any such analysis of studies that come to the opposite conclusion. Amongst others, he mentioned an often-cited study from New Zealand purporting to show that psychological expectations explain health complaints due to wind turbines. In fact, the flawed study merely confirms that there is such a thing as suggestibility and says nothing credible about wind turbine health problems per se. But wind proponents and their supporters love to refer to it as support for the notion that adverse health effects relating to wind turbines are not real, just in people’s suggestible-prone heads.
Weight of scientific evidence is heavily biased
Knopper concluded, not surprisingly, that “based on the findings and scientific merit” (his emphasis) of the available studies, the weight of the evidence indicates that wind turbines are not connected to adverse health effects, when sited properly. But do we even know what “sited properly” means? (Not that these useless and destructive industrial monsters should be sited anywhere.) In Ontario, the 550 metre set-back for industrial wind turbines is an arbitrary standard drawn out of thin air. No government health study was conducted to come up with this measure.
Knopper went on to support his conclusion with reference to government statements to the same effect, that is, governments that had or have a vested interest in removing all conceivable obstacles to the implementation of their misguided green energy programs. He also cited legal proceedings such as 19 Ontario Environmental Review Tribunal (ERT) hearings, and an Ontario Divisional Court appeal. What he failed to mention is that in those arenas, the rules ensure that the odds are stacked against being able to prove that industrial wind turbines cause adverse health effects. Under the unfair stipulations of Ontario’s Green Energy Act and the ERT, appellants have to achieve the impossible feat of proving that there will be serious health effects from a project that has not yet been built. He also did not mention that some wind companies have violated the mandatory setbacks, and when they do in Ontario, the Ministry of the Environment and the Ministry of Health reportedly do next to nothing to enforce the standard, such as it is. What effect does that have on people’s safety?
Indeed, don’t tell me about the (biased, compromised) science!
A group of politicians, MPPs from the Official Opposition, emerged from the Ontario Legislative Building at Queen’s Park on February 24 to address the protesters who were outside in the bitter cold demonstrating against the Liberal government’s massive proliferation of useless industrial wind factories in the Ontario landscape.
The Progressive Conservative MPPs made promises: “The failed industrial wind turbine experiment is going to come to an end.”
They should also have declared that the outsize, toxic, and undemocratic influence on government policy wielded by unelected, unaccountable extreme-“green”, activist NGOs whose rationale for their demands, namely a phoney planetary emergency based on the hoax of man-made global warming, which led to the poisonous Green Energy Act and its thousands of destructive industrial wind turbines, must end!
In the video below, Lisa Thompson, MPP (Huron-Bruce), Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario, Critic-Green Energy Act, told the protesters not to give up:
This week the country has come to the city. Most importantly, you’re not giving up. We can’t stop. We understand that the crazy subsidies that have been awarded to wind and solar are bankrupting all of us.
My question today specifically to the Premier was, for goodness sakes, admit to your corporate corruption mistakes. And I outlined to her that they’ve turned their back on their very own $1.5 million health study facilitated by the University of Waterloo. They take to court municipalities who are standing up for you guys. Wind companies who break the rules conveniently see the government turn their back to those rules that are broken. And last but not least, to add more insult to injury, is what happened last week: surprise, surprise the government appeals itself and the ERT ruling on the Blanding’s turtle was found to have errors in it. I ask you not to stop!
Lisa McLeod, MPP (Nepean-Carleton), Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario, Critic-Energy, vowed to fight for “locally-based decision-making”:
Disastrous Green Energy Act policy…In my community of Ottawa, I have the beautiful village of North Gore. North Gore today is going to be under assault by wind turbines because our Minister of Energy who has the riding next door to mine will not allow the people I represent to have a say on the land that they live on. And I can tell you that I will continue to fight on behalf of all of you in order to ensure locally-based decision-making.
CLICK ON PICTURE TO WATCH VIDEO
In the video below, Tim Hudak, MPP (Niagara West-Glanbrook), Leader of the Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario, Leader of the Official Opposition promised to end “the failed industrial wind turbine experiment” if elected:
It’s not just us that get this. There are people right across Ontario that say this policy is bankrupt, that it has taken our province into the red, that it is dividing communities right down the middle, that it has no purpose.
We just raised this in Question Period today and we made it absolutely clear, as I’ve done time and time again: under a PC government the failed industrial wind turbine experiment is going to come to an end.
And I believe people should make local decisions. And in West Lincoln they put in five industrial turbines and four actually break the government’s own laws. I just raised this with Kathleen Wynne. Doesn’t it make sense that when you broke the law on a setback, you’d have to fix it? If they don’t fit the law, pull ’em out!
I don’t know what the NDP think is acceptable – putting 500 feet tall wind turbines in people’s backyards? We’ve got to get energy costs under control…stop industrial wind turbines.
I know what you’re going through. I’ve seen what is happening to communities across the province. It is going to come to an end under a PC government, let me be perfectly clear about that. The forced industrial wind turbines in our province, they are going to come to an end. It’s a matter of time. We’ll give you your say back, folks.
Rick Nicholls, MPP (Chatham-Kent-Essex), Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario:
I’ll go on record saying that Chatham-Kent is not a willing host but you have to convince our council about that. Five hundred turbines are there right now and they continue to put them up there, much to my chagrin. We know the effects they have on health, autistic children with schools nearby, property devaluation, energy costs. I’m fighting for eight wind turbines to be taken down around the Chatham airport and that will be a precedent-setting experience.
Bob Bailey, MPP (Sarnia-Lambton), Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario, Critic-Natural Resources:
We’ve got two great groups down there that are fighting wind turbines, Plympton-Wyoming taking a strong stance and also Enniskillen Township – I wish we’d had that kind of leadership a few years ago, maybe we wouldn’t have got this far along.
Laurie Scott, MPP (Haliburton-Kawartha Lakes-Brock), Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario, Critic-Tourism & Culture:
I want to thank you for loading buses yet again, coming down in the cold, protesting again. You have to keep it up, we’re there with you. We had lots of questions in the Legislature today and the usual happened – you didn’t get any answers. Mine specifically was how could you turn your back on the Oak Ridges Moraine protection? Keep fighting, I know it’s cold. But stamp your feet and yell a lot!
The protesters, predominately rural residents of Ontario, who gathered in front of the Ontario Legislative Building at Queen’s Park on a bitterly cold February 24 to protest against the massive proliferation of useless industrial wind factories in the countryside, were cheered by the words of a number of speakers.
Sherri Lange, CEO, NA-PAW, North American Platform Against Wind Power, gave a brief overview of the failure of and waning support for wind power internationally, and commented on the Liberal government’s willful continuation of the billion dollar wind boondoggle here in Ontario:
It amounts to pilfering and plunder in a predatory manner, because they know what they are doing. And this is terrible, when you have a government that knows what it’s doing. Have you not all supplied them with information, about the problems with wind power? Yes, we have supplied them with that information, repeatedly, thousands, if not millions of times. And they persist. They have plans for 4,900 more of these… I don’t think so!
In the video below, a 13-year-old girl spoke with great passion and conviction about “the appalling actions of our provincial government” when it allowed NextEra Energy to cut down an active bald eagle’s nest last year in order to make way for an access road for an industrial wind turbine project:
I cannot believe this happened! This was a cowardly act by our provincial government, the MNR and the members of this huge business – NextEra Energy. They say that this is green energy? How, I ask you, is this green energy? Cutting down an active bald eagle nest? Might I add, on an old cottonwood tree, hundreds of years old and a very important part of our natural history? I don’t buy it! Our voices must be heard and they will be heard! The members of the Liberal government must know that wind energy is a fantasy, at best!
CLICK ON PICTURE TO WATCH VIDEO
Continue to Part 3 for text and video of more speakers.
Hundreds of people from rural Ontario piled into buses to Toronto, and on a freezing and windy February 24, gathered in front of the Ontario Legislative Building at Queen’s Park, and then at the Royal York Hotel, to protest against the Liberal’s Green Energy Act and to condemn Premier Kathleen Wynne’s continued cold-hearted proliferation of destructive, extremely harmful and utterly useless industrial wind turbines in the Ontario landscape. The monster machines have made life a special kind of hell for the people living in their midst, and represent a horrendous, possibly corrupt economic, environmental and fiscal Liberal boondoggle.
Urbanites should scroll down and take a good look at the faces of these brave people whose communities are being turned into industrial wind factories, and whose health, livelihood, quality of life, community harmony, wildlife, environment, and property values are being systematically destroyed.
Meanwhile, electricity costs are going through the roof and will continue to climb every time a useless, giant wind turbine, with its 20-year guarantee of above-market returns for the (often foreign) owners is erected. Everyone in Ontario except the wind turbine owners and their government enablers loses.
How much longer are we in Ontario going to tolerate this absolutely insane, toxic and corrupt situation?
Above: In front of the Ontario Legislative Building at Queen’s Park. A sign reads: “Ontario paid Americans to take $120 million worth of our electricity in December while Toronto froze” (when the heat and lights shut off during the huge ice storm).
Above: At Queen’s Park protesters heard stories of personal tragedy, politicians’ promises, and news giving hope that the destructive tide of fake-green alternative energy scams such as wind power may be turning. Rural residents have been trying to make their voices and complaints heard for years, but the government has responded with silence, brush-offs, platitudes, and even more undemocratic regulations favouring wind companies. Urbanites must make an effort to research and become aware of the tragedy taking place in their backyard and join the demand for a moratorium on new wind projects and a halt to the costly and useless operations currently underway.
Above: Following the speeches, the protesters marched from Queen’s Park ten blocks down University Avenue to demonstrate in front of the Royal York Hotel. They were kept safe from traffic by police mounted on bicycles.
Above: On the march down to the Royal York Hotel, protesters handed out leaflets to Toronto passersby. This one refers to the fact that each industrial wind turbine requires 800 tons of concrete for its base. Green, eh? Three turbines are planned to be built over an aquifer that supplies water to Walkerton, with its horrific, lethal, contaminated water tragedy of 2000 still fresh in the community’s memory. Protesters said that the government does not require that the concrete, which apparently contains heavy metals and toxic chemicals, be removed when the turbines are decommissioned.
Above: Edvard Munch’s The Scream effectively conveys the existential horror that rural Ontarions must endure under the relentless, implacable, seemingly unstoppable industrialization of the countryside.
Above: Landowners could simply have said “NO” to wind operators, but communities that declare themselves “Unwilling Hosts” carry no weight under the draconian, undemocratic dictates of the Green Energy Act which gives industrial wind turbines unprecedented rights.
Above: A study, entitled ‘Wind Turbine Noise, Sleep Quality, and Symptoms of Inner Ear Problems’, funded by the University of Waterloo and the Ontario Ministry of Environment found statistically significant results for sleep, vertigo and tinnitus: “All relationships were found to be positive and statistically significant.” The Ontario Ministry of the Health and Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health do not seem to be overly troubled by this report. No health studies were done before industrial wind turbines began to infest rural Ontario.
Continue to Part 2 for text and video of speakers.
An Ontario Divisional Court overturned last year’s decision by the Ontario Environmental Review Tribunal that stopped the construction of nine industrial wind turbines that would despoil the environmentally sensitive Ostrander Point, situated on provincially-owned Crown land in Prince Edward County. Last year, the Tribunal had revoked the approval, given by the Ministry of the Environment (MOE) in December 2012, on the basis that the Blanding’s turtle would suffer serious and irreversible harm if the development went ahead.
The MOE joined the project proponent, Gilead Power, in an appeal of the Tribunal’s ruling to the Ontario Divisional Court. “Three lawyers from the Ministry of Environment and the Attorney General’s office argued that their own MOE-appointed panel had erred,” said the Wellington Times.
With the Divisional Court’s decision on February 20, 2014, Gilead Power Corporation is presumably once again entitled, according to the permit it was originally granted on July 23, 2012 by the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR) under the Endangered Species Act, 2007 (ESA), “to ‘damage and destroy the habitat of Eastern Whip-poor-will’, as well as to ‘kill, harm, harass, capture, possess and transport’ both Blanding‟s turtle and Whip-poor-will, resulting from the development and operation of the Project” (from the Tribunal’s ruling, see Alliance to Protect Prince Edward County v. July 3, 2013).
Permits to kill, harm, harass, capture, possess and transport a species at risk or to damage and destroy its habitat are no longer issued to industrial wind turbine developers, but not for the reasons you may think.
Seven months ago the Ontario government almost completely undid its leash on the marauding weasels of wind. It gave up its power to monitor and regulate what the industrial wind turbine developers do to wildlife and the environment, making it even easier for the wind companies to do their dirty work, and harder than ever for concerned citizens and communities to assert their rights. New regulations granting more special rights to wind companies state in part:
On July 1, 2013, a series of regulatory amendments came into force creating broad exemptions from the ESA’s requirements to obtain a permit or agreement prior to harming a species at risk or its habitat. Instead of requiring permits or agreements, the Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR) now allows companies to follow rules set out in regulation. This is generally called a permit-by-rule system.
Under the amended regulation, eligible proponents are automatically given an exemption provided they follow the prescribed rules. MNR has given up its power to say “no” to any project, regardless of the ecological importance of the area or the possibility there will be damaging cumulative impacts on the species at risk or its habitat.
Although proponents are generally required to document the measures they will take to minimize “adverse effects” on species, proponents almost never have to submit the documentation to MNR. MNR will therefore have no ability to know whether the permit-by-rule system is actually protecting species at risk.
The government’s own Environmental Commissioner has stated:
“By eliminating the permit process, the Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR) has shed its ability to say ‘no’ to a proposed activity, no matter how harmful it may be to an imperilled species,” says Commissioner Miller. “And since proponents don’t have to file any monitoring reports with the ministry, MNR will be blind to the effectiveness of its new rules.”
The Ontario Liberal government is wilfully enabling the destruction of the environment (not to mention people’s health, communities, property values, quality of life) for a fake-green technology that has proven to be useless and has already wasted billions of dollars. It’s enough to make you scream at the insanity, the government’s dereliction of fiduciary duty to the people, and the perversion of democracy in Ontario.
Why is Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne persisting with the heedless and cruel deployment of monstrous industrial wind factories when, by now, people who’ve done their homework know that wind turbines are economically and environmentally ruinous, cause untold health and property misery, destroy avian life, and despoil the Ontario landscape? What kind of government wilfully continues to inflict a billion dollar failure, an utterly destructive faux-green energy scheme, on its people? Urban dwellers, and anyone else not living within sight of industrial wind turbines, should take the time to inform themselves. They will realize this colossal wind turbine fraud already appears to dwarf former Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty’s gas plant debacle in scope, cost, and human and environmental tragedy. Its architect, meanwhile, will closet himself in a Harvard ivory tower while his successor fiddles, even as rural Ontario burns with pain and outrage. How much longer are we willing to tolerate this?