Nurses for Safe Renewable Power

Looking for a healthy environment for everyone

Big Wind blogger Barnard taken apart


Grinspun: A nurse in the Top 10? I'm so proud.

Grinspun: A nurse in the Top 10? I’m so proud.

We don’t usually pay much attention to the wind power lobby front line soldier Mike Barnard (who is by day an employee of IBM, working in Singapore) but we were amused recently by his diatribe on the claims of health problems from wind turbine noise and low frequency noise. (Mike, it’s this simple: don’t sleep, get sick.)

Claiming that wind power impacts on health have been almost universally dismissed in court, Mr Barnard actually had a “top 10” list of witnesses who have appeared at Canadian quasi-judicial tribunals, including Ontario community health specialist nurse Debbie Shubat. Doris Grinspun and the RNAO must be so proud. Anyway, Mr Barnard’s piece prepared for the so-called Energy & Policy Institute is so full of errors it doesn’t need any comment, except perhaps to point out that Ontario’s Environmental Review Tribunals are NOT “court” and the truth is the Green Energy Act and Regulation 359/09 have been so meticulously set up by the wind industry that it is almost impossible for an appeal to be won.

In fact, there was never supposed to be a successful appeal, as lawyer John Terry explained at the Ostrander Point appeal last January, where he represented the wind power lobby, the powerful Canadian Wind Energy Association (CanWEA). He petulantly suggested to the panel of judges that the Ostrander Point success ought never to have happened, and that the judges should provide instructions to the ERT so that this could never happen again.

But we digress.

There is an Open Letter circulating which is a review of Mr Barnard’s performance as a blogger and agenda-driven commentator. We prefer not to publish anything that is without attribution but this is too good to miss.


RNAO two years ago: a sad day for nursing

CEO of the Registered Nurses Association of Ontario Doris Grinspun is directing the RNAO’s annual event which consists of meetings, a gala banquet, and of course, the Annual General Meeting for members.

We recall the AGM of two years ago, when two nurses plus an RNAO chapter, put forward a resolution to ask for support for clinical research into the field of environmental noise produced by industrial-scale wind turbines, and further, as a second part of the resolution, that a moratorium on wind power develoment be requested until the results of such research are released and analyzed.

The motion was defeated but not before there were dirty tricks aplenty on the part of RNAO staff (the director of research actually interrupted the resolution proponents’ session with voting delegates, so much so that delegates complained they were not able to speak or ask questions), misdirection was given about how much information could be provided to the delegates, and  finally, the proponents’ presentation time was cut off by the chair—who incidentally, and completely illegally, spoke out against the motion before introducing it to the assembly. Easily a dozen delegates abstained from the vote, calling out to the chair that they wanted to hear more, but to no avail. The motion was defeated. (The chair also, erroneously, told the proponents that they would not be able to bring the resolution forward again for TWO YEARS. This is false and is not in the RNAO bylaws.)

So, where are we today? We actually have two clinical studies ongoing in Canada, one by Health Canada, and the other by the Renewable Energy Technology and Health (RETH) team at the University of Waterloo. The RETH team has already presented very preliminary results in poster format at a meeting earlier this year, showing a significant association between the noise from turbines and sleep disturbance.

We also have more studies from a variety of sources, including a recent article by otolaryngologist Dr Alec Salt whose work is increasingly showing a DIRECT link between the noise and vibration/infrasound produced by the machines used to generate power from wind energy and health effects.

The growing research on the effects of exposure to the noise and infrasound on children is disturbing.

We also have in Ontario an approval process for wind power projects that is being revealed as sloppy and indicative of the provincial government’s blind support for wind power. Requests have been made for a review by the Ombudsman of the review and approval process, because documents being presented as complete are in fact inaccurate, incomplete, or sometimes completely absent. There are also judicial reviews pending for the approval of individual projects, such as Amherst Island, as the inaccuracies of the documentation supporting the safety of the proposed power developments are egregiously incomplete.

The Chief Medical Officer of Health for Ontario prepared a report that was released in 2010 based on work done in 2009, which maintained there were no direct causal links between the turbine noise and health (the government does not believe infrasound is important and will not even have a protocol to measure it until 2015), which the government and successive Environmental Review Tribunals rely on today expediently.

Complaints of excessive noise and poor health are in the hundreds in Ontario: the Ministry of the Environment has admitted in Tribunal hearings that it relies on the computer noise modelling supplied by the power developers. In other words, if a power project modelling shows it isn’t supposed to make noise at a certain level, then it surely can’t, and the Ministry does not even bother to send staff out to check.

Ontario families have become homeless. In December of the year the RNAO engineered the failure of the resolution of members to support research, 20 families went to Council in the City of Kincardine, requesting funds for emergency housing, as they had had to leave their homes due to the noise.

Today, more than 80 communities have passed bylaws or resolutions to say they are Not Willing Hosts to wind power because of the problems. Today, a coalition of communities is working together to create a noise nuisance bylaw to protect their residents at night from the turbine noise. Today, Ontario communities are taking advantage of every loophole, or minor power they have left after the Draconian Green Energy Act removed all democracy for Ontario’s rural and small-town communities.

And today, Ontario citizens are having to deal with higher electricity bills than ever seen before in this province, traceable to the government’s unproven zeal for renewable sources of power (a cost-benefit analysis as recommended by the Auditor-General was never done). The results are widely feared to be energy poverty as families must choose whether to buy food or pay their electricity bill, as well as job losses and business failure.

All this because a group of business people persuaded Ontario to adopt wind power as a source of power generation to replace coal—wind power cannot replace anything because of its inefficiency and unreliability. Coal has been replaced in Ontario by natural gas. The power developers (many with ties to the Ontario Liberal Party) have made millions–billions–in provincial subsidy dollars for very little benefit to the people of Ontario. One of the strategies suggested to the wind power development lobby by a consultant, the Sussex Strategy Group, was to persuade health-related groups to support wind power as a way to engender public support for the development of power from wind; it appears the RNAO fell in line with the developers’ corporate strategy.

The Registered Nurses Association of Ontario had a chance two years ago to at least listen to a burgeoning community health problem and at least listen to its members whose concern was well founded and genuine.

But it did not.

That was a sad day for nursing in Ontario, and leaves many questions as to the quality of leadership and the ties between politicians and nursing leadership.

In the meantime, the people of rural and small-town Ontario, and the health care professionals who live there and work within these communities, got no support from the organization that claims to “speak out for health.”

Open letter to Sprott Power

It came to our attention very recently that in preliminary hearings of the appeal against the approval of a wind power project at Goulais Bay in Ontario’s Algoma Region, the legal team for the power proponent accused a candidate for expert witness status of not being “objective.”

The candidate, a registered nurse with a Masters degree in Community Health, and a long career of scholarship and nursing and health education, was in fact one of the nurses who put forward a resolution at the 2011 annual general meeting of the Registered Nurses Association of Ontario.

The lawyers for Sprott Power claimed that the resolution and her promotion of it meant she could not be an objective witness.

Here are the facts, Sprott Power: the resolution simply asked that the RNAO officially support the need for more research into the environmental noise produced by industrial-scale wind turbines and the potential health effects from that noise, and that further, a moratorium be considered for wind power project approvals until results of that research were known.

The motion was defeated (with many extenuating and distasteful circumstances) but the facts are, Sprott Power, that today both the Province of Ontario and Health Canada are funding research on this very matter. Further more than 10 Ontario MPs rose in the House of Commons and demanded Ontario institute a moratorium until the Health Canada research results were known.

We submit that Ms Shubat is simply carrying out her duty as a health professional in the province, and acting as an advocate for health for all citizens, particularly those in her community.

What are you advocating for?

Ontario’s shameful energy “plan”

The Long Term Energy Plan was released by the Ontario government this week. The full report is available here. (If your Internet connection is a bit fragile, don’t attempt to load up the whole PDF–it is needlessly cumbersome and weighed down with photos and graphics. Got to the By the Numbers section instead.)

One of the major points of the plan is that the government intends to continue with its pursuit of power generation from wind in Ontario, albeit with a slightly longer time frame.

The government has also told people to plan for the necessary power bill increases to make up for this, which they contend is necessary. The Minister of Energy talked about closing the coal plants and he again referred to this mystical $4.4 billion per year in health care costs due to pollution from the coal plants. This figure is complete fantasy–we will deal with that later. Besides, Ontario’s coal plants have been virtually shut down for more than a year–Ontario had already achieved its goals with the amount of wind power it already has.

The reality is that price increases on utility bills of this magnitude are going to cause hardship for Ontario residents, particularly young people, and those on fixed incomes. Energy analyst Tom Adams was a guest on a recent edition of CBC’s Ontario Today, and caller after caller said that they were having to make choices between food for their families and the electricity bill.

Nurses know that poverty is a social determinant of health.

This government is ignoring the commitment of previous governments to provide affordable power for everyone, and instead has opted for the unsupportable “green” mythology which is forcing Ontario into high-priced power, when existing power sources such as hydro-electric are ready and waiting to serve us. The villainization of nuclear is also not supported by the facts.

Higher electricity bills in Ontario will mean:

  • increased poverty especially for the young and those on fixed incomes
  • job losses
  • general decline in services and in the quality of life in what was once a great province, full of opportunity

The Ministry of Energy’s mission is to  promote “the development of a safe, reliable, secure and environmentally sustainable energy supply.”

This government  and this Premier who has the audacity to call herself a “social justice” leader, should be ashamed.

U Waterloo results previewed: positive link between noise and health problems!

It’s only a small appetizer of sorts, but the news that the Ontario Research Chairs symposium in Toronto last week featured a poster presentation by the University of Waterloo Renewable Energy Technologies and Health (RETH) study on industrial wind turbines and health problems is BIG.

Here is a report from health researcher Carmen Krogh. The only record of the presentation is a photograph of the poster, but here is the summary:

University of Waterloo Research Chair

industrial wind turbine (IWT) study results statistically significant
Oct. 24.2013/ At a recent symposium in Toronto facilitated by former Toronto Mayor David Miller titled Symposia of the Ontario Research Chairs in Public Policy, a poster entitled ‘Wind Turbine Noise, Sleep Quality, and Symptoms of Inner Ear Problems’ was displayed by Claire Paller, Phil Bigelow, Shannon Majowicz, Jane Law, and Tanya Christidis.
The research indicates statistically significant results for sleep, vertigo and tinnitus (excerpt):
“All relationships were found to be positive and statistically significant.”
The University of Waterloo – Ontario Ministry of Environment funded IWT health study was publicly displayed during thesymposium on sustainability held at York University , Toronto on October 17, 2013.
It is reported that 396 surveys were included in the analysis (excerpts include):
“In total there were 412 surveys returned; 16 of these survey respondents did not provide their home address. Therefore, 396 surveys were included in the analysis.”
Of note is the acknowledgement that as the distance from the IWT increases, sleep improves:
“The relationship between ln(distance) (as a continuous variable) and mean Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI) was found to be statistically significant (P=0.0096) when controlling for age, gender and county. This relationship shows that as the distance increases (move further away from a wind turbine), PSQI decreases (i.e. sleep improves) in a logarithmic relationship. Multivariate analysis involved assessing distance to the nearest wind turbine as both distance and ln(distance). In all cases, ln(distance) resulted in improved model fit.”
In addition the authors state that the relationship between vertigo and tinnitus worsened for those living closer to IWTs:
“The relationship between vertigo and ln(distance) was statistically significant (P<0.001) when controlling for age, gender, and county. The relationship between tinnitus and ln(distance) approached statistical significance (P=0.0755). Both vertigo and tinnitus were worse among participants living closer to wind turbines.”
The conclusion states:
“In conclusion, relationships were found between ln(distance) and PSQI, ln(distance) and self-reported vertigo and ln(distance) and self-reported tinnitus. Study findings suggest that future research should focus on the effects of wind turbine noise on sleep disturbance and symptoms of inner ear problems.”
Counties and projects in the study include:
§         Bruce (Enbridge project);
§         Chatham-Kent (Raleigh);
§         Dufferin (Melancthon);
§         Elgin ( Erie Shores );
§         Essex (Comber):
§         Frontenac ( Wolfe Island );
§         Huron (Kingsbridge); and
§         Norfolk (Frogmore/Cultus/ClearCreek).
Based on this evidence, it is not clear what the next steps will be for the Ministry of Environment. However, based on these results, evidence gathered by other researchers in Ontario and elsewhere supports these statistically significant findings.
Carmen Krogh BSc Pharm
Ontario , Canada


So, positive association, related to distance, and confirmation that sleep disturbance, vertigo and tinnitus can result from the environmental noise and the infrasound produced by the wind power generators.

Our questions today are:

HOW can this provincial government go on approving wind power projects when there is a link to health effects like this?


HOW can the Registered Nurses Association of Ontario continue to support the provincial government in its push for wind power, with confirmation now that a community health problem is the result?

The government needs to act now.

The RNAO needs to have a meeting of its policy people and the CEO, and decide where the priorities lie: political alliances, or the truth.

Join the coalition

A new independent website “The Human face of Wind” has formed a Coalition of health care professionals to protest the Ontario government’s lack of action on the reported health effects from the noise and vibration from large-scale wind power projects.

The Coalition page may be found here:

It says doctors at the moment, but word is, they are expanding to nurses, veterinarians, and other health care professionals.

The website itself is interesting and has testimonials and real-life photos of Ontario wind power developments. Visit it here, and spread the word:

There is also a new hashtag on Twitter: #RNAOmustchange


The RNAO: speaking out for whom?

Registered nurses, including those who have chosen not to take membership in their provincial professional association the Registered Nurses Association of Ontario or RNAO (it is supposed to be voluntary) and those who have actually resigned over the RNAO’s hyper-politicized policies, received an interesting piece of mail last week.

If you don’t read the missives from the College, you will have missed the fact that the College will now require registered nurses to have liability insurance in excess of $1 million, no matter where, or if, you practise. The RNAO is now luring former members back with the offer of insurance coverage.

For nurses in independent practice, this is a conundrum: the RNAO offers such insurance, but then you have to rejoin at a cost of several hundred dollars, AND once again belong to this organization that has, frankly, developed a rather curious set of policy goals.

Despite increasing reports of problems with the environmental noise and vibration produced by industrial-scale wind power generators around the world, and in spite of ongoing health studies in Canada, Denmark and other places, the RNAO persists in its belief (encouraged by its patronizing association with CAPE, the Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment, and the Ontario Clean Air Alliance, one of the groups behind Ontario’s deeply flawed Green Energy Act) that air pollution is killing hundreds of people in Ontario every year. Wind power is the solution, the RNAO believes.

You recall that the wind power lobby group contracted with a PR firm The Sussex Group, whose advice in a leaked document was to co-opt health care organizations to confirm the need for wind power. RNAO bit hook, like and sinker, and hasn’t let go.

The letter received by Ontario RNs this week is a laugh a minute. First they tell you that being a member of RNAO will meet the College’s new insurance requirement. True, but it is not nurses’ only option (more on that later).

Next they tell you, join now and get two free months of membership! Among the membership benefits listed (this is rich) is a subscription to Canadian Nurse, the journal of nurses national professional association, the Canadian Nurses Association. This is a riot because RNAO earlier this year announced that your RNAO membership would NO LONGER mean automatic membership in CNA–you have to stipulate that to RNAO now. But, oh! The venerable national journal is an RNAO membership benefit.

And, here’s the kicker: your RNAO membership will help nurses contribute to “shaping the health-care system.”

Read this: We know all-too-well [sic] the effects government policies have on the health of clients. That’s why RNAO calls on decision makers to influence policy.

But, if you’re reading this blog, you know the RNAO has turned a blind eye to the Ontario government’s policy on wind power and the effects on health. Wind is green, wind is good, wind is green, wind is good lalalala… (To see how the RNAO turned on two of its own members, read our page under The Resolution.)

The letter closes with “When you invest in RNAO, you’re investing in your future.”

Here are the facts:

-Ontario has good air quality

-what air pollution that remains is from transportation, and from coal plants and industry south of the border

-wind power has not replaced coal as a source of power. Wind power is intermittent and unreliable, produced when we don’t need it.

-wind power in fact requires back-up by fossil-fuel power generation, namely natural gas.

If those of us who understand this are being forced back to the RNAO “family” because of this new insurance requirement, life at the RNAO is going to get interesting again.

Nurses for Safe Renewable Power

P.S. We understand there is a group of health professionals banding together to protest the government’s policies on wind power and its lack of action on reports of excessive noise and ill health. When we get contact information, we will pass it along.

The Ontario government and its dubious record on health

If you are at all aware of the damage being done to Ontario communities by wind power projects, and the reports of health effects from the environmental noise and vibration (soundpressure, infrasound, low frequency noise) you’re already very concerned that reports of excessive noise and ill health effects are not being followed up by our provincial government. The wind power debacle is in addition to other Ontario health scandals such as the ORNGE mismanagement and eHealth.

You also cringe at the amount of money being given to wind power developers when at the same time, services are being cut, plans for new hospitals cancelled or put on hold (in some cases, despite community fund-raising efforts), rural health services being cut back or removed altogether, and professional services such as physiotherapy curtailed.

So now, how rich it is that the Ontario government has announced more help for children with special needs, including those with autism. At the same time, however, the province has approved, or is about to approve, noisy wind power projects very near communities full of young families, some with autistic children, and communities where autistic children attend school. (Autistic children often have hyperacusis, and react poorly to exposure to noise.) Examples are West Lincoln (where the citizens’ group Mothers Against Wind Turbines has been very vocal in demanding the province protect their children–see link to photo, below), Listowel, Kincardine, and Brinston, to name a few. Kincardine Council, as you may know, saw a delegation of 20 families last December—people who have had to leave their homes, or who should leave, for their health.

The other announcement was that the Ontario government wants to engage in consultations on how to reduce poverty in Ontario. This from a government whose power policies have cause electricity bills to double, with more increases on the way.

Nurses should engage in the comment process on the poverty issue. More information on how to do that may be found at the government website, here:

email us at

(And don’t expect the Registered Nurses Association of Ontario to comment fully on this issue—they are too deep in whatever arrangement they have with pseudo-environmental organizations like Environmental Defence and Canadian Physicians for the Environment, and the Liberal Party of Ontario, to ever point a finger at ONtario’s horrendous and unnecessarily high electricity bills)

Danish MD on wind turbine noise & illness: do not continue to mislead the public

One of the stalwart arguments of the wind power development business in North America is that things have gone well in Europe and Scandinavia, and there is no cause for concern about health problems resulting from the environmental noise and vibration (infrasound) produced by the huge machines, which are getting bigger all the time.

In fact, the wind business says, the people who believe in health problems could have a few screws loose. Go to the Canadian Wind Energy Association’s website and look at the justification they give in the form of references there. They continue to rely on the Ontario Chief Medical Officer of Health report from 2010, inadequate as it was then, and supremely outdated and narrow as it is now.

Anyway, here is a letter from a doctor specializing in community health in Denmark, who makes the following claims:

  • there are health problems in Denmark and have been for 20 years; they have been covered up
  • there was never any medical research in Denmark to support the setbacks or other supposed safety precautions with regard to wind turbines
  • authorities refuse to actually measure the noise to ensure wind companies are in compliance with the inadequate regulations we have.

This is nothing short of a scandal. Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health needs to take this public health crisis seriously and follow up immediately on all reports of ill health associated with the noise and vibration. And, Ontario’s Ministry of the Environment needs to measure the noise and follow up on noise complaints.

Here is the letter from Dr Johansson, via

Big Wind turbines, health and disease – a Danish perspective
July  5, 2013 by Mauri Johansson, MD, MHH
This open letter written by Mauri Johansson, MD, MHH, a specialist in Community and Occupational Medicine, reveals important information about the impacts of wind energy development on communities in Denmark and how these impacts are being exported to other countries.

The history of wind turbines in Denmark started back in the 1970’s with very small but gradually bigger wind turbines which were mostly owned by local farmers.[1] The big wind turbines ( > 1 MW) came in the late 2000’s but at a rather slow pace.

Documents based on the right of access in environmental and other Danish authorities have shown that already in the late 1980’s there were complaints about the noise, but local as well as central authorities generally refused to investigate, and did not involve medical expertise. This happens also today.

Despite these complaints for over 20 years, unfortunately no medically based research has ever been conducted in Denmark, even not as a base for “safe” distances and noise limitations. The only research has been engineer-performed noise measurements and calculations. This ignores the human physiological impact of the wind turbine noise, previously shown in research into the impacts of other noise sources. Engineers are not physicians, and therefore cannot assess the impact on human health. Furthermore, those acoustic engineers closely connected with the wind industry have an obvious yet rarely acknowledged financial conflict of interest.

Unfortunately, the formal Danish statutory orders relating to wind turbine noise pollution have been exported internationally, together with the turbines. This is even more problematic now, because of the increasing size of the wind turbines.

With the giant wind turbines (>1MW) the relative amount of low frequency noise, which is very intrusive and easily spreads far away, is increasing. This has been shown in independent research at Aalborg University, Acoustics, Professor Henrik Moeller.[2] Comments recently from Australian Emeritus Professor Colin Hansen have indicated that the same intrusive health and sleep damaging wind turbine noise is occurring in Australia at Waterloo wind development (37 Danish VESTAS V90 3MW wind turbines), under certain meteorological conditions, at distances out to 10km.[3]

Unfortunately in Demark there has been no systematic registration of complaints, or follow up for the people whose health and sleep have been affected by the noise. No information about risks for illness has ever been sent to GP’s or the hospital system. So in fact in Denmark we have no idea of the real numbers, and most farmers are uneasy to speak up about their health/illness problems. Speaking up also risks falling house and land prices or may even totally prohibit their sale.

There is no doubt, however, that the number of complaints of sleep and health problems from Danish residents is increasing. A few residents have had relevant medical examinations and among those who have, the causality of their symptoms from wind turbine noise has been confirmed on an individual, clinical level in a small number of cases.

Epidemiological research is totally lacking, and studies over longer time periods, too.

When the Danish statutory order for low frequency noise was renewed during 2011, after considerable pressure from the public, a senior civil servant from the Environment Authority responsible for noise pollution regulation had a meeting with wind turbine industry officials in March 2011, where it was privately mutually agreed that the new order would NOT result in greater safety distances or higher requirements for protection from the low frequency noise than the existing inadequate statutory order. This is exactly what subsequently happened, and resulted in strong protests from the Danish acousticians[4] and physicians[5] familiar with the reported health and sleep problems. The responsible authorities have continued to ignore those protests.

The CEO of Vestas, Ditlev Engel, in June 2011 sent a letter[6] to the then Minister of Environment to reinforce that no changes to the existing state of affairs could be acceptable, because of the risk to Danish exports and Danish jobs. The motivations of VESTAS and others involved in the wind industry are therefore made very clear. Their stated corporate values do not match their actions.[7]

The ongoing denials by VESTAS of health and sleep problems including their latest global “Act on Facts” campaign launched recently in Australia[8] to be rolled out globally, are further evidence of their true intentions to maximize profits and grow their company and their business, at the direct expense of the health of citizens around the world.

There are no independent epidemiological studies, which show their product (wind turbines) is safe and does not cause the sleep deprivation and adverse health effects reported by the neighbours.

On the contrary, there are a growing number of peer reviewed published studies, which show that there is considerable human distress, sleep deprivation and consequent impaired health and quality of life when wind turbines are installed as neighbours[9]. A number of these studies were conducted in Sweden on smaller wind turbines almost 10 years ago[10] confirming this problem is not new. Nor are the reported sleep and health problems caused by “scaremongering” or “the nocebo effect” in English speaking countries, as some public health advocates for the wind industry such as Professor Simon Chapman, a sociologist from Sydney University in Australia, are apparently alleging.[11]

So please, do not continue to misinform the public outside of Denmark about the true situation for the increasing number of Danish citizens whose health and sleep is badly affected by low frequency noise from wind turbines. The language barrier between English and Danish will not hide the truth.

These health and sleep problems are identical to those being reported around the world by wind turbine neighbours, and also by others affected by other sources of industrial low frequency noise.

The ongoing denial of FACTS about the existence of serious sleep and health problems in wind turbine neighbours is unforgiveable. So too is the refusal by authorities to properly measure the noise inside people’s homes, and the refusal to conduct the multidisciplinary medical research.

The comments made by retired Danish High Court judge Peter Roerdam in the Copenhagen Post on 16th November, 2012[12] that wind power is “an industry which has thoroughly corrupted the political system” is all too true, in my experience, and comes at the direct expense of the health of Danish people.

It is clear the institutional political corruption, and the lack of professional ethics on the part of wind industry acousticians and public health researchers, who ignore or deny the existence of the sleep and health problems and the consequent serious long term damage to health, is not limited to Denmark.

Yours sincerely,
Mauri Johansson, MD, MHH
Specialist in Community and Occupational Medicine
Denmark, July 6th, 2013

10. page 22
11. for critiques of the “nocebo” research from Australia and New Zealand, which purports to provide support the scaremongering hypothesis. Notably the peer reviewed published research by Danish Acoustician Professor Moeller above (ref # 2) on the effect of the increased size of the wind turbines on increased low frequency noise is ignored by Professor Chapman.

Download File(s):
Open_letter_About_Danes_and_WTS_6July2013.pdf (23.59 kB)


What the Ostrander Point ERT decision does (and doesn’t)

The Canadian Wind Energy Association or CanWEA–which we must remind readers is an industry lobby group, not an environmental organization—is trying to make the best of the loss at the Ostrander Point environmental review tribunal. (The Tribunal revoked the approval for the project which was roundly criticized because it is an Important Bird Area of “global significance”; it was in fact the threat to the endangered Blanding’s Turtle that was the reason for the dismissal of the approval for the project.)

CanWEA must be smarting from the decision, which marks the first time a project approval has been reversed in Ontario. We are not sure how the thing got this far in the first place, when the Ministry of Natural Resources actually granted approval for the wind power developer to “kill, harm and harass” the Blanding’s Turtle.

So on Friday, CanWEA put out a news release to say the Environmental Review Tribunal actually upheld the idea that there is no “direct or indirect” health threat from the environmental noise from industrial-scale wind turbines and further, that the 550-meter setback in Ontario is safe.

The news release can be found here:

A reading of the actual decision could lead you in a different direction, however. The fact is, the Ostrander Point project was an important bird area, but not that many people live there. Eight, in fact. So, as the panel stated, the tribunal had to look at this project, as it does all of them subject to appeal, on a project-by-project basis.

This appeal featured testimony from 11 “post-turbine witnesses” i.e., people already living among or next to the wind power generating projects in Ontario.

Here are some of the statements from the decision that CanWEA is NOT referencing.

[70] The Tribunal wishes to emphasize that it found no attempts by any witness to mislead the Tribunal. …The Tribunal has no difficulty finding that all the witnesses were credible, and some of the health conditions they described could certainly be described as seriously impacting their quality of life.

[143] With respect to the proposed case Definition of AHE/IWTs (adverse health effects/industrial wind turbines), the Tribunal finds that it is a work in progress. It is a preliminary attempt to explain symptoms that appear to be suffered by people with whom [witness] Dr. McMurtry is familiar, who live in the environs of wind turbines.

[175] The Tribunal accepts the witness’ testimony as entirely credible; however, there are dangers inherent in attempting to draw general conclusions from anecdotal, personal and unique experiences. It is even more problematic to apply conclusions made from those unique personal circumstances at a certain location, to projects at other locations.

The Tribunal also raised the issue of public safety in an area such as Ostrander Point which is used by the public for recreational purposes. The Ministry of Natural Resources cannot have things “both ways,” the Tribunal said, in encouraging the public to make use of Crown land, while also permitting it to be used for industrial purposes.

Nevertheless, despite the evidence of health effects from the environmental noise and vibration produced by wind power projects, and the experiences of people from around the world, the Tribunal failed to acknowledge the strength of that evidence.

The Alliance to Protect Prince Edward County of APPEC, Appellant in the Ostrander Point case, appealing the approval on the basis of “serious harm to human health” was compelled to issue a news release following the decision. An excerpt follows:

… the ERT panel declined to connect the health evidence with expert opinion. Instead, it argued that medical diagnoses and noise studies are required. These demands far exceed the legal test that wind victims are “more likely than not” suffering “serious harm to health” from wind turbines.
“The decision suggests that the ERT process is fundamentally flawed,” said APPEC president Gord Gibbins. “The Ministry of Environment has no scientific basis for its 550-m residential setbacks. The Ministry of Health has never conducted any health studies on wind turbines. Yet, under the Liberal government’s Green Energy Act, appellants to the ERT are expected to assume the burden of proof when challenging projects, just as if they were taking on the tobacco industry.”

“It seems that citizens are required to undertake acoustical and epidemiological research,” Gibbins added. “It is not enough to provide evidence of specific, ongoing harmful effects. This requirement turns the standard of proof, ‘the balance of probabilities,’ into a test well beyond the reasonable.”

APPEC is therefore considering an appeal to the Ontario Divisional Court. Meanwhile, APPEC contends that the Ministry of Environment should re-examine existing regulations and exercise caution in approvals of the siting of all new wind power projects. There is sufficient evidence to justify a precautionary approach.

What the Environmental Review Tribunal did NOT do then was protect the citizens of Ontario; the Government of Ontario continues to enact a flawed process that is heavily weighted toward big business, and in opposition to the interests of citizens and the natural environment.

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